Temperate Forest Collaboration

Temperate forests are those found in the moderate climates between the tropics and boreal regions in both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres.

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They may also be called “four-season forests” because the midlatitude climates harboring them tend to experience four distinct seasons.

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A vast diversity of different forest types make up this broad category, from the broadly distributed temperate deciduous forests to pine woods and relatively geographically restricted temperate rainforests.

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As part of forest theme, we created our own temperate forest.

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We also learned about the kinds of animals that live there, such as bears, squirrels, foxes, and deer!

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Quadrupod Aviaries

Developing a child’s pencil grasp correctly is not just about helping them learn how to write, it is about teaching them how to grip. That is why we are constantly engaging in activities that help your little ones strengthen their fine motor skills, specifically their pencil grasp.

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By age 3 to 4 a young child will learn how to write using the static tripod grasp or quadrupod grasp. This grasp consists of them holding writing utensils crudely and using the whole pads of their fingers on the writing utensil.

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There also may still be some wrist and forearm movement to move the pencil, with the fingers not moving, or static. For this activity, we practiced strengthening the muscles responsible for this grasp with a squeezing activity.

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As part of our “birds” week, we manipulated feathered clothespins, placing them onto trees in our “rainforests”. Students used their quadrupod grasp to grip the pins, creating a very colorful aviary!

Birds of the Rainforest

Birds occur on land, sea and freshwater, and in virtually every habitat, from the lowest deserts to the highest mountains.

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Our knowledge of bird species can tell us a great deal about the state of the world and wider biodiversity. Patterns of bird diversity are driven by fundamental biogeographic factors, with tropical countries (especially in South America) supporting the highest species richness.

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One thing we enjoy about birds is. the variety of colors they display. It is for this reason that we spent a few days talking about the birds of the rainforest.

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Tropical rainforests are home to many kinds of birds, including parrots, hornbills, toucans, and raptors like eagles, hawks, and vultures.

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To help us learn more about these birds and their colors, we created trees made out of colorful pasta! Using their fingers, students strengthened their tripod grasp by placing dyed pasta into skewers. The result is a beautiful bird forest!

 

Tactile Monsters

Tactile learning and touch is essential for a child’s growth in physical abilities, cognitive and language skills, and even social and emotional development.

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Touch is not only imperative for short-term advancement with infancy and early childhood sensory experiences, but for long-term development within the child. Many children learn through tactile experiences, especially when they are young.

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If a child struggles to learn through their auditory or with their visual system, they may use their tactile experiences to develop other learning skills. For this activity, your little ones explored the texture of corn starch and water, known as our “gooey monsters” experiment. Students enjoyed placing googly eyes and other manipulatives onto their goo, and experimenting with the different textures!

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One-to-One Bats

Before learning to count,  a child needs to understand one to one correspondence.

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This means being able to match one object to one other object or person. 1:1 correspondence is simply the ability to match each member of one set to the member of an equal set.

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Usually when we think of 1:1 correspondence, we are only thinking of matching one of something to one of something else, but this concept also includes matching two of one thing to two of another thing, or three, or four, or five, or a hundred (and on and on and on). For this activity, we practiced our one-to-one correspondence with bat erasers and numbers.

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Using tweezers, students placed their erasers into an ice tray. Within each cube was a number (1-6). Students were instructed to match their numbers to the correct number of erasers that they were instructed to count out. In addition to one-to-one correspondence, this activity also targeted fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination.

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Paper Pumpkin Faces

Jack-o-Lanterns can be a great way to explore feelings and emotions with young children.

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During our week of the pumpkin, we created a variety of different jack-o-lanterns.

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We used a variety of items to construct different facial expressions, all the while discussing the different emotional states behind them.

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For this activity specifically, we constructed these expressions using paper pieces.

Spider Puzzles

Measurement concepts are often a part of children’s interactions. “My dad is bigger,” “I can jump higher,” and “I have more play dough than you!” are common comparisons that children make.

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From the child’s perspective, these statements compare quantity; however, they also provide a nice introduction to measurement. Unfortunately, it is an often neglected content standard in early childhood classrooms.

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Throughout the many projects we do throughout the week, we are constantly measuring, comparing, and contrasting items related to the theme. For this activity, your little one was presented with a problem. They were each given a picture of a spider separated into seven sections.

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These sections were of different sizes and shapes and it was their quest to see how they all fit together! When children work on puzzles, they are actually “putting the pieces together” in more ways than one. Puzzles help children build the skills they need to read, write, solve problems, and coordinate their thoughts and actions—all of which they will use in elementary school and beyond. A puzzle with a picture that has particular interest for a child may help her begin to recognize colors and letters, and come to realize that the sum of parts make up a whole—a concept that will help her with math later on.

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By inserting pieces into the puzzle, children also develop the muscle group used for writing, or the “pincer” grasp. Children can work on puzzles by themselves, without the help of adults or other children. They can also work together on large puzzles and practice compromising and getting along. By inserting pieces into the puzzle, children also develop the muscle group used for writing, or the “pincer” grasp. Children can work on puzzles by themselves, without the help of adults or other children.

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They can also work together on large puzzles and practice compromising and getting along. Because each child must concentrate on the puzzle individually, he experiences a sense of satisfaction as he picks up a piece, rotates it, and discovers the spot in which it fits. Piece by piece, he begins to recognize the picture that the puzzle represents.

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