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.
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.
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 seven pictures of squash that were of varying length. They were then asked to sort them by size. The target words for this activity were long, longer, and longest.
Educators and child psychologists have long recommended gardening as a teaching tool.
In the early 1900’s Maria Montessori believed children could learn lessons in life by practical experience – for example, by making a garden.
Montessori’s theories of educating the young child are now common in most U.S. communities.
Through the studies of plants, children become aware of how people depend on plant life as the source of food, clothing, and shelter, as well as the aesthetic beauty inherent in both indoor and outdoor surroundings.
However, children can also learn that many plants, such as noxious weeds and poisonous plants, may be harmful. Others may be invasive or a nuisance to gardening.
In addition to viewing gardening as a learning experience, growing plants and working the soil is just plain fun!
If a child’s first gardening experiences reap success, chances are that their “green thumb” and enthusiasm will continue throughout life.
As part of our vegetables theme, we planted and then pulled carrots from the ground.
Students used their hand to grasp the stems. Then then used their words to describe what they saw.
Following this, they enjoyed a yummy snack of fresh carrots!
A planter is a farm implement, usually towed behind a tractor, that sows (plants) seeds in rows throughout a field.
It is connected to the tractor with a drawbar or a three-point hitch. Planters lay seeds down in precise manner along rows. Planters vary greatly in size, from 1 row to 54, with the biggest in the world being the 48-row John Deere DB120.
Such larger and newer planters comprise multiple modules called row units. The row units are spaced evenly along the planter at intervals that vary widely by crop and locale.
The most common row spacing in the United States today is 30 inches. Since we are learning all about farm machines this week, we decided to explore the fascinating world of planters.
With this activity, we used tractors to plant a variety of beans. Using clay as their soil, real (and fake) foliage, and their imaginations, students created a variety of different crops!
Early literacy plays a key role in enabling the kind of early learning experiences that research shows are linked with academic achievement, reduced grade retention, higher graduation rates and enhanced productivity in adult life.
Literacy development starts early in life and is highly correlated with school achievement. It is for these reasons that we are constantly exposing your little ones to prints of various kinds.
From writing out names with a pencil, to tracing letters in a sand tray, we are constantly engaging in pre-reading and pre-writing activities.
For this project, we went fishing for magnetic letters. These letters were placed in bins of corn kernels. Students had to dig out these letters with tweezers and place them onto word cards that spelled out the word C-O-R-N. While doing so, they were encouraged to talk about the shapes of the letters and the sounds they make!
Collaborative play, also known as social play and cooperative play, is a type of play that typically begins at around 2 years of age when young children are mature enough to begin taking turns with playmates, sharing playthings, following rules, and negotiating with others — for instance, offering a playmate their Superman toy for their playmate’s Winnie the Pooh toy.
The characteristics of collaborative play aren’t just niceties but those behaviors that show when a child is beginning to realize they aren’t the only person in the world.
This type of play teaches important social skills that help children grow during everyday play. In collaborative play, children solve a problem by working together to reach a common goal. Unlike competitive play that involves clear winners and losers, everybody wins in collaborative play. For this activity, one of your little ones was placed with a partner.
They then worked together to decide upon which “crop” to plant, using their tractors to loosen up the soil. Lastly, they were given seeds and navigated their tractors around their “crops” with their friends!
Barns can be used for sheltering animals, their feed and other supplies, farm machinery and farm products.
Barns are named according to their purpose, as hog barns, dairy barns, and tractor barns. The principal type in the United States is the general-purpose barn, used for housing horses and mules, cows, calves, and sheep and for storing hay and grain.
Although the need for the general barn declined with the advent of tractors and electrical service, one or more barns are still found on the majority of North American and European farms.
Many have been adapted to other uses. For this activity, we created our own animal farms out of hay, blocks and toy animals! Students participated in collaborative play with their friends, engaging in small world play!
Young children do not think in two dimensions.
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.
It is therefore imperative that they are given every opportunity to participate in their learning on three dimensions.
For this activity, we picked fruit from a three-dimensional tree!
The tactile experience of picking the fruit helps children develop a deeper understanding of where our fruit comes from!
Many children have problems learning the letters of the alphabet, especially when they are grouped together into words.
Since letter (and word) recognition depends on understanding a sequence of features, the best way to teach children the sequence of word-making is by guided practice.
Because of this, we partake in a variety of letter “games” that encourage your child to recognize, enunciate, and match the concept of a letter to its print form.
Young children learning letters need vivid, concrete language to understand the abstract component of the written word.
For this activity, we practiced placing toy fruit onto the letters in the word F-R-U-I-T.
Sorting is such an important early math. As adults, we sort all the time! We sort the mail into keep and trash.
We sort the laundry, the bills and the utensils in the drawer. Our brains sort bits of information into categories for easy retrieval.
Young children are just learning to sort when they start preschool. We always start with learning to sort by color and then move onto other sorting, such as sorting by beginning sounds, sorting by quantity, and sorting by pattern.
For this activity, we sorted vegetables by color. Using a Twister board and toy vegetables, we practiced our early skills by placing the vegetables on the appropriate color!
Visual-perceptual motor skills are an area of emphasis in our preschool classroom. These skills refer to children’s physical responses to visual stimulation.
Such skills are later used for activities such as reading from left to right or copying from the blackboard.
During our projects, I try to introduce activities that begin to challenge your little ones’ visual-perceptual performance skills.
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.
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.