What is “Bubbles, Boats and Floats” all about?

Our classes are really excited for the May unit with Mother Goose Time, “Bubbles, Boats and Floats”. What is this unit about exactly? We are learning all about different bodies of water, the water cycle and conservation, soapy water, rainbows and more! So far this week, we have learned about Rivers, Beavers, Boats, and Alligators. My favorite was the sleeping Alligator in our preschool class that led them to have a very quiet morning, so as not to wake him.

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58373262_2251666981590922_3693427237517787136_o.jpg We recently celebrated Earth Day and we talked about ways we can help out our planet. This unit ties in nicely with our recent discussion, as they learn how they can conserve water.

This is a tricky unit when it comes to filling our shelves with activities because there is so much we will be covering, so we look at other units we have had that tie in with this one. For example, we tie in some elements of weather, ocean and pond themed activities so that we have more toys to go around (we have 4 classrooms). We also take a look at any Toy Box recommendations from the Mother Goose Time website.Screenshot 2019-05-02 at 3.11.05 PM.png

We love to incorporate mini units within our main one, and for “Bubbles, Boats, and Floats” we like to spend some time talking about the ocean and the different bodies of water. They love the beach (we live an hour away from one), and they get excited to spend some time learning more about the ocean. We love that Mother Goose Time makes it easy to be able to incorporate mini units within their lessons.

 

 

Bubbles, Boats, and Floats is a fun unit to incorporate lots of science. We have fun making predictions and experimenting with what floats and sinks in the water.

We have measuring cups to practice pouring and measuring, and the kids are enjoying getting to play in the water!

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We had so much fun practicing our fine motor and hand-eye coordination with pouring.  We are little scientists!

As the weather is getting warmer, we are excited to take some of our water play outside! More to come on that adventure!

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Literacy is Bigger than Letters!

When we talk about literacy in the classroom, it goes beyond just letters, the sounds they make and pre-reading skills. If you google “what is literacy?” the definition is…

  • the ability to read and write
  • competence or knowledge in a specified area

Mother Goose Time takes a global approach to learning, which matches the way the brain is developing in the early childhood years. Each activity is carefully planned to include skills across the content areas, to pack the most learning and fun.

For the month of April, we are learning all about Bees and Butterflies. The first two weeks was focused on Bees and this week we shifted our attention to butterflies. Is is so fun to hear children using big words like “metamorphosis”, “chrysalis” and “larvae”.

Did you know that a caterpillar that forms a chrysalis will become a butterfly and a caterpillar that forms a cocoon will become a moth? One hangs and one lays- do you know which is which? Ask your child!

Our outside time has included many signs of Spring. We have been pulling out weeds from the garden beds and planting some wild flowers for our growing caterpillars to enjoy after they make their transformation.

Monday was all about “Eggs”. We gathered a variety of leaves from outside and made some guesses as to which kinds would be able to support Butterfly eggs and which probably wouldn’t.

Then we made our own Egg on a Leaf art. We like to use the Daily Topic Poster and the Invitation to Create poster to display our artwork. 57180224_10156293901141527_956114193159815168_n.jpg

Naturally, “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” was on the MGT recommended book list for this month and we have been really enjoying retelling the story with our felt board!

Today was all about Caterpillars. We started sorting a dying noodles for our Butterfly Life Cycle sensory box (more on that another day).

We used our Pocket cube to practice our shape recognition, as we worked together to build the longest caterpillar. Whatever shaped was rolled, is what we picked out of the basket to add to the caterpillar. We measured each other and other things around the room in the same way.

To round out the plan for the day, we had a true letter learning activity, but even that incorporated fine motor development, teamwork and cooperation. We used our letter recognition cards. We flipped over one card at a time and decided what letter, or sound, it started with. Then we “munched” a hole in the correct letter leaf with a single hole punch. Our children came back to this activity later in the afternoon because it was so fun. We will definitely be adding it to our literacy shelf!57303421_10156294207106527_6967578612253851648_o

We love that our Mother Goose Time activity guide is so comprehensive for not only letter literacy, but overall comprehension of the topic at hand. Every child learns differently, so when we take a global approach, we can guarantee everyone learns and it is so fun!

Literacy in the Classroom

Mother Goose Time offers plenty of opportunities to teach literacy in the classroom. We love the “Little Letter Books included (3 each month), new name tags, picture cube letter cards and so much more! 

We love pulling other activities to extend the lessons. For instance, kite is one of the site words given to us to use this month for the letter K. Our Pre-K class made kites, and finished the sentence “If I was a kite…” that we wrote on a cloud to go on the back of their kite. One kiddo said they would “Go to Mexico and eat a lot of things!” Another kiddo said that they would fly to Colorado. Having them finish the sentence made it a complete one, and was a fun way to use their imaginations to create a sentence. Art and literacy go really well together, and often times the art creates a really good visual for literacy. Our kites are hanging from our ceiling with their sentences on the back. The kites are a fun visual for a word that starts with our letter this week.

Any time we introduce a new letter we always create a list of words that start with that letter. Today we made our list of K words. We practiced making the letter sound, and had to find words that matched that sound. Some of them named words that started with the letter C, so we discussed how though they sound similar, they don’t start with the letter K. We came up with 11 words.56811288_856577744684485_5653716926354948096_n

We also love to use the “Experience More Literacy” book that is an option with the curriculum. We printed out the ‘Letter Kk worksheet that helps us identify letters and words, and practiced tracing and writing the letter k, as well as the site words that were given to us. The children worked really hard on their worksheets and by the end of it were getting the hang of how to write the letter K. They chose a word from our list that they wanted to write to finish the worksheet.56608788_351106308865625_3008619548556394496_n

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The letter printouts are so fun to use and we do several different things with them each month, whether it be making artwork out of the letter or tracing the outline and filling it up with words. Today we filled it up with 16 K’s! 16 is one of our numbers this month, so it was a great way to tie in one of our numbers to practice counting while we practiced writing the letter K some more.

One other smart thing that Mother Goose Time does is introduce the letters away from traditional ABC order. This forces children to know the letters individually and what sound they make, not just because they can sing the song. We love to incorporate letter learning across the content areas because the more children see it in a variety of ways, the more likely it is to stick!

Be a Bucket Filler!

For the month of April, our Friendship Trait focus is on “Beeing Respectful”.56408576_10156266011491527_8221284530938445824_n As we close out one unit and begin another, we sometimes have a hard time sharing the toys, games, books, etc. Our preschool class was having a particularly hard time yesterday and their teacher was fast on her feet. They had already completed the activities for the morning and were getting antsy for lunch. Ms. Heather asked if we had any books in the office about sharing and the closest we had was “How Full is your Bucket for Kids”. 55837795_10156264167226527_2066758281677766656_n (1).jpg

 

 

 

 

After reading the story, Ms. Heather gave each child a piece of paper with a hand-drawn bucket on it with the child’s name. She put stickers out on the table and they proceeded to fill the buckets with stickers. Some children didn’t want the help of others and some were very excited to get a sticker from a friend. We talked about how it feels good to get a sticker and it feels good to make someone else happy by giving them a sticker.

This morning was a very different tone. Children were excited to work together, they were more respectful, asking before taking, and there was a lot more collaborative play.

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We put this puzzle together 3 times as a team this morning!

While everyone was busy checking out the new activities on the shelf, I was working on scrubbing some crayon off the table tops. My little friends were so excited to be bucket fillers that they all wanted to help. They were enthusiastic about being helpful and before long, we had the tables looking much better.56478628_10156266011806527_2042947588579131392_n

We love that Mother Goose Time makes character building a regular piece of our day. The first 5 years of a child’s life are critical to their social/emotional growth and a time when the brain is most receptive to learning.

It is an honor to join them on their journey!

Bees and Butterflies Preview!

We are so excited for our April unit with Mother Goose Time- “Bees and Butterflies”! This is always one of our favorite units and we learn so much! We spend the first two weeks learning about Bees and the second two weeks on Butterflies. Here is a sneak peek of what we are going to learn!

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Our Theme Web
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Our Daily Activities Calendar
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Our Developmental Continuum of Concepts for April
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Our Teacher Guide Books for the Month of April. We love the bright pictures on the covers!
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We will be focusing on the letters K, X, and M
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Our Preschool and Pre-K friends use these books to supplement their daily activities. We love that MGT provides ways to simplify or challenge children depending on their needs.

Our Portfolio dividers and one of the beautiful Daily Topic posters for April. We love the beautiful photographs on the Topic Posters- such a great way to get us thinking about what we are learning each morning. Thanks Mother Goose Time for giving us such a great platform for fun and learning!

Desert Nights

We have reached the end of our “Desert Discovery” unit with Mother Goose Time– March flew by so fast!

Our Days were full of fun and STEAM learning, but one of our favorite activities was the Desert Night activity.54190728_893778610953336_8911803895043325952_n54346727_2248534465211715_6073759784396390400_n

This project took two days and led to some great conversations. We began by drawing in crayon some things we thought we might find in the desert at night. There were animals, cactus, other plants, bugs and snakes. We talked about what animals might be awake and what might be sleeping at night, and why. Then we painted over our drawings with thinned black paint. The next day, when the painting was dry, we added sparkly stars in the night sky. This was one of our favorite projects.

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Books give us good information to lead our thinking!

Another favorite activity from our play shelf was the balancing cactus. Sometimes children were stack them independently, and sometimes we would use it as a cooperative game. We always love the new puzzle for each month from Mother Goose Time. It is a great way to add to our collection of available activities each month!

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Balancing Cactus and Theme Puzzle

Each month with Mother Goose Time, we receive two new books (one Forest Friends Book and one exclusive MGT book) and we use the Recommended Book List to gather other great books from our collection or from the local library. Mother Goose Time is such a complete package program!56180231_10156263943456527_1762856368726867968_n

Spring Break!

For the last week we have been on Spring Break at our school. We understand that for some parents, this is inconvenient, but what we do takes so much time and energy and we need breaks to refocus and rest. Spring break is always much needed, not because we don’t like what we do, but because our brains need a break. We spend all week looking after young children, planning and implementing lessons (thanks to Mother Goose Time, most of our lessons are already prepared for us), answering emails, cleaning, budgeting, menu planning, and grocery shopping (and no, that’s not all ).

We think about the following week, the following school year, special activities, and extra things we can do to help the young children in our care succeed (and no, that’s still not all).55545382_10156257741746527_6982316912789159936_o.jpg

It takes a lot to keep a licensed childcare center running. And if you are like us and share a space, our weekends are cut short due to setting up our center on Sunday’s. This means family time is cut short. Burn out is very real in the world of education. Breaks allow us time to re-charge. Spring break offers time to catch up with our own families. We get to spend quality time together, check-in with one another, and create more memories together. 

Self-care is vital. When you spend most of your days looking after everyone else, it is easy to forget to take care of yourself. Educator’s tend to put everyone else before themselves, and breaks allow us time to take a step back and do something for ourselves. Not to mention, educator’s don’t stop thinking about their jobs just because they are on a break, they think about fresh ideas to start implementing as soon as they return. We really do love what we do, and we certainly have earned the breaks we have scheduled.

Educator’s shouldn’t feel guilty for taking a break – it is part of self-care and we have certainly worked hard for it. Here are some highlights from how some of our staff spent their Spring Break with friends and family!

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Portfolios

53140437_823869567993479_7352586172226338816_nWe love that Mother Goose Time sends Portfolio Dividers with each unit. It is fun looking back on each unit throughout the year and the dividers help us remember all that we have learned, and what work went with which unit. These are found in Lesson 20 of each theme. We like to pull these out right away and get them in their portfolios so as we go through the unit and are collecting work samples we can put them in their portfolio right away – doing this makes it easy to keep up with a portfolio for each child!

 

 

 

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With each new unit, we have a Continuum of Skills poster that shows how we will be meeting the National Standards for Early Childhood throughout the month. When there is a star, that is a prompt for the teacher to collect a work sample, take a note on how the child approached the activity, or even take a picture of the work being done to add to the portfolio.

 

 

 

 

 

In Pre-K, we have the portfolios sitting on their writing shelf. They love looking through their portfolios every so often and seeing their work. We try to collect art and writing samples for each month, along with pictures! It is so fun to see how their work progresses over time!

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54436944_1247327818777724_5761777788126232576_n.jpgWe use 1-inch white binders for their portfolio’s, make a cover page that lists our school, the year, their name, and then we put their hand prints on it. The portfolio’s come in handy during Parent/Teacher conferences, when we want to show parents what their child has been working on. The parents love looking through their work samples and seeing the photos. We send the portfolio’s home at the end of the year. They make a special keepsake!

Cowboy Process Art

Our Littles!

As we mentioned in our previous blog post, we did some rearranging last week. We combined two smaller groups within our center (our Wobblers and Toddlers) and it has made for an interesting dynamic for sure. It is so fun to see our younger children engaging in dramatic play, building, and art, while our older children have enjoyed exploring more large motor opportunities than they previously had available.

They now have a much larger space that is closer to outdoor access. That makes us all very happy!

Our Wobblers (12-24 months) were working hard on sharing space and parallel play, and they were using the “Experience Baby” curriculum set. Our Toddlers (24-30 months) used the “Little Goose” supplement and were learning the structure of a classroom with Circle Time and Activities. Now this class is doing some of both! This opens up new opportunities and experiences for all of the children in the group, while meeting the needs, interests, and capabilities of each one. The teachers can divide up the group and do separate activities with the different ages, or they can combine and all work on one task. 6BA0710C-71C2-44D1-B69E-B63CA4814370

We all enjoyed decorating the Doctor Bags (Make and Play) and taking care of our bears on Thursday. (Health week, February MGT “Health and Fitness”). It is so fun to see how much empathy and compassion these little people already possess.

The younger children are welcome to join Circle Time, but are free to come and go as they need to. The older children are encouraged to join in with stories and songs, and because they were used to doing Circle Time already, they set a good example for the younger ones. 1ADC93AF-50F2-4496-A04C-8B2ED9174D1B

It has been so fun to see this class take shape. We love that the Mother Goose Time program is so versatile and there is always something for everyone. The activities are fun, engaging and easily adaptable for a mixed group, such as ours. Having a combined group does present its own challenges, but they are really getting the hang of it. Nice job, Littles!