We finished up with conferences this week. It has been so nice to sit down with all of you and chat about your awesome kids. It is also nice for us to take the time to be reflective about what makes each child unique and make an intentional plan for moving forward. We love partnering with you to help your children grow and develop.
Although we will always be working with our toddlers on managing their emotions, this has been our last week of having it be our primary focus. We will continue to pepper our circle time conversations with pro social stories which promote the skills involved with managing big feelings. We will continue to read stories and model situations to the toddlers to reinforce the concepts we have been building over the last few weeks.
Here are the highlights from this week:
- We started with week with some fine motor practice with our favorite things…straws and yogurt caps…who knew those things went together. For some reason this activity brings out long attention spans and careful focus.
- We set up a faux picnic in our classroom. The kids used super manners to ask for their turn pouring tea or using the “good” cups. They were managing themselves in very close proximity to their classmates and they handled themselves very well. (And it was fun too!)
- We put up color squares in the Big Room and played a game where the teacher called out things such as, “run to the yellow rectangle” or “crawl to the blue rectangle”. The older kids especially enjoyed this. The younger kids sensed the excitement and followed along. We got to work on both color recognition and gross motor skills in the same game.
- We tried something new this week. We have a window of time after the Big Room but before lunch in which we used to do a focused activity in the classroom. The kids are always hungry and tired at this point in the day. So we decided to play with our schedule and rather than asking the kids to manage themselves by sitting still on the rug and listening, we would go for a walk during this time to have a calm interlude before lunch. We tried several variations of this with differing levels of success. One day we walked to the fireplace as a whole group to listen to stories about managing emotions. Some of the toddlers realized their voices echo in the entryway and had a great time making as much noise as possible to test out the acoustics. While they definitely learned new things during this experience, it didn’t have the desired calming effect. 🙂
- On Wednesday after our Big Room time we split the group into two and had half take a walk in the stroller and hear the story Breathe like a Bear, the other group went into the art room and painted bear faces (which were based on the illustrations in the book). They also painted the inside of our new “bear cave”. It will be another place the kids can choose to go if they would like a moment to themselves. Knowing when one needs a moment on their own to regroup is a great life skill, so we are providing them with spaces they can seek out in the midst of our very busy classroom. Now we have both Little Monkey’s Calm Down House and Breathe Like a Bear Cave. I have some bear ears I sewed a few years ago I might pull out next week to see if they want to pretend to be actual bears in the cave.
- On Thursday we used the time after the Big Room to walk as a whole group again. We went up to the social hall and while holding a baby doll or stuffed animal listened to the story Be Gentle with Me. The kids practiced being gentle with their baby. They listened very well and took care of their dolls (or threw them on the floor when they were done). It went very well and then we transitioned back into the classroom in a very peaceful way and began our lunch together.
- On one of our walks we passed the bin holding the kipot that can be borrowed during services. We noticed it was stocked with every color kippah in the rainbow. We spent a little time guessing which color kippah Ms. Katie was wearing.
- We played together with magna tiles and animals. We made little houses for the animals to live in. The kids helped put some of the pieces together and put the animals inside. If you don’t own magna tiles yet they would make a great holiday gift which would grow with your child.
- We sang Hickory Dickory Dock and used one of our stuffed mice to climb the “clock” which was actually the child’s body. The mouse stopped on each child’s head and then we counted together before the mouse then ran down again. They kids loved waiting for their turn for the mouse to sit on their head. With each child we counted higher and higher. I wish I had taken photos of this, it’s actually really cute to see their faces light up when it’s their turn.
- This week Amber gave us some pinwheels and we have been practicing using the exhale of our deep breaths to blow on the pinwheels and make them spin. The kids have loved trying to make it move. We cheer when they are successful. So fun and it forces them to exhale more strongly.
- After Thanksgiving we will have 4 children move up to preschool. They will be so missed, but we know they are ready for new challenges. When they move up we will have Anna and Eve join our class. They were able to visit a few times this week and did a great job hanging with all of the “big” kids.
We have had so much fun this week working on all these skills with our amazing toddlers!
Next week we will have a short week. Benny, Aly and I will each plan a day with activities related to Thanksgiving.
Ms. Katie, Ms. Aly & Mr. Benny