Sorting Recyclables

Because we are still focusing on all things recycling, we learned about how important it is to clean up after ourselves.

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We initially learned about what the word “litter” and “recycle” mean, and then we went on a make believe clean-up in the front yard playground.

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The children sorted their trash according to “cans” and “other trash”.

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By teaching out little ones about conservation, we are encouraging them to be good custodians of their own future.

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Playdoh Planets

Young children do not think in two dimensions.

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If they are presented with a picture, they are often unable to truly grasp its meaning, because they are not yet capable of symbolic thought.

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It is therefore imperative that they are given every opportunity to participate in their learning on three dimensions.

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Play dough provides the perfect medium for this. For this activity, we created the planet Earth out of blue and green play dough.

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Our older students then used a tape measure to measure the circumference of their planets. The tactile experience of manipulating play dough helps children develop a deeper understanding of how matter changes (physics) and encourages them to use scientific thinking as they observe changes, make predictions, and talk through differences in the materials they are using. The fine motor skills needed for writing and drawing are also refined as children roll, poke, and shape their play dough creations.

 

Trash Sculptures

Preschoolers love to explore the world around them.

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To help teach your little ones about the principles of recycling, we created sculptures out of trash!

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This activity allowed for the repurposing of discarded materials (styrofoam) to help your students learn about the importance of reusing materials.

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This project also enabled your children to access their imaginations and creativity by providing them with three-dimensional materials.

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Global Warming

At this age, young children may have a difficult time understanding the scientific dilemma of global warming, so instead we focus on what we can do to improve our world. To foster awareness of the issue of global warming and how it may affect us, we removed trash for our Arctic animal friends and stuck any “glaciers” we found back together with toothpicks. We learned about where the Arctic is, and why it is important. We also read a book that relayed to us several important facts. One was that average temperatures in the Arctic region are rising twice as fast as they are elsewhere in the world. Your little one also discovered that Arctic ice is getting thinner – melting and rupturing. Secondly, your budding activist listened to a story about Percy the Polar Bear and his adventures up north. Percy relayed the ecology of this beautiful land mass. That the melting of the once-permanent ice is already affecting native people, wildlife and plants. All of these components enabled your blossoming ecologist to perceive how this societal problem can translate into opportunities for their own future.

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Oil Spill

Young children have probably heard about oil spills, but they may not understand how they affect our environment. This oil spill activity exposed your young activists to  the importance of protecting our natural resources from harmful events like oil spills. Using dish soap, feathers and oil, we learned about how oil affects the birds most vulnerable to oil spills. In addition to promoting an awareness of environmental issues, this activity also served as an opportunity to experiment with complicated measurement concepts such as width, height, volume and density.

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Earth Fishing Game

To extend the idea of taking care of the Earth into our environmental theme, your little ones participated in an activity called the Earth Day fishing game.

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To prepare the game, magnets were added to fish and to different pieces of trash.

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Trash was also stapled to the back of each fish.

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Our fishing poles had a magnet wrapped up in the end of the string to pick up the magnetic trash and fish out of the pond.

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Your maturing pollution experts were told that if they looked closely into the pond, they would see that someone had thrown things that don’t belong into the water.

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We talked about how some of those things were even getting stuck on the fish and we needed to rescue them.

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The children spent the morning catching tin cans, plastic bottles, toilet paper rolls, and even fish. But sadly, each of our fish had trash stuck to the backside of their body.

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As each child caught a fish, we flipped it over to see what was on the bottom of the fish and asked questions like – “Is this good for our fish?” or “Does this belong in the pond?”

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Rain and Ocean Pollution

Teaching scientific concepts to young children poses unique challenges, so in our classroom we use simple vocabulary and fun projects to keep them captivated! Water rotation and its affects on ocean pollution is an ideal introduction to this component of our Environmental Awareness theme, so we talked about where rain comes from and where it goes! With Playdoh, sticks, salt shakers, and blue water, we practiced making it rain on our “land” and then watched as it returned to the “ocean”. We then added trash to our land masses, and observed what happens was the rain pours down on top of it. We talked about how the rain and trash wash into our sewers, and eventually out to the ocean. Hands-on activities such as these reinforce complicated concepts and allow your preschoolers to grasp how rain works!

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Clouds and the Water Cycle

Have you ever wondered how clouds form? We all learn the water cycle in school – water falls from the clouds in the form of rain or snow and collects on the ground. The water on the ground heats up and turns to vapor and the vapor travels up into the atmosphere and creates clouds. When a rain cloud gets so full of water or mass, the water has to go somewhere and will break through the cloud and start to fall to the ground. To demonstrate this phenomenon on a preschool level, your child created a shaving cream cloud! As they poured or dripped the water over the shaving cream cloud, the blue water started to break through the foamy mass. Doing so enable your budding meteorologist to observe their cloud as it gained mass and altered its composition.

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An Abundance of Antonyms

Children first attempt writing by scribbling marks. Around age four or so, they begin to distinguish writing from drawing. But the role of letters as the “true” meaning-markers in writing can still confuse children up to six years of age. In fact, one of the hardest things young children do as emerging readers and writers is learn how to turn marks into real words. Learning to write is hard because it requires children to use several physical and mental processes at once. Their tiny hands have to grasp and control a writing tool. Their active minds must focus attention on making marks that express ideas. But hardest of all, they must follow certain rules to make the marks readable later on and understandable to others. For all of these reasons, we incorporate writing into our daily routine with a variety of different activities, that not only aim to foster their fine motor skills, but add to their understanding of how words work. For this activity, your little one went on a hunt for different items around the front yard. They selected four different elements and placed them onto a tray to observe with a magnifying glass. Each of these four components was selected because of their contrasting qualities. One was hard, one was soft, one was wet, and one was dry. Your little one was then directed to trace the words with marker, and divide their paper into four different sections. As a result, your little one further strengthened their ability to handle a writing utensil as they investigated the patterns between different words.

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