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!
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!
A combine harvester, or combine, is the tool of choice for harvesting corn and other grains.
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.
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.
To help us understand this amazing machine, we combine tractors and corn kernels to harvest corn!
With their friends, your little one moved corn around sensory tubs, laughing as they planted their “crops.”
Children who are encouraged to write with a variety of utensils at an early age will later learn to execute their fine motor skills more easily, more effectively, and with greater confidence than children who do not have this encouragement. Though the mastery of one’s fine motor skills take time, they can be practiced and developed throughout the course of one’s preschool experience.
Occupational therapists agree that the tripod grasp is the preferred mode of writing in the latent preschool years and into middle childhood. This grasp provides the most control of a pencil. To refine the muscles required for this grasp, we practiced dabbing spots onto construction paper that resembled corn.