Friday, February 8, 2013

Life long Friends

In our room you could see how strong our friendships have grown since September. The children really enjoy getting together to do crafts, play and participating in the classroom experiences. Through the month our theme's will all support our understanding of Valentines Day, including our relationships with our friends and our family. This week I tried to really plan around the friendships between the children, but you can see some Valentines Day inspiration.

The first fun featured experience was the sensory bin.
I enjoyed a wander through the dollar store to grab various hearts that offered various textures. There were felt hearts, foam hearts, third dimensional hearts, squishy hearts, as well as beads, and more! I also found containers to put in for the children to open, and fill. They used large cooking tongs, learn chopsticks, bamboo tweezers, clothes pins and strawberry hullers.

My objective for this bin was to support cognitive and fine motor development.
In my experience with Occupational Therapist, when trying to strengthen children's dexterity for holding pencils we have used tweezers! The smaller the tweezers the better, as we are trying to avoid a whole hand hold on the pencil, and work towards a tripod grasp. Children can also practice their tripod hold by simply picking up small objects, such as beads.

My favorite tweezers are the small silver Strawberry Hullers, as they are hard to close (needing to work on strength) and are hard to hold in a fist. The children's favorite are the bamboo ones.

Our Monday/Tuesday craft was sun catchers or stain glass hearts.
The children were offered heart templates with a transparent heart cut outs, to decorate and place between the foam hearts.

Our second craft of the week was a "Friendship Chain". Sadly, I didn't get an end result photo - but I will make sure to post one next week or add it to this one Monday.
I pre cut 6 inch pieces of paper, and drew a long dark black line down the middle. The children were encouraged to cut down the middle "on the black line". I really tried to identify that we were making "one paper, into two".
Some children commented that it was "hard" but never stopped until they were done. I had to support some hand over hand skills for a few children, reminding the children to have "thumbs up." Occasionally, I will put stamps on the children's thumbs if they're having a tough time with this concept, and remind them they need to see the stamp while they're cutting. After they cut through the black line, the children were asked to pick on strip of paper, and wrote their names on it before decorating it with pompoms, stickers and hearts.

Once dry, I connected all of the children's paper to their peers to make a paper chain. I connected the M/W class to the T/Th class with my paper to create a unity between the two classes.

I transformed the house center into a writing center, and explained to the children about Valentines Day cards and letters.
In our writing center, I took a package of Valentines and wrote all of the children's names in orange. I laminated them all together and put out dry erase markers and an eraser. The children enjoyed finding their own names, and writing their peers names over and over.

I also offered a "free writing" space, and posted words that were common to write for Valentines or in letters. When I saw the children sit at the center I would come and read each word to them, so they knew what the letters and words represented.

We also brought out "Love Bug" which is the trash can I dress up thematically to let the children free cut, and feed him. I try to offer items which provicate the children to either master cutting across or challenge smaller shapes, in this challenge - hearts.

The children really were engaged in their play on Thursday, it was like music to my ears. I looked over from craft and it was just huddles of friends engaged in various play experiences.

Sometimes it is hard to get outside from November to January in Edmonton. Thankfully, the weather is starting to warm up so we will be going out as much as possible.
I felt bad telling her they were on backwards, and tried to help identify how to know which way they go.

Going outside at this age is more than what meets the eyes. It is an opportunity to develop self help skills, independence, gross motor (not to mention its adorable to see them dance around getting their stuff on), and fine motor (those buttons and zippers take a while to master sometimes).

We got to spend time at the park and play on a man made hill this week!


Ms Asha 

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