Welcome! That sums up our week in Prek, as we welcomed five new students into our room, the season of winter, our exploration of trees, our new ice rink dramatic play area. To top it off, Evie turned five years old this week too!
First of all, I want to sincerely thank you, families, for the very generous Chanukah gift before our break. Please know that both items were truly appreciated! I feel blessed to spend my days with your kids, and I hope they feel safe and free to be themselves in our classroom. I know we are going through changes with staffing and with doubling the amount of kids, and I’m committed in my aim to keep that safe, free environment in our classroom community. Please read below for a summary of topics in our week.
Winter. The new kids got used to our routines and the “regulars” did a great job showing everyone how we play in the room. I asked the class if they liked winter or not, and while most kids said yes, for reasons varying from “I love sledding fast” to “My birthday is in the winter”, others had solid reasons against, for example “My hands get cold and wet.” I hear you! We read a book about the season of winter that ends with the coming of spring. I talked a little about how in different places, the seasons are different. Most kids know about Florida, so they had some understanding. I took some playground photos to use for a book about winter I hope we’ll make this month. If you have a favorite picture of your PreK’r out enjoying the winter, please send it to us to share: I’d love to make a poster for the kids to look at in our ice rink area. One fun new game this week is Don’t Break the Ice, which almost everyone took a turn playing.
Letter Hh. I introduced the letter Hh in our meeting. We talked about how to draw it, the sound it makes, and some words that begin with the letter. We noticed in our morning message all week that “the” is a common word with “h”- as this is a “sight word” for kindergarteners, I’ll continue to point it out to the kids from now on. Kids practiced writing on whiteboards through the week. On Friday, we’ll play a game with items and pictures beginning with Hh.
Sensory Play. This week, kids had an opportunity to play with new playdough (each child has their own bag), cloud dough (kids mix up their own combination of flour and baby oil in their own container), and ice pops (with droppers, food coloring, and salt). PreK’rs aren’t too old for sensory play. It works for the child who wants to play alone, who is undecided, and who wants to build a narrative.
Dramatic Play. Our ice rink is beginning to take shape. I’ve never created one before, so the kids helped in making some of the props. First, they decorated our frozen lake using blue markers on white poster board. Because ice skaters can get hungry, we made popcorn and juice machines. Everyone helped! We talked in our Thursday meeting about the roles we could play and agreed to limit skaters to four at a time for safety, and two attendants who will make the snacks and keep the rink clean (we don’t have a zamboni yet, but Eliet knew what that was!) We still have some signage and labels to add, but it’s coming together. Dramatic play centers create many opportunities for kids to develop social skills.
Tu B’Shevat. Our next holiday is the birthday for the trees, and we began talking about it this week. Ms. Emily led small groups in drawing tree portraits using oil pastel crayons. The kids then wrote their name on a separate paper, and we matched them together up on a wall to showcase our work. On Friday, we will learn some tree songs and talk about what trees do in winter.
Social/Emotional Skills: SecondStep. When you cause an accident to happen, what do you do? We talked a lot using puppets and photographs about how kids feel when someone accidentally bumps them or knocks over their stuff. Most kids tell me that you need to say you’re sorry, and I tell them that saying sorry is always a good idea, if you’re really sorry. But with accidents, kids need to hear, “It was an accident. Are you okay?” With these two little statements, it reassures kids that the action wasn’t malicious and that their peers care, in a way that “I’m sorry” cannot. We practiced it with different scenarios all week.
A peek at next week: We’ll dig into our exploration of trees (one of my favorite weeks) by learning about some trees here in Minnesota and in Israel, planting our own seeds and studying how they grow, and doing some experiments to see how plants “eat.” Depending on the weather, we may take a walk around the grounds to look at different trees and identify them. We’ve been noticing birds flying over us on the playground, so I want to talk a little about birds to see where that interest leads us (hint: I happen to love birds, so I hope they want to discover more). We’ll also learn about the letter Rr.