Children Must Play!

So much research has been done on the benefits of play to the development of young children. It stimulates their creativity, math and reasoning skills, artistic and scientific thought, social interactions, and linguistic abilities. On the NAEYC website, there is a collection of articles on play-based learning and why it is so important to development in young children (this may also be a good resource to share information with families in your care).

So, as an early childhood educator, I am just supposed to watch them play? Wrong!

We are there to provide play-based opportunities to learn and that is where Mother Goose Time comes in. We are so thankful for a curriculum that looks at the whole child and provides the framework for learning with so much freedom. With a new theme each month, our classrooms rotate books, games, puzzles, and toys to meet the theme. After 4 weeks of playing with and reading those, they are ready for something new. But, how do we decide what to put out on the shelves? Mother Goose Time to the rescue again!

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Mother Goose Time has developed Experience Play Toy Boxes that can be added to the curriculum subscription. At this point in the life of our program, we have a number of these suggested items already, but we use this part of the MGT website as a resource to see what we should pull from our collection. That usually leads us to more ideas of things we can add, since we have 5 classrooms in which to provide.

For the Month of February 2019, our theme is Health and Fitness. Our toys, games, and books are all centered around being active and healthy.

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Mother Goose Time also provides a Recommended Book List under their Member Resources. We use this to collect books from our own bookshelves, as well as the public library. The children are always so excited to check out all the new books when we begin a unit.screenshot 2019-01-28 at 1.04.57 pm

Here are some things that will be on our classroom shelves this month in addition to the MGT suggestions above!

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The Beetles

No, not the band… the kind you might see if you go on a Safari!

Today was all about Beetles and our children were so intrigued with the Beetle Design poster that came with our Invitation to Create.

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Our preschool class was able to cut out and decorate their Beetles with glitter glue, sequins and gems.

For our Littles, their teacher drew a simple leaf on a piece of green paper, and they used Do-A-Dot markers to make their beetles. We counted them and will add legs when they are dry later, but it was a simple and fun activity, given that we didn’t have much class time due to the beautiful sunshine outside. 🙂

We essentially combined two activities from the Little Goose Lesson plan book. We love that Mother Goose Time is comprehensive , and flexible at the same time.50924313_10156126785451527_3647671769797492736_n50735985_10156126785366527_7197623786546397184_n

 

 

 

And just for some added cuteness, take a peak at the sweet Elephants our infant class made! I googled “Elephant Drawing”, and printed a simple one. Then I traced everything but the ears, and copied enough for each child. We made the footprints on another piece of paper and then put it all together. Sometimes art creations are just as much fun for the teachers as they are for the kids!

Thanks to Mother Goose Time for all the fun we have had “Going on Safari” in the month of January!51014156_10156126785721527_2140065522220269568_n

Safari So Good!

We are halfway through our January “Going on Safari” unit with Mother Goose Time and we have been having so much fun! The children are loving learning about the different animals and cultural traditions from a different part of the world. We have five different classrooms at our school, ranging in ages from 12 weeks to 5 years, and we really enjoy seeing how the different classrooms use the Mother Goose Time curriculum. Here are just a few highlights from this week!hm_collage_mini_magick20190112-4-je27fa.jpg

Our Pre-K class has set up their sensory table with a safari land of their own, complete with a watering hole, grasslands, and the animals that Mother Goose Time sent us this month! It is so fun to see the children use their imaginations at the sensory table. This brought up a great discussion about what animals eat, and how they survive in that type of habitat.

Our classes have been having a lot of fun with Dramatic play this month. We used large cardboard boxes to make Safari Jeeps. We have had fun pretending to be driving around looking for animals. We cut out windows and a sunroof and taped the edges so that they weren’t sharp. It is fun to hear about all of the fun adventures that they go on with their Jeep! All you need is a big cardboard box to be able to create a fun dramatic play experience!

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Our Wobbler classroom painted their very own giraffe! Their teacher drew a giraffe on a big piece of paper, taped it to the floor, and our Wobblers had fun dancing on the blank canvas before they began painting. Some of them jumped right in and started painting, while some observed before deciding they wanted to try it too. It is hard to tell if they had more paint on themselves, or the giraffe, but messy art is fun art!

 

Our Infants made lion masks out of paper plates and craft sticks! This was a new experience for our little ones and I think they liked it!

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Mother Goose Time provides so many fun avenues for authentic learning and fun for all of our children, and the teachers like it too!

“S” is for Super!

This week in “Going on Safari” with Mother Goose Time, we are focusing on the letter S. During circle time we came up with a list of words that start with the letter S, like we do with each of our focus letters. This is the longest list our Pre-K class has made so far this year! They discovered that there are plenty of words that start with the letter S.  It is a great way to practice those letter sounds, because when they say a word they have to hear the correct sound that we are looking for. If their word doesn’t start off with the sound we are looking for, they get to try again.

Today we took an outline of the letter S (found in the Mother Goose Time Member Resources), traced over the outline, and played a game spelling the sight words for the letter S – sock, sun, and snake.

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We filled the pocket cube with the three pictures and words that came in our Daily Kit for the letter S, and we took turns rolling the cube. Once the cube was rolled they said what word they landed on – or what the picture was. We then spelled the word out loud together. They wrote the word that they landed on inside their letter S. If they landed on a picture then they had to find the correct word to spell it. We practiced sounding out the words as we were spelling them. The trickiest part of this activity seemed to be writing the letter S the right direction (we will keep practicing!).
We kept going around the circle until everyone had each word written once. If we had more time, to practice further, we would keep going until all of the words were written a couple of times.

This activity is a great way to practice those fine motor skills, sounding out words, letter and word recognition, and writing our words smaller. These are big skills to be working on as we prepare for Kindergarten. We focused on writing our words from left to right and keeping our letters close together so that it was all part of one word. They all did a great job and we will be putting these into their portfolios as a writing sample for January. It is amazing the growth in just a few short months with Mother Goose Time!

“Passports”

Today is our first day back from Winter Break and we were excited to come back to a new unit! We kicked off the new unit, “Going on Safari” (MGT January 2019), with Lesson 1- Passport. Take a look at all the fun that MGT has laid out in the Teacher Guide! Our Daily kit included a new rubber stamp, a kid-friendly world map, Safari themed name tags, Pocket cube cards, a passport for each child, and so much more!49181236_641817706237738_4175799189239758848_n.jpgWe started off by everyone signing in for the day, followed by our name tags. The children love choosing their name tag for the month – there are always fun designs! We talked about when they might sign their name, as prompted in the Mother Goose Time Teacher Guide. The children said they would sign their name on projects so that they know who’s project it is. In Pre-K, we have them practice writing their name on their work so that they are in that routine for kindergarten. Signing in for the day is a great way to practice writing their name.

At circle time we talked about passports, and when we would use one. We started the Passport Stamp activity by reviewing the World Map that Mother Goose Time sent us.

The children had fun exploring the different things on the map. They shared what they saw and we talked about the different oceans. We named each continent and what color it was. We then opened up our Passports and matched the continents in our passport to the continent on the map. 49571352_629467547470670_8079008984729649152_nThey took turns matching, and once everyone agreed that the continents matched, they stamped their passports. This was a fun activity to review colors, shapes (matching the outline of the continent in their passport to the one on the map), and a great opportunity to talk about the oceans, and what parts of the world may be warm or cold (South America is warmer, Antarctica is cold). We talked about the Pacific Ocean (our ocean), and how it is colder where we are, but warm in Hawaii.

 

 

The Continent Toss game was just as fun. Once they rolled the cube to land a continent, they found that same continent on the map and told us what color it was, and what continent they thought it was. The World Map that Mother Goose Time sends us is very kid friendly and easy to read, and they love all of the pictures that are on the map!

Stay tuned for more Safari adventures with Mother Goose Time this month!