A is for Ant- Emergent Writing Activities

Phonological awareness activities are activities that increase children’s awareness of the sounds of language.

antwrit1

These activities include playing games and listening to stories, poems, and songs that involve rhyme, alliteration, sound matching, and emergent writing.

antwrit2

Emergent writing encourages children to  emergent forms of writing, such as scribble writing, random letter strings, and invented spelling.

antwrit31

To enhance your children’s phonological awareness of the letter A (which we learned about Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday of last week), we participated in a variety of activities that supported this.

antwrit4

We inititally used tweezers and paper ants to create the letter A, and then we used playdoh to make the letter A.

aantwrit5

In addition to strengthening phonological awareness, these activities also supported their fine motor skills.

antwrit6

Advertisement

Worm Weaving

Weaving is such an excellent activity to try with preschoolers!

weave

Weaving not only promotes fine motor skills, but helps children learn how to create patterns and work through problems they may encounter while weaving.

weave2

It can also be a beautiful way for children to express themselves artistically. For this activity, we weaved worms into paper “soil” using orange and burgundy worms. Your little one weaved strips of paper through their “dirt”, to create a beautiful piece of worm art!

weave3

Monster Masks

Art activities stimulate the preschool child’s imagination and creativity, aiding their physical and mental development. Research has shown that art activities develop brain capacity in early childhood. Art engages children’s senses in open-ended play and supports the development of cognitive, social-emotional, and multi-sensory skills. For this activity, we created monster masks. As your child explored the materials (glue, paper eyes, and paper ovals), it was noticeable how involved they got creating masks. They delighted in applying the glue themselves. This experience enabled them to build important life skills. While creating this mask, we focused on the letter M, and the many words that begin with it.

20141015_104340

This activity also targeted specific fine motor skills, as your child glued and adhered pieces of paper to their creations. We introduced this activity by reading and discussing the book Go Away, Big Green Monster! by Ed Emberley. Following our discussion, students were informed that they would be creating their very own monsters.

20141015_104350

As a class, we brainstormed what our monsters might look like. How many eyes will they have? Will they have horns? Hair? Warts? What colors will they be? Each child was then given a pre-cut mask, and covered it in ovals. As a result, we learned that monsters do not have to be scary! By creating and proudly displaying their art, each student was able to access their own sense of individuality, self-respect, and an appreciation for others’ work.

 

 

Keyboards in “Kolor”

Instrumental music helps build important cognitive and motor skills which are just starting to develop in the young child. For example, left and right are concepts that are essential in life as well as the piano, and the keyboard is a fun way to demonstrate ideas like these (plus an endless array of other developmental tasks). Our piano classes are so fun, your little ones don’t even realize that they are learning!

20141007_103747

During circle time, we incorporate a color-coded teaching method that uses color-coded notes on a traditional music staff to teach beginning piano to our students!

20141007_103751

A color strip sits on the keys and guides the child to the correct key for each note.

20141007_103808 (1)

This method of teaching preschool music allows children to begin playing piano as soon as they know their colors. To acquaint your little one with the various colors and their associated fingers, we matched and inserted color-coated golf tees into a styrofoam “hand”.

20141007_103831

This reinforced that our thumb presses the red key, our index finger presses the orange, our middle finger presses the yellow key, the ring finger presses the green key, and the pinkie presses the blue key.

20141007_103836

Piano could, and should be the starting point of the music education beginning from the age of two years old, because the piano is considered to be the ‘king’ of all instruments.  Considering its advantages, we will continue to hone our musical skills on this most wonderful instrument.

L is for Longhouse

The Wampanoag tribe shared the first Thanksgiving feast with the Pilgrims. After arriving in Massachusetts, the Pilgrims were exhausted, following a two month voyage from England.

longhouse8

Being severely weakened, many pilgrims did not survive.  They were unfamiliar with the harsh weather of the New World and relied on the Wampanoag Indians to teach them the land.

longhouse7

This tribe combined bark and other plant materials to make their homes, called longhouses.  The inside of these longhouses had a dirt floor. The dirt permitted the use of a small fire to keep warm.

longhouse1

To convey the complex history of the Wampanoag Indians, we created our very own longhouses.

longhouse3

We first discussed the construction of the longhouse during circle time. Students then built two-dimensional longhouses out of craft sticks. Following, your little ones used flower foam, sticks, and wicker planters to create three-dimensional longhouse structures.

longhouse4

 

 

Burlap Teepees

Young children are fascinated by the many dwelling places of the various American Indian tribes, and love to recreate the things they learn through dramatic play.

tipi5

tipi4

What they enjoy more, however, is creating the materials that they use for the imaginary worlds they create. For this activity, we decorated teepees. Following their creation, your little one participated in small world dramatic play. Doing so contributes to their development in several ways.

tipi3

tipi2

For one thing, it helps them work together toward a common goal. As they played with their teepees, they combined their worlds. Working together  like this teaches teamwork, fuels creative thinking, and also exercises your little one’s ability to use make believe as a means to integrate the information they have been introduced to at school.

tipi1

Fine Motor Maize

When young children are using tweezers to pick up, manipulate, and sort materials – they are practicing their fine motor skills in the process. As they are continually exposed to activities that encourage this process, they are being prepared to write, type on a computer, throw and catch a ball, and open a door – the list is endless. Each experience strengthens the muscles that will eventually lay the foundation for higher learning. For this activity, we practiced tweezing kernels of dried corn and sorting them by color into ice cube trays.

ImageImageImageImage

Corn Begins with C

Young children need a variety of ways to learn about letters. Between the ages of three and five, your little one is just learning how to distinguish letters from shapes, identify the sounds they make, and are working on strengthening the tiny muscles in their hands.

corn

Using our large tweezers, magnetic letters, and kernels of corn, we searched for the letter C, and then placed the correct letter onto a mat with its match! This activity improved your little ones’ fine motor skills, encouraged hand-eye coordination, and fostered their ability to differentiate between items that are alike and different.

corn1

 

Parking Posts

Medieval residents did not enjoy the paved parking lots that we take for granted today. Horses were the preferred mode of transportation. As travelers shopped, visited friends, and went about their days, they would hitch their horses to posts. These were often adorned with varying colors to indicate class and wealth. The first component of this activity included decorating our “posts” with colorful pipe cleaners and yarn. Each child selected a variety of pipe cleaners that they were to “attach” to their preferred post. This fostered fine motor skills as it involved your little one twisting and fastening the pipe cleaner to make it adhere to the tree. The second component involved dramatic play. Here, your little one rode around on their own horses, exploring their medieval villages and parking their horses when they needed to rest. Dramatic play provides a host of social skills for your little one to practice. When they engage in pretend play, they exercise their negotiation and cooperation skills. They are encouraged to share and dictate roles. As they relate to one another, they foster their problem solving abilities and impulse control. Lastly, they learn to appreciate each actor’s role in the play. These all contribute to building important life skills.

Image

ImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImage

Cobblestone Roads

Cobblestone roads have been used to fulfill transportation needs since ancient times. They appealed to medieval residents because of their durability in harsh weather. Though they were poorly maintained, they provided an integral component to medieval life. To facilitate our understanding of what a cobblestone road is, we created our own! Using cardboard for our roads, glue, and wood pieces as our “stones”, your little one constructed their own version of a cobblestone road. By fabricating their own roads, your little one was applying their awareness of what a cobblestone road is, and how it functions. Doing this also enabled them to practice a variety of skills imperative to their educational repertoire. By manipulating the “stones” they were practicing physical and cognitive skills. As they arranged them within the scope of a predetermined shape, they were learning spatial skills, logical and mathematical skills. Lastly, it encouraged creative thinking on account of the planning that was involved.ImageImageImage