I was sitting here early in the quiet, morning before the house awakens with my morning cup of coffee (or 3), and doing a touch of reading. I came across this quick, fun article on the importance of play in preschools that I thought I would share. The article, 'How Important Is Play in Preschool?' by GreatSchools Staff @ www. greatschools.org can be located HERE .
As a 'newish' teacher, I continue to learn and grow everyday (I hope this never changes). One of the greatest gifts that I have learned for early childhood development is that playing is learning!!! God knew what he was doing when he gave the kiddos the gift of great imagination and thirst for play. That is exactly how they learn. I try very hard to not distinguish between 'learning' and 'playing' in the classroom because they are the same in the eyes of the kiddos! Activities at the table, discussions during our story telling, craft creations, science experiments, stations around the room, and outside games are all apart of the play and learning that develops the whole child.
Stacey, Mrs. Zollo and I work to infuse meaningful play into our school and classroom, which is sometimes guided and sometimes not because the kiddos need room for both!!! I don't want the kiddos to think that learning and play fall into two different categories, but empower them to develop fine and gross motor skills, socialization, elevated vocabulary, cognitive skills and more through the fun of play. Most importantly, I hope I infuse these kiddos with a true love of learning that will remain with them their entire lives!
Sunday, April 22nd is Earth Day so we will be spending some time in our classroom talking about God's great gift of Earth. We will discuss what amazing things we can do on Earth and how we can help take great care of it!!! We will be making an adorable Earth Coffee Filter Mobile that involves, coloring, droppers with water and more (what fun)!!!
We are also planning to help our Pre-K kiddos plant in their garden. We have a lovely vegetable garden outside of our school in the back, near the playground. We talked a lot this week about the various element needed to make plants and flowers grow (soil, seeds, sun, water, air, rain, bugs, bees and of course the love of Jesus)! Each kiddo helped make a sign that represents the elements, and we will be adding those stakes into our Garden for all to see. We are also going to get our hands dirty and help our older friends down the hall with some of the work. Can't wait!!!!
We have a busy week ahead! We only have 2 days in the classroom as Friday, April 27th is our fun Spring Fling Day. All kiddos, siblings, parents, grandparents, friends and more are invited to our school for a fun day of Spring Fling Activities. The teachers will be working at the fun games, stations, etc. Can't wait to see you all there! However, if we do have enough time, I would love to start reading and discussing the following book, 'Captain Snout and the Super Power Questions,' by Daniel G. Amen.
I just got this book and I am SO excited!!!! Dr. Daniel Amen is a well known author that has written several adult books about the power of positive thinking, ADD, Alzheimer's and more. These are all topics that touch upon my family so I love soaking up as much information as I can. When I found out that he wrote this positive, lighthearted book about positive thinking for our littlests ones, I was thrilled!!!! We will be reading this book and exploring what it means to ask questions that lead to a positive outlook!
We had the most WONDERFUL time in our classroom this week learning in our Spring Time Fun!!!
Mrs. Zollo and I continuously focus on infusing learning into playing to better engage our kiddos and develop deep levels of knowledge retention. Trends in Early Childhood Education are moving away from structured, teacher lead activities and moving towards free-flowing, play based learning. Our 3 & 4 year old friends are just not developmentally ready to sit at a table for 30 minutes and listen to some adult 'tell' them things or instruct them to create complicated, multi-step art project master pieces. God gave our littlest of friends an untapped imagination that us adults can't even imagine!
-And it is my job as an educator to let that imagination soar, and infuse learning into their playing and exploration. As a result, I work to build up their skill sets based upon their feelings of success, accomplishment and fun.
We had the most AMAZING guest speaker, Cindy Terebush, at our Open House this past week. Cindy is an Early Childhood Education Consultant, author, researcher, speaker, mom and all around dynamic lady!
She has done extensive research in the areas of brain development and optimal strategies for age appropriate learning techniques, behavior strategies and much more! She has amazing tips on optimally educating and engaging our littlest of ones and invaluable concepts regarding behavior management. Thank you, Cindy!
As an educator and a mom of 2 kiddos, I am LOVING her book that can be found HERE and soaking up the info. on her BLOG!!! I can assure you that I am passing along this information solely because this lady was a 'game changer' for me. If only I would have come along her when my kiddos were preschoolers.... But there's still time :)
On to our fun, classroom learning!!!! We started the week off with our Gardening Center. The kiddos had a blast!!! They planted, seeded, weeded, scooped shoveled, potted and more!!! The fun and learning that took place about flowers, veggies, sun, air water and all of God's great gifts in nature was AMAZING!!!!!
We also had a Bug and Critter Science Center. Wow, did the kiddos LOVE playing with our bugs, lizards, snakes, reptiles, centipedes, and more? We practiced counting (can I say centipede legs), sorting, grouping, and even pulled in a little color recognition camouglage session. We also used magnifying glasses to explore concepts of big & small and observe the tiniest of details on our spring time critters.
Once again... Thank you ALL for sharing your precious joys with me each day. They truly are a gift from God and brighten my perspective in life each and every day I see them. I know Mrs. Zollo feels the same way!!!!
Some of the best ways for kiddos to learn in the classroom is through imagination play. I am so excited to create our 'gardening station' today where the kiddos will be equipped with gloves, gardening pots, shovels and tons of materials to create dirt, flowers, vegetables and more!!! I can not wait to see what our growing season will create!!!
We will also have a coloring, measuring & cutting station where the kiddos will sort, cut and paste their growing flowers. What an adorable idea to put google eyes on the top of the scissors. I always encourage the kiddos to have their thumbs up as they cut up, up and away. I bet a face on the scissors will be more incentive. Can't wait to try this little trick out today!
As usual, I have many movement games and activities planned into our day! We will be working as teams to grow flowers. One kiddos will be the flower, another the sunshine, rain, soil and air. We will be sure to give each kiddo a try at being the various elements needed for a flower to grow. We will also be playing a little 'Who is missing from the Flower Patch?' I have the kiddos plant them selves into the ground and clothes their eyes (no peeking). I will tap one of the flowers on the patch to leave the room, and let the other flowers guess which flower is missing. Great for cognitive thinking and just so much fun!!! Can't wait for a fun filled flowered day of growing and learning!!!!
Finally, today is the first day of our Mystery Reader Program and I am so excited to open our doors!!! There is so much adorable love and fun to be shared in our room..... -And the kiddos get SO EXCITED!!!!
I hope you had the most wonderful Easter Celebration with your families!!!!! I hope your time was filled with Easter Egg Hunts, Baskets of Candy, Fun with the Families and an amazing celebration of Christ Rising!!!
I am so excited to get back into the classroom and hear about all of the fun festivities over the past week. I also can not wait to start looking ahead to some fun Spring Learning! While our weather continues to be not quite on our team, we will have sun, love and springtime fun in our classroom everyday!
We are going to kick start our week back in school with a little bit of April Showers bring May Flowers Learning. We will start out by talking about April as a big Spring Transition Month and all that goes with it.
I found this adorable Umbrella and Rain Craft Activity @ www.handsonaswegrow.com that I think will be fun warm up for our kiddos as we welcome them back into the routine.
We also have some great Spring Time Find the Hidden Picture, Practice with Cutting, and Counting Worksheets that I will set up stations with. I will, of course, funnel some team building and group work into the mix my asking the kiddos to work in pairs.
We will also be putting together a Springtime Book. I love letting the kiddos create their own book as it builds confidence in their reading skills and they are so very proud to take home their own publication!!!! Click HERE for an at home version.
We also have the following Parts of a Flower /Shape Recognition Worksheet planned. Click Here for an at home version.