Friday, December 21, 2018

Morah Katie: What have we been exploring this week?
Lochlan: Seasons.
Clive: Four of them.
Emily: It's windy in fall.
Lochlan: Flowers bloom after winter from spring.
Moshe: Plants go down when it's winter, when the snow comes.
Evan: There's winter and fall.
Lochlan: Spring and summer.
Clive: Spring can't decide if it will be a rainy day or sunny day.
Lochlan: In winter, bears go to hibernate. Fall is also whacky and can't decide if it will rain or be sunny.

Morah Katie: Today is thursday, we know friday will is the first day of winter.  If tomorrow is the first day of winter, what does that make today?
Lochlan: The last day of fall.
While the rain took a break, we quickly left our classroom activities behind and took a walk to observe fall weather in action.
It was a whacky fall weather day indeed. We had to postpone our first attempt due to rain.
The children observed gray clouds moving fast in the sky, the wind in action and felt cold air on their cheeks.

Friday, December 14, 2018

I began the blog three different times today. Each time it began with a different topic, but each time it also arrived at the same point- the ways in which we try to equip these young children to be successful.
There are many lessons happening in the classroom: 
Sophia is searching for the letter of interest- this week it is "t". She found it many times on the calendar.

I had prepared an activity inspired by the story The Mitten, by Jan Brett.  It provided me the opportunity to observe two important skills needed for kindergarten success
  1. telling a story in sequential order
  2. understanding and following multi-step directions

We practiced counting, writing and addition using dominos. 
Having had the initial lesson of this new way to use the dominos, the children can grab a pair of dominos and practice adding when they are drawn to it. 

As I watched the children build with blocks and create books, I listened to conversations and I listened to things not said.  I watched smiles arise on faces, and looks of worry shadow others.  I saw joy and frustration.

Ultimately,  the most important lessons come back to those which help the children grow to value hard work and perseverance, and compassion for themselves and others.  

While we pour our hearts into creating a loving and safe space for the children at The Gan, as well as an individual plan for each child, we also recognize, that despite all of this, things may sometimes feel scary for a child.
The world is BIG to them and they have no control over it.  This can cause a struggle.

What do we do when we witness these young people struggle?
We  evaluate what is working and what we can do better.
We continue to pouring our hearts into the classroom- preparing it everyday to be an inviting, safe and loving place for your children.
And we let them struggle, a bit.
If we don't let them struggle, what could we be denying them?
We encourage them to practice at whatever it is that is causing the struggle.
By practicing we can look at what we have accomplished. We ask what worked, and what we could do differently.
Makayah explained practicing to Zoey.
Makayah: That's what preschool is for.

The girls went off to find something that Zoey could do.
Makayah: Zoey you can climb the engine when you are bigger like me and Lochlan. Let's do something we can do now.

We allow them to experience failure and to see what they can create from it.  
Emily wanted to build something specific.  It was not working out because the blocks she wanted were in use. She did not give up, she adjusted her plan.  
She pulled from her past experiences and growth to create something positive.
We hope the children will allow themselves to take risks and be imperfect.
 As they grow, they will engage the world knowing they are loved, worthy and valued.

Friday, December 7, 2018

Menorahs all around

We celebrated the Chanukah holiday with a classroom 
full of fun Chanukah themed activities, manipulatives and experiences.

Balance Menorah
Children walked down the tape to each branch of the menorah to "light" the shamash and the candles.
The child practices lighting a menorah as she develops focus and body awareness.

Tracing Menorahs
Tracing fosters the opportunity for children to strengthen their fine motor control and their eye/hand coordination.

Play dough Menorahs
Play dough develops the muscles in a child's hands needed for writing, cutting 
and other fine motor tasks.

Reading the Chanukah story
"Reading" and retelling the Chanukah story to each other helps each friend comprehend more about the Chanukah miracles.  
Every time they share, they prepare themselves for a greater understanding as they grow.

Lego Menorahs
Lego help preschoolers refine fine motor skills, increase their patience 
and develop problem solving skills.

Spinning the Dreidel
Spinning refines fine motor skills.  The children are learning their Hebrew letters the dreidels fall.
Winning and losing graciously is developed as the children cheer each other.