The use of group projects in a curriculum can be very useful, especially in bringing difficult concepts to the preschool level. To bring these concepts to fruition, all participants must, in a sense, become learners along with the children.
The teacher has to be careful to not act as a mentor but as a guide; that is, the teacher cannot think solely in terms of a prearranged destination to activity but must focus on offering a sense of discipline to the activity. Feelings and emotions consist of many complex components, and because of this, we must be creative in teaching our little ones about them!
For this activity, we used play dough to convey a variety of emotions. Your little ones worked together to best determine what expression they wanted to portray. Following the construction of these faces, students were asked to name the feelings they created.
Although the formal study of reading and writing does not occur until kindergarten, young children are capable of recognizing letters and their functions.
The more they are introduced to pre-reading and pre-writing activities, the more they are able to recognize and understand their meanings.
It is for this reason that we are constantly engaging in these types of activities – ones that help students understand abstract concepts through sensory play. For this activity, students traced the word TURTLE into green glitter. They were then asked to recognize cardboard cutouts that matched the letters they traced.
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!
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. 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. 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. As part of Dr. Seuss theme, we read a book called Yertle the Tertle. This book visits the pond of Sal-a-ma-sond and Yertle the Turtle, who lives there. Throughout the story, the residents of Sal-a-ma-sond make a pile, one on top of another. With this small world play, we recreated these piles with some toy turtles. Students also reenacted parts of the story. All in all, it was fun to create our very own ponds and play with our turtles!
My Many Colored Days dominated the second week of our Dr. Seuss month. This rhyming story is a wonderful way for parents and teachers to talk with children about their feelings.
Each day is described in terms of a particular color, which in turn is associated with specific emotions. Using a spectrum of vibrant colors and a variety of animals, this unique book covers a range of moods and emotions.
To incorporate two foundation domains into our theme, we partook in a little science experiment.
Using eye droppers, students placed watercolors onto coffee filters. While, doing so, we talked about how the different colors made us feel.
These two components accessed the science and social-emotional learning domains.
The Color Wheel shows the relationships between the colors. The three primary colors are red, yellow, and blue; they are the only colors that cannot be made by mixing two other colors.
The three secondary colors are green, orange, and violet; they are each a mixture of two primary colors. Their hue is halfway between the two primary colors that were used to mix them.
On the color wheel, the secondary colors are located between the colors they are made from.
The six tertiary colors (red-orange, red-violet, yellow-green, yellow-orange, blue-green and blue-violet) are made by mixing a primary color with an adjacent secondary color. On the color wheel, the tertiary colors are located between the primary and secondary colors they are made from.
Black, white and gray are not true colors (or hues). They are considered to be neutral, achromatic colors.
To integrate this concept into our Many Colored Days unit, we decided to mix two primary colors to create a secondary color!
Using homemade chalk (cornstarch and water), we mixed yellow and blue, and excitedly watched to see the result!
Early math is not about the rote learning of discrete facts like how much 5 + 7 equals. Rather, it’s about children actively making sense of the world around them. Unlike drills or worksheets with one correct answer, open-ended, playful exploration encourages children to solve problems in real situations.
Because the situations are meaningful, children can gain a deeper understanding of number, quantity, size, patterning, and data management. For example, it is easier to understand what six means when applied to a real-life task such as finding six beads to string on a necklace or placing one cracker on each of six plates.
It is for this reason that we used plastic eggs and pom poms to practice our counting! This activity also included a fine motor component with students using tweezers to pick up their “yokes”. Each plastic egg in this project was affixed with a number. Students were then encouraged to place pom poms (which represented yokes) into each egg, matching the print number with the number that they would count out verbally. Your little ones learned so much!
A sensory bin is typically a plastic tub or a large container of some sort filled with materials and objects carefully selected to stimulate the senses. A sensory bin can be filled with a large variety of different materials such as shredded paper, water beads, water, sand, and more.
A sensory bin can provide opportunities for children to stimulate some or all of the following senses: visual (sight), auditory (hearing), olfactory (smell), gustation (taste). As part of our Green Eggs and Ham unit, we learned about the different parts of an egg using this wonderful medium.
The base of our bin was created using green rice. The parts of an egg were represented by green plastic eggs as the shell, and white pom poms as the yoke. Students were also given spatulas and flip their eggs and manipulate the rice. Lastly, they enjoyed combining their materials with their friends’.
Tactile learning and touch is essential for a child’s growth in physical abilities, cognitive and language skills, and even social and emotional development.
Many children learn through tactile experiences, especially when they are young. As part of our Green Eggs and Ham unit, your little one participated in a tactile learning activity. Using green slime as our green egg “whites”, poker chips as our “yoke”, glitter as our salt, and plastic utensils, students practiced cutting their “eggs”.
Everyone enjoyed manipulating their utensils and slime with not only their forks, but their hands! The great thing about slime is how malleable it is. Students could experiment with the physical properties of it, enjoying the cause and effect that occurs as a result!
For young children, the process of cause and effect can be a powerful one. This is because they love to see results…immediately. This occurs on account of how they think.
Because young children think in three-dimensions, it is useful to give them experiences that enable them to learn on a tactile level.
They not only witness things change before their eyes, they get to be the creators of that change! This makes learning so much fun.
As part of our unit on Dr. Seuss, we spent one week learning about Green Eggs and Ham. For this activity, we included a bit of chemistry. Using vinegar and baking soda, students used eye droppers to drop vinegar onto their baking soda “eggs”. They enjoyed watching their baking soda “eggs” dissolve. Lastly, they were able to see the reaction of the two chemicals, and were gratified by the rapidity of it.
Writing our own Seuss-inspired books provided a host developmental benefits. Your little ones took pride in what they drew and thought up, and were excited to share their stories with their parents and their class. Please enjoy them below!