Friday, August 22, 2014

Teacher In-Service Preparation

August 4-August 15, 2013

For the past two weeks, the Utopia teaching team has been hard at work preparing the classroom environment for the 2014-2015 school year! The teachers organized and cleaned the classroom, labeled each child’s personal areas (cubbies, mailboxes, extra clothes, etc.), prepared for the new children joining our class, and restocked and organized the various learning areas. In addition to the work in the classroom, the staff took a training focused on positive guidance and discipline, attended a welcome back workshop provided by Preschool For All (PFA), and participated in a Project Approach curriculum workshop.
During the Project Approach curriculum workshop, our PFA Coach, Betty, challenged the staff to think of new ways to engage the children in our classroom. As part of the training, the staff discussed a project about birds and participated in activities that would allow them to have a better understanding about birds and their nests. Stephanie, Maria, and Nicole were asked to look carefully at several different types of nests and to create observational drawings of one nest. Meanwhile, Rachelle, Michelle, Jenny and Winnie, were provided with a wide variety of materials (sticks, twigs, yarn, wax, glue, and paper) and were asked to create their own birds’ nests. After the activity, the staff reflected on their experiences and discussed their ideas about implementing similar activities in the classroom. The staff had several insights about how to support each child’s learning in the classroom environment, while challenging children to go deeper with their learning.

As teachers, we are constantly learning and growing in an effort to provide the most supportive and engaging environment possible for your children. The in-service time was invaluable and will help the staff effectively support your children in our rich classroom environment!

Play Dough

August 18-22, 2014

      The school year is off to a great start! The children have been exploring their classroom and becoming familiar with the different activities surrounding them. As they explore, many have made their way over to the play dough table! This is a great activity for children to bond with others and create friendships with their new classmates.

Play dough is a great tool for children to expand on their pretend play and expressive language skills while they interact with each other. During this activity, some children have been working together on “baking pies”, which has triggered multiple conversations on fruit (ex. What each fruit looks like, what color they are, where they grow, which ones we have in our playground, etc.)

This activity is also a great way for children to strengthen their fine motor skills, which helps prepare and develop their muscles used for writing and manipulating smaller objects. The play dough table also creates many opportunities for comparing sizes, measuring, recognizing shapes, and recognizing physical characteristics (smooth, bumpy, ruff, etc.)