Polar Express Day- A Holiday Tradition!

aec.whv38954dvd_0It has become a Holiday tradition that the day before Winter Break is “Polar Express Day”. The children wear their pajamas to school and we watch the movie, complete with hot chocolate and popcorn. To start of the festivities, we do a book exchange. Each child brings the gift of a book for another child in his/her class, and we exchange our gifts before we start the movie. Our children get so excited about giving

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Next up is movie time! Like all little people, sitting still through an entire movie is not a reality, so we look to Mother Goose Time for some fun activities to have available for those that need to keep their hands busy. We looked ahead in our Teacher Guide and Daily kits to find some activities that matched up nicely for the occasion.48387804_10156054318126527_6811048825503875072_o.jpg

We made the best type of sugar and calorie free cookies- Art!
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In this activity, children got to decorate pretend cookies. They had so much fun with the colored sprinkles and “frosting”. It was interested how the sprinkles turned the frosting different colors.

48405536_10156052303871527_5946514622268833792_nWe had some leftover gingerbread scented play dough and the children have really enjoyed it with festive cookie cutters. We love the MGT STEAM ideas!

Simple and sweet- the children enjoyed these patterned cards and it made for a simple activity they could do independently during the movie.

The Stocking Station was very popular. The children decorated their stockings with the materials available and then sewed them together with white yarn. These turned out so cute and were the perfect task for the occasion.  We are so thankful for Mother Goose Time kits that have the materials we need, all cut out, and enough for everyone!

From all of us at Wonder Early Learning Center, Happy Holidays! Thank you for sharing your journey with all of us!49017895_10156059412671527_8759714730815258624_nHere are just a few more pictures from our celebration!

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Winter Days and Winter Nights

Since we are closed next week for our Winter Break, we are doubling up on our lessons this week, and we are doing a little rearranging too to fit it all in. Today we decided to talk about Winter Days and Winter Nights (lessons 19 & 20 in Dec. “Sights and Sounds”- Mother Goose Time). These two lessons paired perfectly and we really enjoyed our activity time together. Mother Goose Time comes complete for each day, but offers a lot of flexibility and creativity for our teachers as well.48377723_10156050642891527_3856800071106428928_n.jpg

Our Pre-K class set up the following stations to explore today: Winter Diorama, Winter Postcard, Night Sight, and Winter Solstice.48382334_10156050643041527_7794692882857721856_n

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We love that Mother Goose Time includes STEAM  Station ideas in the front of the teacher lesson plan book. We set up our Winter Diorama today. We used the foil to create the ‘ice’ and cotton balls to create the snow. The children have loved playing with our winter animals this month, but it was even more fun having this winter scene set up for them. During the Winter Diorama activity we talked about what animals we see in the winter and why their fur gets thicker, along with other ways they might stay warm when it is cold out.

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For the postcards, we talked about what sounds we hear in the winter and what some of their favorite sights are. Many children said they like hearing the birds singing, and one of their favorite sights of winter were snowmen! They explained what was on their postcard and we wrote it on the back after deciding who they wanted to send their postcard to.

The children loved the Night Sight activity. We started this activity by reviewing the letters b, c and r (our focus letters for this month) and we put the letter cards in the pocket cube. We practiced the letter sounds and talked about what sound ‘a’ and ‘t’ make when they are next to each other, the “at” family. They took turns rolling the cube and if they landed on a letter, they said what letter it was, what sound it makes, and then placed it on the owl to complete the word. If they rolled a picture they told us what the picture was, and then found the letter that made the same sound they heard in the word when they told us what the picture was. We love that Mother Goose Time adds a “simplify” or “challenge” option in some of their activities. We challenged the children today to say each letter sound in the word to show them how we sound out words as we read.

The Winter Solstice activity was also fun. They worked together to line up the strips from shortest to longest, and vice versa. They recognized that when they lined up the strips they made a pyramid or the shape of a Christmas Tree.

We ended our class time by gathering together to read a story. We read “Goodbye Autumn, Hello Winter”. 48405517_349503999184291_6900411143425097728_n.jpgAs we read, we took the opportunity to talk about the seasons, what is different about each season, and how we know winter is approaching (it gets colder, it gets dark earlier, etc.). This story was a great way to end our lessons on Winter Days and Winter Nights.

 

For more information about Mother Goose Time, head on over to their website at https://www.mothergoosetime.com/

 

Making Tracks

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We had so much fun making Animal Tracks! (Week 2, Lesson 6 in the MGT “Sights and Sounds” unit). At circle time we started off by reading “Big Tracks, Little Tracks (Following Animal Prints)”.20181212_115650.jpg 

 

 

 

 

 

In this story we learned how to identify different tracks – which was a great way to lead up to our art activity.

During our Invitation to Create, the children made “Snow Tracks” by recreating different animal prints using a Q-Tip, white paint, and blue paper. Everyone got their own track guide (included in our Daily kit from MGT), and they decided what tracks they wanted to make on their paper.

We talked about what they noticed about the tracks that were in the Inspiration Photo and the tracks that were on their guide.

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We talked about the different ways we can make tracks, and their similarities and differences. During the Community Challenge activity, Community Tracks, we took a big piece of paper and used our fingers, hands, and fists to make different tracks on the paper. It was fun to see how everyone decided to make their tracks. We talked about other ways we can make tracks (in sand, mud, etc.) other than the snow, which, where we are, we don’t see too much of.

20181212_120921 (1).jpgOur Pre-K class is doing a snowflake kindness lesson along with the other winter activities we are doing this month. Everyone has a poster saying “Snowflakes of Kindness Create a Blizzard of Happiness.” Everybody is adding a snowflake to everyone’s poster, saying something kind to each friend. The children will get to keep their poster with all of the nice things their classmates have said about them. It is easy for children to say “You’re not my friend,” but at school we try really hard to reinforce that we are all friends, we teach them to use their words or talk to a teacher instead of being physical, and we teach them to work together, so this snowflake project is giving everyone a chance to think about each friend in their class, and say something kind about them. It is so fun to see a smile on each child’s face because one of their classmates said something kind to them!

To round out our lesson on Animal Tracks, Mother Goose Time included a Participation Story and a game that the children really enjoyed.

We love that our lessons come so complete and cover a number of content areas and standards in a short amount of time. We are able to expand upon them, or take them as they are, and our day is complete!

For more information about Mother Goose Time, please visit their website at https://www.mothergoosetime.com/

Learning to Blow Out

It may sound silly, but blowing out is a skill! When can a child successfully blow out a candle or blow their nose? To learn about musical instruments that require air to make a sound, we must first learn to blow out.

47573747_10156026595701527_5798867218729009152_nIn the first week of our December “Sights and Sounds” unit with Mother Goose Time, we have been learning all about different families of instruments. On Day 2, we focused on Woodwinds and then Day 3 was all about Horns. Both of these types of instruments require air to make a sound, and while we can’t teach our small children to play these just yet, we had so much fun pretending as we learned to blow out.

For our younger children, just blowing out was really tricky. We asked them to put their hand in front of their mouth to feel the air moving. Then we tried blowing some bubbles.

Then we used our air to have pom pom races! This was a lot of fun and they loved seeing how far their pom pom could move. (This activity was on Day 3, but we liked it so much fun, we did it both days). The older children took it a step further with tape lines on the floor to see if they could blow it short or long, and making the pom pom move in different directions.

We used our breathe to create art. We used straws to move paint across the paper and the designs were so surprising.

Mother Goose Time even provided some bright yellow frames which turned these splatter paintings into masterpieces.

Blowing air out of our nose or mouth is a new skill. We can blow on soup to help it cool, blow out our birthday candles, and blow our noses (still working on that one). This becomes mindfulness when we practice taking deep breaths, and then blowing away our feelings of sadness, frustration, anger, etc. Not only was it fun to have pom pom races, blow bubbles and make art with our breath, but it is a really important skill to have.

Who knew simple air could be so fun!

 

Parent Involvement with Mother Goose Time

We are so blessed to have found this curriculum company eight years ago! This program is very complete and aims to not only meet the academic needs of the children, and the ease of implementation for the teachers, but then it goes one step further to communicate with parents the what’s and why’s of our day together. We are very excited about Mother Goose Time and there are so many ways that the MGT program communicates with parents, we thought it might be easier to share in a video.

For more information about the Mother Goose Time curriculum programs and all they have to offer, please visit their website at https://www.mothergoosetime.com/

Happy Learning!

Software Savior

Gone are the days of paper Daily Notes! It is so time consuming to write on each child’s paper what they had for snack or what we did that day. And then after all that handwriting, the parents left it in the parent pocket anyway, because their hands were too full of artwork and belongings. This generation of parents craves pictures, details and instant feedback about their child’s day.

We use an app called HiMama to help us communicate with parents. The teachers can quickly upload information to a single child’s report, or to their class at the touch of a button. Screenshot 2018-12-05 at 9.45.08 AMThey get daily reports filled with pictures, notes, and even what they had for snack. The reports can also include the child’s mood, how long they napped, and any supplies that they may need. The reports automatically get emailed to the parents every night, or can be sent immediately when the child is checked out. Several parents use the reports to talk to their children about their day. The children love looking at the pictures from the day and telling their parents about what they did. Here is an example from the second day of our “Sights and Sounds of Winter” unit (December 2018 with Mother Goose Time)

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One parent has said that sometimes her child explains what they did exactly how it is written in the report (yes, they really do listen!) And for those that say they cannot remember what they did, the report is there to show the parents exactly what their child did that day.

HiMama also allows us to keep track of where the children and teachers are (classroom, playground, bathroom, etc.) which helps us keep track of ratios and it makes totally hours for payroll much faster. 🙂Screenshot 2018-12-05 at 9.57.03 AMWe can use HiMama to send important emails either to an individual child, one classroom at a time, or the whole center. The parents can email their child’s classroom directly, making for a great way to communicate in the event that we do not catch them at drop off or pick up due to busy schedules. Parents can check in throughout the day to see pictures or details that may have been posted. (We do warn parents, however, that just because they don’t see anything yet, doesn’t mean it didn’t happen- it just means the teachers are busy with the children and they will post when they have a free moment.)

We have the menu posted for parents to view so that they know what their children are eating. Some parents use this for lunch packing ideas because if their child has it for snack and ate it, that may be something they might also eat from home.Screenshot 2018-12-05 at 9.41.51 AM

The calendar for the year is also posted, allowing for parents to keep track of any important things coming up. Screenshot 2018-12-05 at 9.43.27 AMWe have been very happy with HiMama, and so have our families. Being able to document and report important details and all the sweet moments that occur throughout our days together is such an asset to our program.