We got to play outside some this week, and it felt like a celebration each time! Being outside in the winter weather, instead of reading about it, was thrilling.
On Wednesday, the snow was ever so lightly falling as the kids were outside; it felt magical. This week, in addition to outdoor play, we played around with some more ideas about animals in the winter, specifically owls.
We also went through the Second Step lessons about the feeling angry/mad this week and how to recognize the feeling in ourselves and in others.
Last Friday: I brought a big blanket from home to play the part of the mitten as we acted out the story. The kids had a blast, and I kept the pieces in the room if they get inspired again.
Monday: The kids played for a long time in the morning with the story blanket from the mitten and our stuffed animals. They read to the animals, put them to bed, and then they themselves became animals too. Some really good dialog and storytelling going on!
Later on, the kids drew trees, played with popsicle sticks as loose parts to create letters and shapes, and overall had a great day together.
Tuesday: With butcher paper taped to the art table, the invitation to draw was visited by many this morning. The best part for me was when some of the kids decided to draw each person in our class. At first, they asked each kid individually, “What’s your favorite color?” and then I heard, “Do you want to be standing up or flying?” I observed them drawing the pictures, and then I watched as one child even began to write everyone’s name on the paper too. Literacy in action, and occurring naturally- my favorite kind of PreK morning.
Of course, with a bigger group, we had more opportunity for bigger pretend play with a pet store popping up in their imaginations, making a car out of chairs to take them to the store to adopt the dogs, cats, and even a squirrel (Lila). We learned about the letter Oo and the sound it makes.
Wednesday: We enjoyed our regular music time with Rabbi Crimmings again today, and got outside for the second day this week. The snow time was really lovely. We talked about owls today, reading a book about them with lots of pictures and information. Some kids made snowpeople out of paper plates, after Sammy made one yesterday. A great idea!
Thursday: Today we talked more about owls. Each child drew pictures of their own owls.
I read them a book about a snowy owl who flew into the city of Portland, Maine to live. Your kids are fascinated with wild animals, and we are learning about geography (the Arctic and Maine), the circle of life (predators and prey with owls and lemmings), biology (owls cannot move their eyes, but can rotate their heads almost 300 degrees), and math (irruption cycles) all from a simple story. We’ve been playing matching games a lot this month, and today I brought out one of my favorites which is just of birds.
As the temperature was -11 when class began, we talked a bit about negative numbers, adding them to our number line on the white board.
Friday: Do animals need trees? We will talk about this question today as I introduce the upcoming birthday of the trees, Tu B’Shvat. We’ll talk about fallen logs and dead trees and snags (standing dead trees) that provide habitats for owls and other animals. We will finish our owl pictures and begin a mural we discussed making about the winter. It may be too cold to go outside, so I plan to bring some snow inside so the kids can make some animal tracks in the snow with our forest toy animals.
A peek at next week: We will plant lima bean seeds to study them and their growth. We will begin our winter bird book by studying the chickadee and the cardinal, the two most frequent visitors to our bird feeder. We will learn about the letter P and should find many examples for our word wall. We will do all this while keeping our caring community, focused on kindness and peace.