With the aid of colorful illustrations (including googly eyes) we discussed what it means to add something to an object. In this case, there were two paper sea creatures.
Underneath each creature was a number. Between each creature was a “plus” sign.
A class discussion was then initiated as a means to relay the meaning of this exciting symbol.
We then added a counting element to this activity. Using googly eyes, we practiced adding them to our marine friends. Using real life items illustrates this complicated concept for young children, and enables them to make connections not allotted by simply using a paper and pencil.
Manipulating colorful materials also provides instant feedback, which enables students to create meaningful connections between a concept and its application to real world situations.
Though preschoolers are unable to yet read, there are several activities they can partake in that promote literacy.
One of these activities is recognizing letters.
To encourage focus, and promote an experience that will facilitate their pre-reading skills, your little one played a matching game.
For this activity, your little matched upper and lowercase letters (placed on plastic crabs) with letter stickers on a piece of paper, and paired each one with it’s match.
I am very excited to talk about our adventures in math! By using googly eyes and paper cut-outs of sea creatures, we had the opportunity to practice our counting and number recognition. For the activity, each participant was given googly eyes and sea creatures with various numbers written on them.
They then placed the correct number of googly eyes on the paper, counting as they did so. After this, we talked about what the various numbers looked like. How “1” has a straight line like a pole, how “2” looks like a seahorse, and how “3” looks like bear ears. By counting, young children gain an understanding of concrete relationships. As they coordinate the counting with the adding of the eyes, your students learn that each object gets one number.
In gaining insight of concrete relationships, they further their comprehension that things can be given many different labels, and still have the same meaning. Preschoolers also need experiences to relay the meaning of symbols. They may look at a number on a piece of paper, but not make the association between that number and an amount. By providing the opportunity to see the number and count actual three dimensional objects, students participate in an effective developmental experience.
Butterflies do not obtain their nutritional needs through traditional means.
They possess a long, narrow tube in their mouth called a proboscis that acts as a straw for drinking.
The most common form of acquiring nutrients is by gathering nectar from flowers.
Using their proboscis, they suck the nectar out of the flower.
To help you little one understand how this works, we created our very own nectar with sugar and water.
We then used straws to enjoy to our delicious treat!
Young children are able to grasp new information more readily when they are able to recreate what they are learning.
Ant hills are an impressive feature of the grasslands throughout the United States.
In some areas, many hundreds of these mounds form wonderful ant-created landscapes, many decades or even centuries old.
Each ant hill is the result of many lifetimes of labor by thousands of tiny ants.
Ant hills are of great ecological importance, and so we created our very own!
Using popsicle stick ants, rocks, sticks, and sand, we created our very own ant hills!
Insects and other small animals are a key part in any food chain, a subject your students will study in elementary science.
Knowing about them and having respect for insects now will help them better appreciate insects’ importance later.
Every garden offers children a rich, sensory playground, full of interesting things to discover and learn about.
There’s a whole lot of science happening right before their eyes.
The garden can also be a place to develop math and literacy skills, as the outdoors offers up plenty of invitations to count seeds and learn new plant names.
The garden classroom is a place where plants grow, and where children grow too. For this activity, we used soil, seeds, shovels, plant labels (toothpicks with pictures on them), and our imaginations to create our very own garden!
Students worked together to create their very own masterpiece of flowers. oranges. cucumbers, and other exciting foliage to help them be the best gardeners they could be!
When your little ones came to school for this activity, they found worms on the water table for some viewing. I propped the lid up onto the water table and sprinkled it with soil and plastic worms.
Students used magnifying glasses to watch the wiggly worms and large tweezers to observe them more closely. We then used small notebooks to make observations about what they looked like. First, we talked about their segmented bodies. Then we sang a song called W is for Willy, Who Is a Worm.
Following that, we practiced our observation skills by posing the worms in various positions that we thought may help them eat, sleep, and wriggle around. Some children created little hills for them, others placed them underneath the dirt, and others thought they would enjoy going inside the water table.
Through observation and documentation (recording what they see), your child is learning to make associations and differentiate between how things look and act.
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.
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.
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.
Running, jumping, throwing, climbing, and running – and all kinds of active play – are very important for young children’s development. Young children are not only strengthening their muscles and improving their coordination when they engage in physical play; every game and physical activity is a chance to learn concepts and to practice getting along with others. To incorporate these skills into our curriculum, we looked at it’s connection to music.
Music involves both the large and small muscles of the body. Music also includes a cognitive component that is significant to your child’s growing critical thinking skills. Incorporating and facilitating musical development through planned opportunities for play enables your little one to integrate these gross motor skills with their budding sense of melodic awareness (the cognitive component).
For this activity, one child would play one of three notes (C, D or E), while a second child would listen. Once they heard that tone, they discriminated between the three different notes. After their selection was chosen, they tossed a bean bag onto a musical staff with pre-drawn notes in red, orange, and yellow.
As a result of this activity, students were able to collaborate and work on positive social skills. Through listening, they were able to access their ability to process linguistic cues and body language, as they experienced the benefits of working together toward a common goal.
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!
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!
A color strip sits on the keys and guides the child to the correct key for each note.
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”.
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.
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.