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We’re Enjoying Going Outside!

March 29, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Bitter cold February has finally left us and we’re able to go outside! We were really excited to get outside more than we have been able to recently. While we still managed to get active, large muscle play into each day, nothing beats some fresh air and plenty of room to run!

Children immediately asked for the shovels, big and small, and they began to dig into the mounds of snow that line our sidewalk.  We shoveled the path to our climber, allowing children who are still getting used to moving around in snow pants and boots to access the snowy parts of our playground.  Saeko and Alexandra climbed up and down the climber and went down the slide.  Nick and Rehan trudged through the snow to get to hidden items like the tunnel and glider.

With it being warmer, we were able to dig out toys that were previously frozen.  Caroline and Yazan explored the cars, problem solving getting in and out of them with their bulky winter gear on. Ryan, Nick, and Caroline pushed lawnmowers, strollers, and shopping carts across the sidewalk, maneuvering around ice chunks that they smashed on the ground. We’ve even tried sledding. The icy snow made the sled go super fast!

Now that spring has officially arrived we are so happy to explore the playground! Enjoy the photos!

 

 

Markers, paints, and play dough, oh my!

February 4, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

The art area of our classroom has been very busy in the last couple weeks! From drawing with crayons and markers, to painting, to molding play dough, the children have been busy making creations of their own.

When working with markers, crayons and pens, the children use both individual pieces of paper to make works of their own, along with paper that covers the entire table that supports collaboration with others.  Our younger toddlers who are working on developing their small muscle skills, enjoy the large paper. It allows them to draw with both their large and small muscles.  We encourage them to talk about what they are writing or drawing. We also talk to them about what we write.  The skills they develop when using crayons and markers at this age are skills that are important foundation skills for future formal learning. They develop their pencil grip, move from scribbling to making discrete marks with their writing tool.

When we encourage them to describe what they are drawing, they learn to associate oral language with writing. They often watch us writing our daily notes and want to participate.  At home, you can give them an opportunity to write alongside you, whether you make shopping lists together or give them paper to work on while you do work. We encourage their art-making and writing by placing value on them. We hang their art around the classroom, both up high on our bulletin boards and down at their level.  At home, you could place drawings on the refrigerator next to important family materials.

They enjoy more hands-on manipulating materials, such as play dough and moon sand, as well.  They squish, mold, and flatten with their hands along with learning to use tools.  Kitchen tools are a fun addition to typical play dough tools, like cookie cutters, rolling pins, plates and forks.  They explore with the tools to figure out what different things they can do and different marks they can make. You could offer these materials, or any other tools you have available, with the play dough you received as your holiday gift.

These activities really keep our children engaged. They learn so much while exploring tools and materials and problem solving different ways to use them.

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Infants Explore Treasure Baskets in Small Group

December 10, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Our infants manipulated and explored treasure baskets during small group time today.  Each of them were given a basket containing a tennis ball tube and clothespins.  They each explored their basket in their own way. Nadia carefully removed a clothespin, then held it in front of her face, examining it.  She then brought it to her mouth and explored it that way for a while.  Elijah tipped his basket over and grabbed both the tube and a clothespin that had fallen out.  He used trial and error when trying to figure out how to get the clothespin into the container, he would put his whole hand in while holding the pin, and really had to work hard to figure out how to open his hand to let it drop.  Zeb picked up his whole basket, and spilled it on to his lap.  He mouthed the tube while he rolled onto his side.  He dropped the tube when he saw the clothespins and grabbed one in each hand and mouthed them. He also explored the basket, pulling the handles with each hand and tossing it, then scooting after it. They all noticed and watched what the other children were doing. They also watched me as I explored my own set of materials.  These sorts of simple materials allow the children to practice their small muscle skills, to experiment with scientific concepts like experimenting and predicting and with building relationships with other children. Enjoy the photos!

 

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