Name Books

During our first two months of school, we are learning how to write our name in new and creative ways!

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To help with this, I have created Name Books, which enable your little one to recognize and spell their name.

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Although we are still working on them, here is a glimpse into some of what we are doing!

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Bobbing for Vegetables

Visual-perceptual motor skills are an area of emphasis in our preschool classroom. These skills refer to children’s physical responses to visual stimulation.

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Such skills are later used for activities such as reading from left to right or copying from the blackboard.

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During our projects, I try to introduce activities that begin to challenge your little ones’ visual-perceptual performance skills.

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Activities such as finding hidden pictures (figure/ground), bingo and lotto (visual scanning), concentration or memory card games (visual memory and matching), and block design replication (visual-spatial relations) address different aspects within the area of visual-perceptual motor skills.

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As part of our week of gardening, students used their visual-perceptual skills to bob for vegetables. Using their hands, they practiced retrieving toy vegetables from bowls of water with tongs.

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Flower Farms

For this activity, we created our very own flower farms!

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Using a few choice materials, students arranged groups of flowers into their very own bouquets.

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They first started with green play dough, manipulating it so it formed a flat shape. Next they prodded art wires into the dough.

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Lastly, they added fabric flowers to their wires.

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This activity enabled your little one to learn some new words, such as “bouquet” “stem” and “bundle.”

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Combine Harvesters

A combine harvester, or combine, is the tool of choice for harvesting corn and other grains.

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The reason this piece of equipment is called a combine is simply because it combines several jobs into a single machine.

 

Combines cut the crop and separate the grain from the plant while processing and spreading the remaining material over the field.

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The invention of the combine was a major moment in human history (with some debate about who really invented it!) that revolutionized the way grain crops were harvested.

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To help us understand this amazing machine, we combine tractors and corn kernels to harvest corn!

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With their friends, your little one moved corn around sensory tubs, laughing as they planted their “crops.”

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Miniature Tractors and Barns

Small world play involves acting out scenarios (scenes from real life, stories and/or imagination) in a miniature play scene, created with small figures and objects. Anything from your own home or garden will do, there is no limitation to your creativity which is why it’s a truly inexhaustible subject!

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Small worlds are often set up in a certain theme (construction area, pirates at sea, dinosaur world, … you name it) that are relevant and meaningful to the child at the time and they usually include a sensory element (water, sand, dry pasta, leaves, …) which adds more layers to the play.

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As with any kind of play, there are numerous ways in which small world play supports your child in it’s development. By providing children with opportunities to re-enact certain experiences, you are helping then to reflect on feelings and events in life in a safe way. While engaged in small world play, children can explore and experiment with different emotions and act out these scenes in their play.

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Small world play invites children to be creative, and boosts confidence when children are able to experiment with different (both new and familiar) materials and build something they think is awesome.

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It is also an excellent way to practice social skills (when for instance building a small world on a play date) where children can connect with each other and learn to take turns, listen to someone else’s ideas, compromise and so on.

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There are always many problems to solve in small worlds (“Not all the dinosaurs fit in my cave!”) and children learn how to work through these by reasoning and experimenting.

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Small world play helps to develop numeracy by giving lots of opportunities for grouping or sorting items and counting them (“How may small dinosaurs do you have? How many do go in your cave?” “Now, how many are left?”)

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To help us with our tractor theme, we played with miniature tractors. Using dyed rice as our “grass”, students manipulated their tractors, parking them in their “barns”.

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The Great Celery Experiment

Young children are naturally curious and passionate about learning. In their pursuit of knowledge, they’re prone to poking, pulling, tasting, pounding, shaking, and experimenting.  From birth, children want to learn and they naturally seek out problems to solvecelery1

Young children should learn science (and all other areas of study) through active involvement – that is, through first-hand, investigative experiences.

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For this activity, we learned about the how plants absorb water out of the ground.

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Through our Great Celery experiment, your little ones observed, predicted, and explored the physical properties of these fascinating plants.

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We began by pouring water into an empty cup. Next, we added food coloring.

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Then we placed the celery stalks inside the cups. In addition to this, we drew pictures of what we thought would happen to the celery. Following this, we checked on them the next day.

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Not much happened, so we check on them again 48 hours later. We saw that the color had been sucked up and distributed among the leaves.

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It was so much fun that we decided to draw again what we saw.

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Carrot Tops

No gardening unit would be complete without a section on vegetables! In the course of our gardening/harvest week, we learned all about carrots. We learned that carrots are usually orange in color although purple, red, white, and yellow varieties also exist.

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We also learned that carrots are cooked and eaten in various different ways. The vegetable is often pulped, mashed, boiled, puréed, grated, fried, steamed, stewed, baked, juiced or eaten raw.

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We talked about how carrots are typically used in stir-fries and salads but also in soups and added to baby foods or pet foods. And then we learned that they can be dehydrated or deep-fried to make chips, flakes, and powder.

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To help us further understand this exciting vegetable, we grew our very own carrot plants in bottles! To begin with, students were asked to scoop soil into a water bottle. Next, they were encouraged to place carrot tops on top of the soil.

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Following, they were directed to add a little water to their plants. Lastly, they placed the top of the bottle on. At the end of the week, we tried the same species of carrots that we planted. We ate them with celery and dipped them in cream cheese!

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