This time of year is bittersweet for us. We have old friends leaving and new friends joining us soon. Ms. Rebecca had her last day with our class as her job as a first grade teacher in Minneapolis has begun. She is dearly missed, but we are excited for her new challenges!
Our friends Easton, Gus and Finley will move up to the preschool class when school resumes in September. They have given our class lots of enthusiasm, curiosity and laughs. We will dearly miss their big personalities and their tender hearts.
We have been so busy over the last three weeks! Our focus has been on Eric Carle books and while we have read many, we ended up primarily focusing on The Very Hungry Caterpillar and The Tiny Seed because the kids were so enthusiastic about them.
For The Very Hungry Caterpillar we read the story many times and retold it a variety of ways. It lends itself well to a variety of lessons….colors, counting, healthy eating, the life cycle of butterflies, etc. We painted and colored pictures from the story, played in our sand sensory bins with items related to the story, painted noodles to make caterpillar necklaces (although the paint was too wet and the noodles crumbled and were not usable – that’s what I get for using gluten free noodles :), and used props to learn the life cycle of butterflies. It’s a great book for so many reasons!
The Tiny Seed was so exciting for the kids. One day we took a walk to the ga-ga pit, read the story, tossed a bunch of “seeds” (pom-poms) into the grass and had the kids collect them using tweezers and “plant” them in trays. Another day we wet paper towels with a spray bottle and put lentil seeds in it hoping to see them sprout. Later in the week (after we realized they sprouted very quickly) we made Little Sprout Houses for them and hung them in our class window. We have watched them grow – first a tiny root, then baby leaves came out the top. The excitement in the toddler room was huge as we watched them grow. We got out the magnifying glasses several times to check their progress. We also looked at a variety of different types of seeds and talked about how they were different. We even pulled weed from the playground to see the root structure. The kids learned the roots are like straws that draw water up into the plant to give it a drink. I think they are all budding scientists based on their interest and enthusiasm.
In the mornings we always offer optional “morning work” which is a teacher led activity. Some activities work on specific skills such as color sorting or more general things like fine motor skills. Here are some photos of our morning work:
The kids also were great helpers over the last few weeks. They decorated gift bags for the synagogue to use for gifts for new babies born to the congregants, they helped by pulling up the tape on our carpet which had been roads, and they played “teacher” and entertained each other. My last example of them being helpers was when my shoe broke this week. I told them I had a problem that needed help. They decided it was an emergency and ran around talking about ways to help and then created lots of emergencies around the room. In the end they helped me tape my shoe back together. It was very sweet.
We have been savoring our outside time before the weather starts to change.
The Big Room is as always a favorite as well.
We look forward to several brand new friends and a few old friends rejoining our class in September. It will be a great year!
Ms. Katie & Ms.Hannah