Sunday, September 29, 2013

Fall Walk

Since the beginning of school started we have been getting to know one another. This week we spent time talking about touch and hearing.

The children explored sound through games like stop and go, red light green light and dance freeze.

During touch we painted our hands and matched our skin colours. A lot of the time the colours were a little off, so we began to mix the colours more! It was important to let the children know that we are not the same but we are all unique and special.

We then painted a unity picture! A canvas to hang in the class.

We also did "Fall" as our theme. I loved mixing in our five senses to explore Autumn.

Edmonton Public Library came to sing with us, read us books and do active games about Fall.. It's fun to have someone who isn't the teacher share literacy and music. It creates a special atmosphere for the children to keep it exciting and new. We anticipate the next time we spend time with the librarians.

On Thursday and Friday we had an amazing opportunity to spend class outside.
We started class participating in a scavenger hunt. It's marvelous to be challenged to take time to look and appreciate the small stuff. Children tend to already know this, so it was fun to give them an objective. 

A parent helped me cut egg cartons in half to create 6 cubbies. Each cubby was painted in a fall colour; red, green, purple, yellow, green and brown. Then we went out into the park to find items all around us to match those fall colours. 

Seeing the items the children had collected was so exciting. Some children found a lot of the same items, leaves or sticks, but some found neat and unique items. They looked deep into the colour of their treasures to see new colours I hadn't seen before. 

There are so many curricular concepts being explored in this simple experience - including but not limited too are:

Math - one to one correspondence (having one item for each colour), classification & organizing and abstraction of properties (in how things are grouped - all of these items are coloured, all of the items in this cubby are yellow)
Science - Environment awareness, geography, using their body and senses to explore the environment, the Earths materials
Social - Working together to find materials that match the colours, understanding their role in the environment, using directions to navigate the park, playing with peers to enjoy their experience
Language - Adults offering directions for the children to follow "first lets ...", " Can you see..." etc

We then brought our findings back, and began filling our fall colours book. The books had a sheet of paper matching the 6 fall colours we had searched for in the park.
Using our fine motor to squeeze out the glue

The children were very proud of their fall books! The children loved getting creative, and creating a book they pretty much wrote! They would bring their books to me, and I would create a script as if reading the book to them. "I spy ..." or "__child's name__ found ..." They would assist my story telling by telling me the colour or describing the object on the page.

After we worked hard at school, we found the most amazing "natural park". I loved watching them explore balancing beams, sand.

We didn't know we were going to find such a wonderful park so we didn't bring any sand toys. Thankfully we did find acorns! We used them to count, and place one on top of the other. We grouped them and enjoyed various math concepts.

We also found things that really challenged our imagination. A child was sure a camel made this foot print!

This year at our playschool we are really enjoying our snack time. Each day families are challenged to follow a chart that has a healthy snack on it. We use our snack time to talk about the healthy treat, identify its food group, talk about some of the benefits of the food and where they got it from. 
Parents who share the chart information with the children have been coming to class gloating about what they brought, telling me if parents picked it or made it, or if they had the chance to pick it. Some times the children don't want to eat the snack, but I tell them it will be okay and that they can try it again next time.

Friday we had seeds!

Pumpkin, sunflower and poppy

seeds in our fruit

Sweet and Salty


Ms Asha

Monday, September 23, 2013

The first two weeks

The first two weeks have past, and we are on our third week together as a group.
This year our playschool went to 3 different classes (3 day am, 3 day pm and 2 day am) and 2 different programs, including a Christian program and a Health & Wellness program.

It has been a blessing, and I couldn't be happier working with the program so much more this year than I had the chance to last year. I look forward to the remainder of the year.

We started our staggered entry days by prepping our Helping Hands (the green hand prints), and our place mats. I write the children's names on the hands and laminate them. Then I put them on our classroom tree and rotate them when a child's parent is our parent helper. Our Helping Hand leads circle, the clean up song, and has show and share! The boys and girls love show and share.

We also read The Kissing Hand, and made our own kissing hand (the blue). If you've never read The Kissing Hand - I highly recommend you invest and read it again to them for Kindergarten. We read it every year, and do a hand print craft. At the end of class before the kids see their parents again, I share a heart sticker for the children to put into the middle.

In the first week our theme was "getting to know me". I was so excited to meet the new children and learn about them. To get to know the children better, I offer the parents a question sheet, asking about siblings, family traditions, fears, favorites, and more.
We sat down together during craft to draw a self portrait. I placed some mirrors including a small and full length mirror around the art table. If the children didn't know what to draw, I invited them to go look in the mirror for ideas. It really worked, and lead the children into examining their body parts, such as how many fingers they had.

Many children would carry their pictures to the long mirror after, and compare their creations to their images.

I was excited to make the Sand center a little more natural this year. I still would like to add some exciting thematic props, but our staple will be petrified wood, rocks, and sea shells.

It was a major hit with our playschool friends from the get go! I also offered a magnified glass, wooden bowls and  wooden spoons to explore and experience the options in the sand table.

Celebration Center

Our playschool is lucky to be in a very diverse K-9 elementary. A big part of the school that I value is that the school is 1/2 a non denominational Christian program, and 1/2 non Christian community program. Our playschool is ran the same way. 2/3 of our program is nondenominational Christian (5 day mornings) and 1/3 is a regular playschool program.

Here I will share some special notes!
I had a lot of fun in our first week talking about God. We spent time talking about "The Beginning."
I found a wonderful template for a play experience here.

I made our circles bigger, using a plate as a template. I also adapted some of the characters and changed some colours of the materials I used. I added an Eve to my Adam, and some "zzz.." while God rested.

To introduce the celebration center, I told the story with the children during devotion. Since then I have left the materials out for the children to enjoy. They have shown a lot of commitment and enjoyment so far.

Blessings xxo

Ms Asha