Sunday, October 12, 2014

Apples & Fall

The beginning of our playschool year has been very exciting. It gave us the opportunity to explore our senses. Fall is full of wonderful sights, smells, tastes, sounds and textures.

Using many of our senses we cooked some apple sauce together!
Teaching children to cook has many many benefits. It is an amazing way to bond and make them feel included. Cooking includes many curricular concepts such as math (numbers, order, weight) and science (mixing, changing of the texture and constancy). Children also tend to try more styles of food when they are included, giving them the pride in "their" snack.

We washed the apples, and invited small groups of children to come help us use a butter knife to cut the apples into tiny pieces.

In circle we used our sense to smell the cinnamon, feel the difference between the texture of apples, cinnamon and sugar, and taste the sugar.

The Capilano Playschool children enjoy cooking at the school.

Cutting apple playdough and learning to roll balls

The children enjoyed the science of floating and sinking in our fall water tub. It included apples of various sizes and types, cinnamon sticks, leaves, pine cones, sparkles and measuring utensils. 

In the spirit of apples, we also used them to do some comparisons which is a great preschool experience for practicing math. The children got to try a sour green apple and a sweet red apple, and then tell us which one they enjoyed more. 
The children were responsible to sign their own names under the colour of apple they enjoyed more. While some names were more legible than others, it was important to me that they attempted to sign their names. It helped me observe where they are when it comes to their names and how confident they are with holding a pencil. Lastly, I want them to feel proud of their name no matter how they write it. It is important that they own their name and  are proud to try and write it. Being capable to write it properly will come with time in playschool with lots of exposure and practice, but it starts with the confidence to try.

Leaf play light table
This week was read in week for our schools. I wanted to include our adorable little playschool this year so we invited some people into our classroom. Every year we invite Edmonton Public library into our program to read to us each month, so this year we booked it during read in week.

Our Principal of Haridsty K-9 instead invited us into the kindergarten room with the grade ones to hear him read "Oh the places you'll go" from Dr Seuss. 

Ms Lindsay, our vice principal came in to read a book about being thankful in the spirit of Thanksgiving.

Please be sure to say hello in the halls!

The health and wellness class also had their first Yoga class with Ms Jenn from Moksha!
They became little seeds, and went through the life cycle of being a fall tree through stretching and yoga moves.

We love Ms Jenn!

Pumpkin spice ooblek
We mixed some cornstarch with pumpkin spice tea water and got very messy.

The children decorated a Thanksgiving turkey, drawn on sticky paper with googly eyes and feathers.

We even made our own fall spice trees. The kids used spice mixed paint to decorate small trees.

We even got to spend some time outside enjoying the warm Edmonton fall weather!

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Ms Asha

Sunday, June 15, 2014

In pictures

I deeply apologize for not updating much in the last month and a half. It has been busy but so fantastic.
I will make blog post a month too late about some exciting news before the end of May, but until then I would like to just do a big photo dump of things that had happened in the classroom!


Puffy Paint - 1/2 cup water, 1/2 cup flour, 1/2 cup salt

We spent April and May exploring community helpers. Who are community helpers, real and make believe, and how we can be community helpers. 

We  celebrated by having a Superhero day!

Writing onamonapias in their journals
We also enjoyed learning about spring animals and the changes that come with the new season.
Using upcycled materials with Edmonton's Reuse center to make binoculars

White glue. We then added food colouring to make pictures

Printing with nuts and bolts

Enjoying shaving cream

Meeting a police officer

Upcycled Mother's Day crafts

We had so much fun with our Nature Center. There we could find feathers, seeds, plants, coral, rocks, petrified wood and pussy willows. We could observe the differences between insects (butterflies) and arachnids (tarantulas), as well as the difference between crawling and flying.

Bug painting with magnets 

Yummy smelly "dirt dough" which smelt like chocolate!

Using sticky paper to make flowers from upcycled materials

Cloud dough digging. 8 cups flour to 2 cups canola oil

Ms Asha

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Preschoolers at the Edmonton Humane Soicety

What feels like forever ago, the children and I took a trip (with their extraordinary parents) to the Edmonton Humane Society  to do a program called "Tails are not for pulling." I have done this program a few times now, and have loved it more and more each time. The program tells children a story about how pets have feelings, needs and fears in an age appropriate way (we had 1 1/2 year olds to 5 year olds).
After reading the preschool picture book about animals and their feeling, the children were introduced to either a few small animals (such as a ferret and bearded dragon) or a dog, named Riptide.

The children, with the support of an adult, were taught how to meet a strangers pet and how to ask if they can pet the pet. Approaching a new animal can be tricky, especially if the dog is full of excitement and offers permission in the form of a wet nose and swinging tail before the child can even ask. When the opportunity is offered, always take advantage of asking the animals human if they can pet the pet. You can create this successful interaction by asking the dogs human "may I please pet your pet?" If the answer is yes, invite the puppy over with two gentle claps of the hands, two gentle taps on your lap and a smile (after taping your lap, take a small step back to create an inviting amount of space). Sometimes the dog will come over excitingly, and sometimes the dog may not want to be pet. We need to respect the dogs' wishes too and teach our children that it is not going to happen, but they can wave to the scared or uncomfortable dog and then be on your way. If the puppy comes for a hello, ensure your child only pets the animals back, and not the face or tail.

So many cases of poor dog greetings could be avoided if we taught one another at a young age a kind, and respecting way to meet new animals. Children need to be taught to respect and honor everyone, not just humans but animals too. As they grow up, these children who practiced a polite interaction will forever be observant of unfamiliar greetings, and avoid bad situations.

 After our story time, the children were brought into the gorgeous space of the adoption area for a behind the scenes tour.

I love how interested the boy is in the cat eating, learning what basic needs a cat has.
As a non pet owner, he is given a firsthand chance to see that the kitties needs.

The society helps rehome scaly pets too, like this boa constrictor.
Before we left, the children presented the humane society with the money they worked so hard to collect and donate to the shelter. It really was my favorite part of the trip! For me it was the closure of the children offering the mason jar to the EHS staff, and hearing her talk about all of the amazing things the EHS will do with the money. They worked hard to make the money; they brought it to school and put it in a jar. Now that jar was going to a woman on behalf of the Edmonton Humane Society who was saying the money would be used for various things, such as toys and food. I cannot speak on behalf of every child, but if one child realized on that day that when you take your hard earned money and share it with those who need it, you feel good! You make a difference. You keep the community going and keep it healthy and happy. My wish is that each child took a piece from that field trip, and if one piece was "giving feels good" creating lifelong volunteers and advocates, well than I couldn't be happier.

The children helped raise $257.17. Way to go playschoolers!
Thanks for playing with us Riptide.
Ms Asha

Monday, March 31, 2014

Capilano had a farm

In our classroom this month we have been singing, acting and playing with pets, both house pets and farm pets.The children had a few favorite games such as doggy doggy and duck duck goose and have enjoyed songs, including How much is that puppy in the window, Old Mac Donald and Down on Grandpa's farm.

I wanted children to understand that owning a pet is costly for families. So many families purchase pets but have a tough time when things change in the home and they need to still buy food, and the animals basic needs.I offered a challenge to the children to help them understand the power of money. I encouraged the children to make money, and then donate it to the Edmonton Humane Society. 
How do children make money? Often parents hand it over, and tell them what to do with it. We teach them this at the grocery store or toy store. At the till we pay the nice lady or man before they hand us the bag and tell us how cute we are. The thing about money, and most important key concepts of our society is that the best way to teach someone how to be responsible is to teach them young, and make it into a social norm. The children were told to make money, but of course I told the parents first to give the children ways to make the money. When I was a child I loved making drawings and then selling them to friends and family. Often I was offered a shiny dime. Other ways the children told me how to make money was cleaning family members rooms, doing their own family choirs, or finding it in common areas like the laundry room or couches.

Once the children made the money, parents helped inspire them to bring it into the classroom and put it into our donation jar. Once the children donated it we began exploring the money. What it looks like, the size differences and the details.



Money rubbing into our journals

Bubble wrap is so much fun! Did you know fish make bubbles under water?!

Making painting with cat toys.

Offering the children materials for their dramatic play supports the questions and rules children use to care for pets. They help organize the same and different needs as we do such as food, water and love.

Capilano Playschool Humane Society

Feeding the puppy treats was a great fine motor experience. The children were given the classroom tweezers to pick up the dog treats and put them into the puppies mouth. Some children had a really hard time manipulating the tweezers, so instead I asked them to only use their "L" fingers (first/pointer finger and thumb). The small pinch the two fingers create when grasping the dog bone becomes the same fingers and grasps the children will need to hold a pencil. Of course they will still need to add the middle finger eventually, but this is a successful start as well as a wonderful strength exercise for when they're ready.

Class Acting - Old Mac Donald
The children enjoy public speaking for the class in the form of acting out songs with puppets. Each child was given a farm animal character, and one by one as we sang the song the children acted out their puppets.

We used farm animals to play with prepositions. Each child was able to have a turn to move an animal around the cup. I also tried to work in opposite concepts with directions. If one child put the horse under the cup, the next child was asked to do the opposite with the bull, which of course is "over" or "on top."

June is a VERY busy month for families as the school year ends. To help support our busy families we organize a special "Daddies Donuts" event. Our daddies, and the special men (and women) were welcomed into the classroom to play parachute games with us, eat sweet treats, enjoy coffee, see what our children are up too in the classroom and meet the other parents.

Children LOVE to paint with their hands. Often, when the children are asked to use painting materials before they leave the table they have touched the paint. I put out an open invitation for the children to use the primary colours to paint with their hands.

They had fun painting on the mirror in the classroom.

On March 17th and 18th we had some sneaky visitors - Leprechauns!

We knew it was them because they left glitter on everything they touched, as well as a scavenger hunt.
They started with an invitation to use rhyming words to find a treasure. The children helped me rhyme drink with sink, and hand with sand, until we found the gift they left us!

Toys, a book and a RAINBOW! (I think they had a hard time finding nut free dollar coins).

We used our fingers to paint, and then the children told me why they were lucky, so I could write it on their picture.

Some children had a hard time with the concept of being "Lucky."  Children are exceptionally lucky since their parents make sure to give them the love the need, the toys they enjoy and the activities they can't wait to do. To me being lucky is when we are given "things" that we don't necessarily ask for or sometimes even work for. I work hard for my house, I am just so lucky that it is a place where I find comfort and love. I was born into a family, but I am lucky that they value me, and ensure my happiness is a priority. The most simple way to explain it to the children was to ask them what they what makes them happy. Happy is still a pretty basic emotion. Once we add complexity to it we get ecstatic, and over joyed. The backbone of those feelings are happy. My playschool children make me happy, and I am lucky that they are so good to me.

The invitation to snack has been a well received activity in the classroom. This one really helped children try new "green" vegetables.  One child started with "I don't like cucumbers" but had ate them all before snack was over because two other peers were eating theirs. It was also so neat to see parents get creative with the idea of a "green snack."

Playing with green sparkly play dough.

In gym we played croquet!

We watched puppies do agility training and run obstacle courses in class on our ipad, so we wanted to do our own!

Ms Asha