Everyone stand up for trees! This week, we celebrated trees, backyard birds, the letter Dd, and Jack turning four. Please read below for a summary of topics in our week.
Trees and Tu B’Shevat. Over the weekend, most of the kids’ seedlings experienced serious growth. We got out rulers to measure, some even more than a foot high.
The kids had lots of opportunities to create art to celebrate the holiday. Some made giant paper trees, dot-to-dot trees, and paper birthday crowns for trees.
We practiced our tree songs (Stand Up For Trees, Tu-Tu-Tu B’Shevat, If I Were A Tree, and My Roots Go Down) each day- they are such fun to play and sing. The kids made a birthday card for Jack on Wednesday, and then again for the trees!
On Thursday, most kids chose to make a gift for the trees by spreading sun butter on a pinecone and shaking birdseed all over it. These went home to bring some bird life to your backyard.
Then, during snack time, we held a short seder going through the four seasons and tried different fruits from trees. We added pretzel sticks and butterfly fruit snacks to build trees; sometimes it’s fun to play with your food!
Backyard Birds. Our winter trees in Minnesota are hosts to many beautiful backyard birds. We learned about the cardinal, chickadee (which happens to tweet the sound of our letter this week), bluejay, and woodpecker. Many kids drew these birds in class, and the results were fabulous. Emily and I took turns guiding the kids in a step-by-step tutorial for these bird drawings. It’s a good exercise in following directions, and it’s a confidence booster to some kids who feel they “can’t” draw. We know they can!
Perhaps the most fun this week was seeing real chickadees at our window bird feeder. We’ll continue to care for them for the rest of the winter, now that they’ve found us. On Friday, we’ll talk all about owls.
Dramatic Play. We’re winding down our ice rink, and probably just in time. As is the way each month, the class naturally seems to find itself “played out” of an idea. So, expect conversations next week about the changes. Emily and I are taking cues from the kids on this. Usually I make a big cardboard castle in February, and this year the kids say they want a beach. Maybe a sandcastle?
Social/Emotional Skills: SecondStep. This week we focused on strong feelings, particularly the feeling of being frustrated. Most kids could tell me strategies to get their bodies calm, like “breathing four times”, “find a quiet place”, and “talk to the teacher.” All great ideas. Our curriculum introduced an idea to put their hands on their tummy and say to themselves “Stop.” The idea is that this will remind them to begin calming down, to become aware of their feelings.
A peek at next week: It’s a new month, so we’ll change the games, puzzles, books, and dramatic play areas. Our foci for February will include learning about the holiday of Purim, fairy tales and pirate stories, how to be a friend, and the oceanside. For next week, we’ll ease into this with the kids by brainstorming ideas about castles and the beach, learning about the letter Gg, and the classic tale of The Three Billy Goats Gruff.