Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Fire Safety Visit

     Saoirse’s dad, Kevin, is a fire fighter in our community and we were lucky enough to have him visit our classroom. He gave the children an informative presentation about fire safety and the kids loved it! He put on his mask, helmet, jacket, boots and tank for the kids to see, and talked through his mask so that the kids would know what a fire fighter sounds like during a real fire. Kevin also informed the kids what to do if there is a fire at home and how to keep themselves safe in an emergency.

The children had a wide variety of questions and comments about fire fighters and fire safety. This activity promotes safety, language development, listening skills, and awareness of community “helpers” (fire fighters, police officers, etc.).

Ariana: “Oh my gosh! Where are you going?”
Colin: “Ooooooh! Where a fire truck?”
Kaden: “ If you have a fire in your house you say, “Here! I’m over here!”
Collin: “Make sure my mommy and daddy are ok.”
Saoirse: “The stove is hot.”
Rorey: “I have a fire fighter suit at my home.”
Blake: “Lightening is hot!”
Abby: “If you are on fire, you stop, drop, and roll.”
Ariana: “I had a fire drill at my home and I run to the car and then back home and then to sleep and then to school.”

Hula Hoops!!!

    Our class has been exploring numerous ways of using hula hoops! Many children have been using the hoops to build patterns similar to hopscotch, then forming a line, and hopping through the hoops. This activity gives a great opportunity for children to practice their leadership skills, as well as problem solving conflicts within the group and strategic placement of the hoops. The children express their ideas to each other and compromise to produce something they all can enjoy.

    While some children are building with the hula hoops, others are using them in a more traditional way (spinning them around their waist). This is a great form of exercise and strengthening gross motor skills. To some, hula hooping is a natural talent, where as others need a little more practice. Some kids took this as an opportunity to take a leadership role and to show others how to hula hoop. We’ve also practicing math skills by counting how many spins we can get and sometimes writing them down. This is a fun activity for the class to practice writing their names and numbers!

                                               Learning Through Water!

     Water play creates ideal opportunity for children to practice and master a variety of skills. Here are some examples on how water play enhances preschool education.

      Many children enjoy adding water to the sandbox area. This allows children to use their creativity to build castles, make “soup”, volcanoes, etc. Some skills practiced during this time are expressive language, cooperative play with classmates, problem solving, and measurement. It also is an ideal time for children to build and expand on their social interactions and building friendships.

   Water is also a fun way to practice writing letters, numbers, and shapes. Recently some of the class has been using water and brushes to paint! Some children painted pictures on the floors and walls outside, while others may be writing their names or other letter and numbers.

     Water play outside is also a time when many show off their pretend play skills by watering the plants, washing the bikes, or cleaning the house.

Our little scientists are also extremely interested in exploring water and the different forms it comes in! Some may explore water by pouring it on the ground and watching where it runs. Sometimes it makes little rivers, which is an ideal time to practice counting or talk about why the water is running in a certain direction.

      We’ve also been exploring water with ice! The teachers made ice in varying sizes and colors along with animals or other toys frozen inside. The varying size and colors create opportunities to learn about classification. The children may sort the ice based on sizes/colors or practice identifying small, medium, large, red, blue, green, etc. The teachers freeze the toys in ice to create a situation for the children to explore different techniques on how to melt the ice to get the toys out. Some children try to melt the ice by holding it in their hands, others pour the cold water on the ice, whereas some ask for warm water. This is a great time for children to work together and explore as a class!


Clay Exploration
        Before working with the clay, I asked the children to examine it and describe what it looks and feels like:
Collin: “Hard”
Ryan: “Cold”
Daisy: “Sticky”
Anya: “Soft”
Kaden: “Gray like cement.”
       I followed with another question about the different ways we can use our fingers and hands to work with clay. As each child began to explore, I saw some children pinch small pieces of clay, grab and twist chunks of clay, flatten it using the palms of their hands and use one or more fingers to poke holes in the clay. The children in their excitement shared their discoveries with each other at the table.
Collin: “I made a sculpture.” (Pinching small pieces of clay and balancing them on top of each other)
Linette: “What is a sculpture?”
Collin: “Like a statue.”
       After 15 minutes of working with the dry clay, I introduced spray bottles filled with water and asked the same question.
Linette: “What does the clay feel like when it’s wet?”
Mairead: “Slippery!”
Daisy: “Squishy”
Collin: “Soft”
Ariana: “It smells funny.”
       After giving the children a few weeks to work with dry and wet clay, we decided to start saving their clay sculptures. Through discussions about our discoveries and sharing creative ideas at the table, the children have made imaginative clay sculptures and stories to go along with it.
       We are in the process of painting them and can’t wait to put their creative clay figurines on display.

                    Exploring the Stained Glass Windows in the Church 
    This month on our walk to the church we discovered the art of stained glass windows! As we walked throughout the church we found all kinds of beautiful windows. As the children observed the unique designs and patterns, we talked about the different sizes, colors, and shapes. We also discussed what we thought some of the designs resembled.

     Once we returned to class the children had an opportunity to make a pictured similar to the stained glass they had just seen! The teachers provided the class with colored construction paper, tissue paper, paint brushes, and watered down vinegar. After the children chose the tissue paper for their design, they painted them on with the vinegar solution to imprint the color on their paper.