Welcome to new friends, and welcome back to old friends! We had such a positive week and a great start to our school year.
Tuesday: We began our day with pictures at drop off (to be used in cubby frames) and then quickly moved on to exploring the room.
New this month is the apple orchard in the dramatic play area, corn kernels in the sensory table, Australian animals, 2D and 3D shapes, acorns with squirrels, and cinnamon-scented playdough. I work very intentionally to ensure the PreK classroom becomes a part of our curriculum. Every item is meant to spark interest and growth. I got a writing sample from each child- they are hanging in our room and will later be a nice benchmark to measure growth in that area throughout the year.
We also read a book called The Kissing Hand, that reminds us that a parent’s love is never far away, as well as The School Book, by Todd Parr about all the ways we can have fun in school.
Wednesday: We had music class upstairs in the social hall this week, as the big room is under construction. It was fun to be in a different environment for this class. I introduced two new stuffed animals to our class today, Kinderoo and Joey.
We talked about kangaroos and after telling me what they now about them (quite a lot!), as well as reading a book about them, I wondered why the joey keeps going back to the pouch. Safety! I told the kids that at school, the teachers try to be like the mommy kangaroos. We want to keep them safe, as it’s our number one rule. We began to make a poster with little pockets as their “pouches” and later, make kangaroos for the kids to hop in. It will be our reminder for the fall to stay safe, and I’ll talk more with them about how to stay safe by being careful, kind, and responsible.
Thursday: What a fun day spent getting to know each other better. We had lots of play time today, inside and out. We also had time to do a fun math activity about shapes.
After brainstorming and then reading a book with photos of shapes out in the environment, we went on a shape hunt ourselves. We saw so many shapes just outside our front door!
Even after our walk, the kids continued to find them for me on the playground with their toys and during lunch with their containers and food! Maya said, “I guess we’re learning about shapes now.” I answered her, yes, in a way. I told her that I believe they probably already knew a lot of shapes, and I was curious to find out for myself. Now that I know, I don’t need to spend too much time on circles, squares or rectangles as they all knew those. We can work on more unusual shapes that they may not know.
Friday: More photo-taking today to be used as people blocks, I will measure heights on our big paper tree, and the kids can paint with watercolors for our first paintings to display in our room. We will learn about (and review for some) the holiday of Shabbat, go upstairs for services, and read The Shabbat Box. Maya will be the first student to go home with the Shabbat box this fall!
We also talked a bit about feelings and how we can strive to be the kindest we can be to help take care of each other at school. You may have heard your child say, “Please don’t wrinkle my heart” this week and wondered why. I cut out a paper heart and showed its’ smooth surface to the kids. This smooth, new heart is how we feel at the beginning of each school day. When someone says or does something unkind to us, our heart gets a little wrinkled each time. Apologizing helps, checking in and making amends even better, but the wrinkles never completely go away. We strive to be kind from the start. On that note, we will begin a rule list for our class. We will draft a classroom expectation brit, Hebrew for agreement, next week and the kids and I will sign it, post it, and refer to it all year.
A peek at next week: Introducing the alphabet, beginning with Aa, learning about apples, drawing self-portraits, and beginning our SecondStep social curriculum. As always, there is ample time for kids to engage in what they choose and investigate new ideas of their own.
L’hitraot (see you soon),