During a recent Nancy visit, she had each child take a sniff of a special smell. Everyone quieted as they focused on the task, and then Nancy asked them if the smell put a picture in their heads. Not everyone got a clear picture, but many of the children chimed in with images and stories. "There's no way to be wrong on this because your memory is correct for you," assured Nancy.
Whether we are learning about the counting cookies or a school day in China, we have stories to tell. We use stories to help teach our social curriculum. When children learn through stories, they tell them again and again until their knowledge becomes more secure.
Rachel's PreK Reflections
Coming back from a week break this time really made me realize how much the children have grown emotionally, socially, and academically since the start of the year. They are able to do all sorts of things that they couldn’t do at the beginning of the year—recite lots of poems and rhymes, identify plenty of classical music composers, recognize colors, body parts, and animal names in Spanish, and so much more! This last week, I’ve watched them solve their own problems between friends, regain composure after feeling upset, and actively participate in longer stretches of “Circle Time.” These skills are going to help them at home, in life long term, and they act as preparation for success next year in school as many will move up a grade or into full-day status.
Our learning this week included continuing our studies on the human body, introducing a nature treasure sorting element to our Nature table (you’ll see one of our students matching one of the treasure items to a laminated tree identification flip chart I have), and a lot of number play. Reviewing the correct way to write numbers, playing with addition and subtraction up through ten, counting to 100, and place value were all some of the concepts we focused on! The children created “math stories”, counted the pretend cookies they “ate” or the number of exercises they did, and enjoyed lots of ways to learn these things through play and stories. We love to make learning fun!
Old Theme: Rock Cycle
Earthshake: Poems from the Ground Up gave us a wonderful series of poems about geology, blending our poetry and rock studies seamlessly. We finished off our models of the earth this week, and everyone was chattering away about the inner core, mantle, and crust. It also gave us another opportunity to pull out our world maps and talk about continents, hemispheres, and oceans as the children painted the final touches. We also did a final lesson on erosion where the children worked in small groups to create a landscape and then watched how "rain" impacted their creation. We took the shortest field trip ever to the bottom of our driveway to see how our heavy rains impacted our driveway. The children noticed the forking patterns and how the larger rocks were left behind. "It's like the Grand Canyon!"
New Theme: China
We started our new theme by brainstorming what we already know (or think we know) about China. We watched a short film about school in China, and the children created a Venn diagram finding the places where our school day is similar and different to the one that was shown. We asked the children what they wanted to learn, and this will help to shape the direction of our theme. Demi's The Empty Pot prompted a lively discussion on how this Chinese folktale might reflect values of the society.