Our Nature Family Night

We love nature! Now that the weather is nicer, we have been enjoying the outdoors even more.
We recently hosted our June Family Night, and we all met at the park for a picnic and a nature scavenger hunt. We had a great turnout, and we all had a blast! It is important to teach children about nature and how to respect animals in their habitat. As part of our Alphabet House theme (Mother Goose Time- June) we have learned about all types of homes, including habitats for animals. During the scavenger hunt we searched for different things in nature such as spider webs, leaves, animal footprints and ants. We talked about where animals might build their homes and what they might use. After our scavenger hunt the children enjoyed Otter Pops and playground time, of course.

If you host family nights, consider planning a picnic in the park with your families and get everyone outside. This summer take your children out for a nature walk. Talk about where they might find a spiderweb, and search for different birds. Look for different shapes in the clouds with them. It is important to get out and enjoy the fresh air!

Scavenger-Hunt-Nature-Walk (3)

 

Advertisements

Diversity

We love to have discussions about our “Daily Topic” during circle time. For the ‘Beans’ topic (week 4, lesson 18 in the “Growing Gardens” Teacher Guide) we tied in a diversity discussion with our Math. We went around the circle and compared each other’s differences and similarities. We talked about the different clothing everyone was wearing, how tall we are, and what our hair color is. The children enjoyed comparing their color of socks and would point out who had the same colors and who’s were different. We emphasized how wonderful it was that we were the same and different!

33124381_10211571254218882_3992048879020277760_n.jpgThe “Measuring with String Beans” activity tied in perfectly with our conversations about diversity! Mother Goose Time sends us Math Manipulatives with each new unit and for the month of May, we received a set of counting cubes. We brought in fresh string beans and the children enjoyed comparing the similarities and differences of each bean. We talked about how long they were and their different shapes and colors. We used cubes to compare the different lengths of our beans. They counted their cubes and told us how tall their bean was based on the number of cubes they had stacked up next to it. Then we laid out the beans on the floor to measure each other’s height.

 

 

It is important to teach children about diversity- To see and honor the ways we are different and unique, but also the similarities that tie us all together. This activity was an example of some of the similarities and differences that not only string beans have, but people too!

Family Nights- Fun for Everyone!

We have an amazing parent volunteer who helps us by organizing a Family Night once a month for our school. Our theme for family night is different each month, and usually ties into our current Mother Goose Time unit in some way.

In December (Winter Wonderland), we enjoyed a visit from a local storyteller. She shared the story of the “Christmas Spider” with our families. Blankets, pajamas and homemade cookies is a great way to end the day with friends!

Our family night in February tied into Valentine’s Day and we learned how people from all over the world celebrate Valentine’s Day, which correlated with “It’s a Small World”.

 

We had pizza available, so the families that joined us did not have to worry about dinner, and then everyone participated in a scavenger hunt. Each family had a different country, and the children visited each “country” and asked questions that were on their worksheet to gather the clues. We learned some fun facts about the different countries. We also had a Valentine’s photo booth- so fun!

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Game night was another fun family night we hosted. One of our families is very knowledgeable about a variety of fun games, so they brought in some of their favorites and we enjoyed playing together. We try to include some sort of snack/meal for those families that come straight from work and haven’t had time for dinner yet.

 

Our Family Night for May, we spent the evening on our playground, planting seeds and fresh flowers. Our families helped get our gardens ready for Spring planting (part of our “Growing Gardens” unit). The children also helped mix up a healthy and tasty trail mix. We enjoyed a fun evening outside together pulling weeds, planting flowers, and watering everything.

 

Our school is its own little community, and family nights are a great way to bring everyone together. Parents have time to interact with each other and the children enjoy having their parent(s) at school. 

Farmer’s Market

We love dramatic play! This month for our “Growing Gardens” unit (May 2018 Mother Goose Time), we set up a Farmer’s Market for our dramatic play center. Many of our families attend the local Farmer’s Market, so it is a lot of fun for the children to pretend that they are the farmers supplying the food and sharing it with their friends. We talk about where our food comes from, what a farmer’s job is, and how they help our community by sharing their fresh food with us. We have color sorting buckets and different foods to match each color. The children enjoy sorting the different foods into the correct buckets. This is a fun way to combine sorting colors and dramatic play. We also can tie in money counting skills, and taking turns in each role. Do you love activities like the Farmer’s Market Color Sorting Buckets? Mother Goose Time puts together toy boxes for each unit and this is a great resource for building a quality educational toy collection.

big_hm_collage_mini_magick20180420-4-1kp0jc5 

We have a garden on our playground where we are growing strawberries, some veggies and flowers. The children have fun being gardeners and taking care of the plants, digging and watering are the best! They enjoy watching the garden grow and eating snacking throughout the summer!

Ocean Name Tags

It is so fun to see how the children’s writing improves throughout the year. The name tags are a great way to keep track of the progress that the children have made with their writing each month. With the name tag activity during our Ocean Commotion unit, came a fun discussion topic about swimming. The curriculum always includes an activity and we really enjoy them during circle time. The children had a fun discussion with their teacher about swimming, and then they got to show us what swimming looks like by moving their arms and legs. They really enjoy these movement activities and discussions with their friends. After they pretended to swim they got to write their names on their name tag. They use their name tags during circle time to see who is here for the day and who isn’t. The children get to use their name tag as they work on name recognition and identifying the letters that are in their name. These name tags have many uses and we love the different name tags Mother Goose Time sends us each month!33063053_10211558381777079_146258295152181248_n

“I Can Read” Books

33299643_10155603123541527_8133231435013160960_n

Each month with Mother Goose Time, we receive an “I can Read” book. During OCean Commotion, the book was called “What am I?”

 

 
The teachers read the book a few times as the children followed along. As the teacher read the story, the children enjoyed looking at the animal that was hiding and guessing what it was.

 

After the teacher was done reading, the children got the chance to read the book back to the teacher. The teacher worked with the children to sound out any words that they did not know. At the end of the story they got to draw their favorite ocean animal.33095537_10155603123636527_119866240809304064_n (1) The teacher wrote the name of the animal for them and they worked on tracing over the letters. Some of the older students were able to write the name of the ocean animal themselves. This was a fun way to combine writing and reading.

This is only one example of how the “I Can Read” books have been used in the classroom. Sometimes we hunt for letter/words, sometimes we practice following directions with underlining or circling. The most important part is that interaction between the child and the words.

We really enjoy the “I Can Read” books. The children get to take their books home and read it to their parents. Many parents mention how their children have the book memorized and how excited they are to be reading!

Taking Space

One of the most valuable lessons we can teach our children is the awareness of their own emotional state. Each month with mother Goose Time, we focus on a different character trait, such as Being Kind, Patient, Loving, etc., and sometimes we need space to be those things for ourselves. In our Preschool/Pre-K classroom, we have been working on the development of a space for children to be when the world just feels too big. Permission is given to all children to visit our “Quiet Cubby” anytime, and if they are particularly upset, a teacher can go with him/her. 32350152_10155581850481527_7576405177243009024_n32257782_10155581849841527_4288560480399654912_n

32293806_10155581849771527_1931148726575824896_nOn the shelves, we placed a variety of items to use as tools for calming/comfort. We found car wash mits at the Dollar Tree that are great for soft sensory. There are things to squish, thinking putty, mini calming jars that can be shaken and then watch as the glitter all settles. We made a weighted pad out of some soft fabric and rice.

One of our favorite tools is “Smell the Flower, Blow out the Candle”. This strategy comes from the Applebaum Training Institute, and if you haven’t been to one of their trainings, I highly recommend you do. We added a little “Stress Away” essential oil blend from Young Living to our Dollar Store flowers and the battery-operated candle is extra fun.

When introducing something new that is for everyone, but specifically designed for one or two children in particular, we begin by allowing everyone to check it all out. This reduces the stigma and creates an atmosphere where everyone is safe.

When the excitement begins to fade, we set a timer and allowed children time to explore one at a time. This is a great chance to explain the purpose with those it is intended to help, but what is good for one is good and available to all. This way the child who needs it is more likely to use it.

Now we are entering the second week with this new space, and it is working beautifully. Children are taking time to visit the quiet cubby, play with some thinking putty with the rice pack on their laps, and they love it. The classroom is more calm and productive. We love having a safe space where we can talk about our feelings, use calming strategies, and seek comfort when needed. Time-Out is not a term we use, but it is completely acceptable and encouraged to take space for ourselves. Hopefully these children will grow into adults that have a better understanding of how to handle emotions appropriately and safely.

For more information about this technique and how we handle guidance and discipline at Wonders, please follow the link!

Field Trip to the Oregon Coast Aquarium

We are so fortunate to live less than and hour from the ocean. Although it was a big adventure, it was worth it to give our children a hands-on ocean experience, rainy day and all!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Each child had a different favorite- from the sharks, the sea lions, otters, the touch pool, or even getting to ride the big bus. Thanks to Mother Goose Time for developing such a fun Ocean Commotion unit. Our children learned so much and it was really neat to hear all the things they remembered during our day at the aquarium.

Creative Arts in Space!

When I think of space, I think of Science and Technology. But Science and Technology wouldn’t be anything without creative thinking and artistic minds who ventured outside the box. We have had so much fun this month with paint and sensory experiences, but we have also enjoyed our Dramatic Play adventures and creative building projects as we explored Space with Mother Goose Time!

We had three different Rocket Tents in our classrooms. One teacher put Space Shuttles and such in there and they had so much fun playing in their own little world. Another teachers turned hers into the Reading Rocket and they loved using flashlights to read and cast images on the ceiling of the tent. And the third put old calculators and radios in there as controls, and they had great adventures blasting off! As we came to different planets during the unit, the teacher would combine Dramatic Play and the Theme Poster to go to that planet and talk about what they saw, how it felt, etc.

The telescopes we made were a big hit, and continued to be long after Astronomer day! Provided in the Mother Goose Time Kit for that day was short cardboard tubes and stickers. The children were asked to design their own telescope, but the fun didn’t end there. One of our teachers made a large poster of constellations and they used their telescopes to search for pictures in the sky. Creative Arts isn’t just finished artwork, but a mindset of seeing things in a new way and children are naturals!

Neptune is swirled and covered in ice. We had small foil sheets in the daily kit and we used sparkly paint and glue to create our Neptune Art!

Jupiter came with a few ideas. Our Preschool/Pre-K class used marbles and swirled it around like a tornado. Then they added a red sticker (provided) because Jupiter’s red spot, or eye, is actually a giant storm.

Our younger kiddos had a different technique to create their Jupiter Art. They helped to squeeze a few dots of paint onto their paper and then they covered it in plastic wrap. They squished it around and when the wrap was pulled off, the print left behind was really nice.

We used shaving cream and liquid watercolor to make Earth prints. We talked about what the colors represented (land and water). One class added a little glue to the mixture, which made the puff stay up, while another group scraped it off with the edge of a ruler, for a more marbled effect.28826939_10155471949311527_5610348190362832522_o-e1521678172338.jpg

 

We like to post the Daily Theme Poster after the lesson is complete to help communicate to parents what we learned about that day.big_6F252D93-5A16-43F5-92AE-351488E40E1A

 

big_hm_collage_mini_magick20180320-4-1n8m78x

 

 

 

 

 

One of our favorite building materials this month has been these Magnetic Shapes! They have been Rockets, Space Stations, Rovers, etc. They have worked together and independently- worth every penny!

These Kiddos are so creative!

We are really enjoying “Blast Off to Space” with Mother Goose Time! The Lesson plan books have so many fun activities and a lot of helpful information (in the event that you are not an astronomer yourself).

We have sang songs and danced like different planets with the Mother Goose Time CD (word of caution… they will get stuck in your head!) “Ice, Rock Ice, Spinning in a ring…”, “Spider in Space…” “3,2,1, Blast off, hold on tight…”

We have read books, gone on adventures, and made art together. Mother Goose Time inspires our creativity and gives us the tools we need to make sure our children are learning and having fun!

Babies in Space!

When talking about creative work with our precious babies, we have to start with the keepsake artwork that our teachers help create for their parents! It is so fun to see little hands and feet in themed art, even if the kids don’t find it as amusing as the adults. Work like this communicates to parents that we did something today and they have it to hang at home. These little hands and feet will never be this small again, so we should take every opportunity to capture them.

Now, on to the real work these little ones do everyday with Mother Goose Time- Experience Baby!

This month, we received this fun set of sensory balls (Planets) as part of the Experience baby kit. They are easily washable and they love them! They are fun to feel, chew on and chase, and they are the perfect size for little hands. These balls have been a big part of the activities this month.

We have been testing gravity, playing hide and seek, learning to follow simple directions, learning color and shape recognition, practicing our fine motor skills, taking turns, and having so much fun!big_IMG_20180320_112051 We even did some color mixing with our Space Goo activity.

We love that Mother Goose Time- Experience Baby gives so many fun ideas to help teach Creative Arts to our youngest students!