Friday, May 13, 2016

Bees in the classroom

The children had the pleasure learning about honey bees in class! Bees tend to be a misunderstood friend, especially to a preschooler. Children know the make honey, that they visit flowers and that they sting. 

We had a community helper who is a bee keeper come in to lead our conversation. 
The children, Miss Jocelyn and I had an in depth conversation about all of these topics and I know I learnt some new facts. 

This is honey. Did you know honey is bee barf?! Bees collect pollen and drink nectar and then regurgitate honey into combs. We found out one of bees favourite flowers to collect from is Dandelions. It's important to leave some out in the neighbourhood for the bees, even though we love collecting them for moms, dads and teachers. 

These combs are where they put the honey but also where the queen lays her eggs. There is only one queen bee in a hive. Boy bees are called drones. There are guard bees at the front of the hive to protect the honey from robbers such as other honey bees or wasps.  The bees who collect nectar and pollen are all girl bees. Next time you see a bee on a flower make sure you praise her and say "good work girl!"
This piece smelt like wax. 

We misunderstand bees because bees misunderstand us. To help us over come our anxiety we were allowed to snuggle this stuffed bee. Miss Jocelyn uses this bee suit incase she scares the bees. She has not been stung once this year. Bees don't like to sting because it will cause them to die. Often we are stung by bees if we step on them. 

In the gym we played "bees and robbers"
One child hides their eyes while another child take the "bees honey". Then we sing "isn't it funny how bees like honey? Buzz buzz buzz!"  It's a great way to learn about patience, turn taking, rhyming, rhythm and team work. The children would cheer on whomever was running with the honey. They are great friends. 

Before Miss Jocelyn left she told us how bees communicate to other bees about amazing flowers they find, by doing a dance called the waggle dance. 
During last circle we pretended we were bees. Ms Asha would call out a number and when the children found the number they needed to do the waggle dance for their friends. The other children would notice where the number was by where their friend was smiling and dancing. 

Some children are so much fun to watch. One child was annoyed that she wasn't finding the numbers first. She came up with a strategy and was waiting by the number 8 patiently. Once I said "eight" she jumped up and began dancing. She showed so much determination and thought process waiting for this one number. No one was upset and she was very proud.

We cannot wait to Learn more about bees, bugs and flowers. 

Ms Asha 

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Goodbye fall

It is already November! The leaves are now gone, the air is chilly and crisp and winter is coming. And while there isn't any snow yet, it is time to start saying goodbye to fall.

The children spent their first couple of months learning about change. Watching the leaves change, dance and fall. We had the chance to have a nature class, in which we met at the park and had class in Edmontons River Valley. If I could teach there all of the time we would. The children and families love it, and it is a beautiful space.

We began our nature class by wandering the park looking for fall items...

Children collected items which matched coloured indicators. I upcycled an egg carton to create a crate to hold various items in orange, green, yellow, red, brown and purple.

We took our found materials and matched them to the pages on our "Fall colour book".

After we went to one of my favorite local play spaces- a natural play area.

There are no swings, no bars and no slides in this park. Often children seem confused at first, but once offered the time and space to engage with the materials they would jump from the balance beams, run through the tracks, explore the sand and use their imagination. I do not bring any materials for the children to use, no bikes or sand toys. Often children will collect found natural materials; sticks, pine cones and leaves to create a game or activity. 

In the classroom we brought in items from Harvest including apples and pumpkins.
We made apple sauce with basic math and science skills. The children enjoyed our home made recipe which included no added sugar.

Pumpkins began to cover our room as Halloween drew closer...

We even found some goopy gross gack in our room which the children LOVED to cut up.

We enjoyed pouring, mixing, playing in our Halloween sensory tub. This will help with writing skills down the line, as the children exercised their fine motor skills pressing together the tweezers, using aim and point and lifting and pouring beans.

Sensory bins are also relaxing, help foster story telling, social skills, math, science and much more.

The children decided they wanted to colour a pumpkin in the classroom.

We also carved a face into one.

In circle we read many stories, played various games and even told stories with masks. I also use the masks to work on sound skills (repeat after me, public speaking and pronunciation of items such as Boo, Hehehe, or Whoo)
It also fosters dramatic play, follow directions and turn taking.

One of my favorite moments spent at the playschool is when we adventure to the neighbouring seniors complexes' and spend time with them. We dressed in our costumes and wandered over to sing songs, tell stories and do crafts. 

Multi generational experiences is key for fostering community. It teaches children to work with all neighbours no matter what age or what interest someone has. The seniors tells us stories, ask us questions and genuinely have interest in the children's wants and needs. Spending time at the seniors builds empathy for our children, learning what other people need and how to spend time with various friends.

Ms Asha

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Welcome to our new room

The playschool recently moved into a new room. It has already proven itself to be a better room based on the floor space allowing groups of children to spread out, play in a much bigger play house and having a large meeting table for snack instead of little group tables. We are closer to a washroom, and have neighbours who enjoy seeing us in the hallways. It even comes with a large West wall of windows. This week child has been keeping a tally whenever she sees someone walking out of the large building. We see community members, animals and children playing from our school. We cannot wait to use it for other activities, creative expressions and observations.


Our train table is a popular area where we gather. It helps is work on social skills (such as turn taking, sharing and working together to make the flow of the trains work) geography, spacial awareness, math, architectural design and obviously, being train conductors!

Building third dimensional cubes! We had to count out how many balls and sticks we needed to create the structure. 

Our register is our new favorite magnet board. Good thing it only blows out cool air, and doesn't get hot. 

New to the room is a doll house. Perfect for our ponies, calico critters and little people.

Our wishing tree where parents write their wishes for the preschoolers for their playschool year.

Our block shelf and puzzle toys.

Light table and reading area

Playing with playdough making (ordering, classifying and counting) apples. 

Much will change as we nest in our new classroom. I look forward to help from the children as we make this classroom perfect. Thank you to all of our families who took time to help with the move, and help set up. 

Ms Asha 

Sunday, March 22, 2015

May I pet your pet?

The children have been learning about pets in class. It has been a wonderful topic in which the children have loved exploring.

We covered many curricular concepts such as:

Biology - the animals bodies, how they move, how many legs, etc. 
Math - counting animals, counting animal body parts, categorizing farm pets vs domestic pets
Social studies - how animals communicate, where they live, what they need to survive, how we can help them 
And so much more...

The children enjoyed many open ended art experiences such as painting with tiny aniamls. 
This really helped us explore the differences between each animals body parts such as how many legs they have or how their ears work, and  how their bodies move when it comes to a snake vs a cat. 

We read many classics such as Pete the Cat and his groovy buttons which made us want to make button collages. 

This craft was so rewarding to many children where they desired exploration. 
Some children enjoyed math while using the buttons to make a pattern, while others enjoyed counting their buttons. 
Others strengthened their social skills sharing buttons and taking turns with the glue. Needing to wait till someone was done with it, only using it for as long as they required it.
My favorite was the children who used it to strengthen their fine motors skills or just enjoyed the science of watching the glue pour from the spout, covering the cardboard as it spead out. Almost therapeutic just watching the white goo leave the Orange spout and cover the area of the activity. 

We spent some time categorizing domestic house pets and farm pets. It was very silly to think about pigs in the bathtub or a horse in our kitchen! 
It was also funny to sing "down on grandpas farm" about "big blue ducks" and "tiny pink sheep". 

We felt the most silly when we used rubber gloves like cow udders to paint our pictures. 

The children have loved the dramatic play areas. They have been pets, owned pets, cared for pets and saved pets lives.

On the radio this month families were discussing the appropriate age to begin "chores". Every family is very different and it is important to always do what is best in your house hold. 
Beginning in February I asked the families to begin helping their preschoolers find ways to make money, cleaning up, helping out or selling items. 

I personally believe teaching children the value of money is best taught young. Money is earned by hard work. 
When you come across money you are very fortunate and lucky (which was a big conversation during St Patrick's Day). 
You can make more money if you need it. 
That you should also understand how hard money can be to come across, especially if you cannot make it like a dog or cat. 

The money that families helped their children earn was then donated to the classroom into a mason jar. It is also important to teach children how important it is to donate, and be involved in our community. 

The money the children collected was organized by the children. We organized them into colours, sizes and pictures on the money. 

The children collected the money to donate to the animals at the Edmonton Humane Society. 

Last week we went to the Humane Society for a field trip. While we were there we were able to present the money to them. Together the children raised over $200. It really helped the children see where the money was going. The staff explained to the children what they were going to use the money for (food, toys etc). 

Ms Asha