M is for mittens (and Mia and Millie). This week, we learned about the letter M along with the activities around the classic tale The Mitten. Please read below for a summary of topics in our week.
Storytelling. The Mitten is a story that is great fun for preschoolers. Eight animals, looking for warmth, choose to stretch into a child’s knitted mitten. We first read the book, then talked about whether or not it could actually happen. We discussed three vocabulary words: definitely, possibly, and impossible, making hand motions for all three to remind us of what they mean. Most of the kids thought the story was impossible, but a few wanted to believe it was possible, with one deciding it was definitely a true story. (That’s why working with young kids is so great- they are the best dreamers!) We then gave the kids the opportunity to act out the story, which was great fun. Taking turns, the kids were the animals while the teachers told the story. We have some kids who love to act in our class!
On Friday, the kids will be able to organize themselves in this activity, and we’ll also do some sequencing activities about the order of the animals, their sizes, and maybe even sounding out the spelling of the animal names in small groups.
Letter Mm. I introduced the letter Mm in our meeting, and all week the kids came up with words, the first one being “mom”. Ms. Emily and I set out paper, yarn, hole punchers and let the kids make their own paper mittens. There’s a lot of planning, concentration, and skill required to trace your own hand, cut it out, punch holes successfully, cut a piece of yarn, and then weave it through. The product may seem small, but the work was big. All of these actions support hand strengthening to get them ready for writing. The process is everything!
Trees and Tu B’Shevat. Our seedlings are sprouting! The kids each began their own seed book and have added at least two pages documenting the growing process. It’s been fun to take care of these delicate bean sprouts each day.
Ms. Emily led the kids in a painting project inspired by The Lorax. The kids painted trees with clothespin and pom-pom brushes, mixing colors and creating over several days. We’re also continuing to practice our tree songs together.
Recycled Materials as Play Tools. Most preschoolers love building. Empty boxes, cardboard tubes, even Solo cups can spark joy when kids are invited to build with them. And when they can use tape, the fun is increased: I’m not sure what it is about kids and tape, but they go together. We are always taking donations of cardboard tubes, empty paper towel rolls, and empty toilet paper rolls.
Dramatic Play. We added hockey to our rink this week, using foam pool noodles and sponges for sticks and pucks. Some kids like the challenge, while others prefer to just skate and snack.
Ms. Emily also helped some of the kids make paper cookies and pretzels to add to our concession stand.
Social/Emotional Skills: SecondStep. We feel feelings in our bodies-this was the key concept in the lessons for the week. As always, the lessons are delivered using puppets, photos, and games. In teaching about how some feelings are comfortable and others are uncomfortable, that clues in your body help you identify your feelings, and that it’s important to talk to a grown-up when you feel worried, we are hopefully helping kids be more socially and emotionally competent. We want them to learn how to recognize physical clues about upsetting emotions, and that talking about feelings with an adult is an important coping skill.
A peek at next week: We will celebrate Jack who is turning four next week and also the birthday of the trees. We’ll study some birds in winter here in Minnesota and make some gifts for the trees and birds (hopefully, the weather will cooperate). The kids have requested a PreK Pajama Day for Friday, which sounds great to Ms. Emily and me. In our ice rink, we’ll add some props to make hot cocoa. We’ll also learn about the letter Dd, complete our seed books, and make a class book about trees to share.