We are always asking our students to stop and look a little closer. "Look at your friends face. What do you see?" "Look at this story. What part really 'popped' for you? How did the author do that?" "Look at that brand new butterfly! What do you see? How is it different?" "Look at this series of numbers. What sort of pattern do you see? How are they changing?" By observing the world around them, children can discover important information, and then we give them a platform to share that information. Sometimes that platform is a teacher who listens closely and sometimes they're publishing books, but we want them to share all of the important things they notice.
Cheryl's PreK Reflections
The "weather reporter" is the most coveted job of morning circle. October is here and this week finally felt like Autumn with some real weather and changes. So leaves were brought inside to examine under the microscope, placed under paper for rubbings, and glued on / painted for art projects. We even pretended to be leaves falling, dancing with scarves set to classical music. Feelings and Self Control are the themes to go alongside all things leaves and pumpkins this month. Each preschooler shared how they felt and brought that to life by then sketching and painting their face.
Ask your child what it means to "check in with a friends' face". We ask children to do this if we see they have hurt a friend by accident or on purpose or if playing with a friend to see if they are still happy and want to continue playing. A felt board story / rhyme and a trip around school to "quiet cozy spots" reminded us to take time away and count or breathe deeply when we are feeling frustrated, angry or sad. We talked about and practiced "kind" hands and that hands are not for hurting (squeeze a flour filled balloon or punch a pillow instead). I love our school because the time we allow for free play really allows our youngest the time and space to practice these crucial developmental skills. Our first Show and Tell was another great opportunity to wait patiently for our own turn, speak in front of our peers, and watch their faces (of delight!) as they got to share something special to them. Community and peace in the works is a beautiful thing to witness.
Our Theme: Monarchs
We have monarchs erupting from chrysalises everywhere! It is such a special gift watching them crack open and re-enter the world. Before we release them, we are "tagging" them with a small sticker (thanks Scott and the River Center), as part of a national Monarch research project. If these monarchs are found by researchers in Mexico, they will let us know! Read more about the research project at Monarchwatch.org. Some of the kids were particularly tickled to watch one take a sip from one of the zinnias we planted last year before heading south.
Our New Theme: Chemistry
We are delving into the science of matter, looking at its composition, properties, and changes that can occur. This week our scientists did some activities related to materials in solution. They experimented to see which type of water dissolved salt more rapidly and completely. They looked to see how food coloring and colored drink mix spread in water. Our older scientists discovered that gas can be in a solution with carbonated water and observed to see what adding salt or a piece of candy would do to that solution. Meanwhile our younger scientists used different clear liquids to see what helped to most fully dissolve colored sugar. Ask your scientist to tell you more details about their discoveries and to share some of their ideas for more experiments.
This past week we talked about and looked for some common sight words. We also introduced the concept of brainstorming to help us generate lots of ideas before picking out a favorite or two. We've been looking at the stories of Laura Numeroff: If You Give a Pig a Party, If You Give a Dog a Donut, and If You Give a Pig a Pancake. We also read The Day Jimmy's Boa Ate the Wash and compared and contrasted this story with Laura Numeroff's stories. As a class, we're working on a book called "If you Give a Moth a Moon." Many of the children were also inspired to write their own story of this type in their notebooks.
We'll keep looking closely, and let you know what new things we discover next week.