Sunday, May 26, 2013

Bugs, mud and popcicles

The last two weeks have been fun filled with experiments and visitors. I can not believe there is only 2 weeks left at Playschool. The year has gone quickly, and I am sad to see it down to 8 more classes.

We continued to run our theme on Spring. We discussed how plants grow, agreeing they needed soil, water, sunlight, and a seed. I then challenged the children to wonder, do we need all of those items? We ran a provocated science experiment and even had an accidental experiment grow!

The first experiment challenged if we really needed soil to grow.

We soaked a paper towel

Picked our own lima bean

Put them on our windows for sun light

Chrstian program only - a paragraph from the bible

And it grew!

We found out: Beans can grow without soil.

Our crafts were so helpful to remind us how to make flowers grow.
We need:
Soil (dirt paint)
A seed (we used sun flowers)
And a flower will grow! Some friends even drew the sun and rain.

We also spoke about butterflies, and other bugs. From reading a book, we read about various insects and arachnids.
For craft we cut out the letter B - to make a Butterfly!

After, we added black and yellow paint and when we folded it in half we had beautiful butterfly wings.

I mentioned how we had an unplanned science experiment in our class. During May long weekend 2 of our pumpkin seeds grew in the soil of our garden sensory center. I had put the lid on, and there must have been enough humidity, because the children don't add real water to our plants.
The children were allowed to pull them out and touch/look at the roots that had grown. They re planted the plants in their potting cups and enjoyed being gardeners.

Sprouts in the top middle

One of our centers was a nature center. The children were offered magnified glasses, tweezers, paper and pencils. They also were allowed to water our plant with a spray bottle. Eventually children wanted to add crayons.

Various sensory experinces:

Texture: Seeds, bowl of seeds, bark, wood, petals, feathers, pine cones etc.
Smell: Flowers, real wood, pine cones, etc.
Sight: Magnified glasses, various colours, textures, sizes etc.

"look Ms Asha, the pine cone is bigger"

Awesome for motor development - using the spray bottles

Using the tweezers to pick up and sort the seeds

Evidence of play
One of the little ladies LOVED blowing the feathers. When she did the little fluffs in between would fly around! She adored that it tickled her nose and looked beautiful flying.

On Tuesday morning, I also found a new friend in our sink. I wanted to introduce him to the children. We put him in a bug jar, and spent the day talking about his description, and how he might feel being in the jar. We all agreed he probably did not like it and decided to let him out when we went to the park.

The children also realized he wasn't all that scary (although at one point the lid fell off and he ran across the floor. I had a girl up on one of our chairs. She didn't scream, but she was pretty uncomfortable).

As we agreed, when it was time to go outside, we all said goodbye to the spider, and let him back into the wild. We discussed how we need to be kind to all living creatures and he deserved to be free than locked up with us.
This sort of problem solving and discussion really helps children build empathy. It offers an opportunity to label feelings of something other than themselves. It reminds them that everyone, people, animal and insect, want to be free.

I used a garden trellis I bought at the dollar store, to let the children weave beautiful ribbons.
Weaving is an awesome exercise to practice trail and error, problem solving, planning and work on those fine motor skills.

Our community options EA also played some connect four with us! We didn't really want to play with the rules, so we just made patterns instead. It was more fun for us to use turn taking ("you go, I go", "black, then red") team work ("if I go then you go, our pattern will be ..." and even had a complication with turn taking, which created a conversation around how it feels when we don't give our peers a turn to go) and of course identifying PATTERNS!

Our "playdough parent" made us some AMAZING playdough for the children. I inspired her to make it look like, or act like dirt. Well she took it up 100 notches, and made it look like dirt but smell and feel like heaven! It had hot chocolate powder and coffee grinds in it, but was soft and smooth to knead. I wasn't afraid of the children eating it this time, as much as I was afraid of the moms!

The recipe: 

Mud Dough

  • 3 TBSP Coffee bean (grounds)
  • 2 1/2 cups All flour
  • 1/2 cup Salt
  • 3 TBSP Cooking oil
  • 1 TBSP Alum (She recommended  the safe way brand) 
  • 2 Cups Boiling Water
  • 2 TBSP Hot chocolate dry mix
 1. In a large dry bowl put in flour, salt,alum, coffee bean grounds, hot chocolate mix, stir
 2. In a separate bowl, mix oil with hot water, then mix them into the dry ingredients. Stir well, until it is too difficult to stir. Gather into a ball and knead the dough till it is smooth. Store in plastic bag. Makes approximately 3 cups

Thanks so much Mireille!

Our wonderful Monday/Wednesday volunteer helped us contact fire fighters to get into the class for our Monday/Wednesday Christian class, to follow up with our community helpers.
Fire Fighter Dan and Fire Fighter Dave were amazing, and so helpful.

They showed us that we have nothing to fear if we ever were in a scary situation, and met someone who came to help us dressed in their uniform. Children at this age have outstanding imaginations, which sometimes scare them if they don't understand or know about something.

We also learned about what the uniform does to help them when they fight fires, or need to take people out of broken cars.

Again, I am so thankful for all of the adults who came in over the year to talk to the children about their careers. This helps them be excited about different jobs when they grow up, and inform them about all of the people in their own communities.

Alana, from Edmonton Public Library came in to read to us about Bugs for the last time this year. Thank you Alana, we will come visit you at Capilano Library Branch in Capilano Mall.

We also had our last field trip of the year, which was in our classroom. Greg, from Butterfly wings and wishes came in to show the children and their families various "creepy crawlies" to put us to ease that they are really nice and misunderstood. He told us about all of their community helper jobs too!

Butterfly Chrysalis

Smallest to largest caterpillars

Cockroaches are Garbage men!

He introduced us to two madagascar hissing cockroach's. They don't actually hiss! That is the sound of air (which they let us hear) leaving their back.

We also were able to hold a tarantula! The children were all so brave! Again, I feel its so crucial to show children  at a young age, that spiders and bugs are not scary. Fears are commonly passed down, or experienced from scary situations. It is very therapeutic to be allowed chances to face the scary and find out there is no harm. Even some of the adults felt the same when they were offered to hold the spiders and touch the cockroaches in a controlled environment.
We were also able to meet a Scorpion! Did you know in the dark they are reflective with a flash light?

Our last visitor of the week was Jeff, from Now Radio! He came bearing gifts at snack time to the Tues/Thursday class.
The children loved the popsicles.

Sincerely Ms Asha

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