Happy November Preschool Families! The month of October flew by so fast. The children had so much fun learning about apples and pumpkins. They have been sharing their passion for learning and trying new experiences at school. Every day we always have a few children who share special stories. Their stories are always so creative and fun to listen to. Don’t worry parents…we will keep your secrets!!! J
For the past two weeks we have been learning about the beautiful fall leaves and the joys that fall has to offer. In language arts the children were introduced to the letters L and F and the special sounds these letters make. After we discussed the sounds these two letters made, we made a list of words that began with letter L and F. At first this proved a little challenging for the children so Ms. Denise and I would give the children clues of items these letters began with. Oh, how they love playing games. Within just a few minutes the children began thinking of words all on their own!! The children noticed that capital L/F and lowercase L are composed of straight lines, but lowercase F has a little bit of a curve. We then used our bodies to create these wonderful letters. What fun! One of the most successful ways to help your little one learn the letters is through play. We created letters L and F using duplo blocks. This was a fun way for the children to become more familiar with these letters. They love putting their hands to work, especially using duplo blocks. By using high interest materials to teach academic skills, the children become motivated and engaged in what they are doing. Thus, when they are engaged they learn more. Busy hands are happy hands! While they were creating the letter L, they had no idea of the many different skills they were working on. They were taking turns and sharing the duplos, using good hand-eye coordination, strengthening the muscles in their hands, and gaining flexibility and dexterity. The children also worked on using good verbal communication skills by playing a game called “Magic Bag.” Inside a bag were items that began with either letter L or F. They had to reach into a bag, pull out an item and then they needed to describe what the item was, how it felt, what it looked like, and where they might see this item within their environment. One little boy pulled out a lion from the bag. He scared everyone in the class when from out of nowhere we heard a ferocious “ROAR.” He most certainly enjoyed playing the game!
During language arts time we also worked on writing our name. Learning to move our writing utensil to form the letters of our name takes great practice, patience and muscle strength. They are working hard on this task and Ms. Denise and I are so proud of their efforts. We also had fun matching uppercase letters to lowercase letters. We also read many books about leaves and fall, but the class had two favorite books. One was There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Leaf written by Lucille Colandro. When you swallow leaves, clothes, a pole, a pumpkin and a rope….what can you make? A scarecrow of course! After we read the book, we had a discussion about all of the items the old woman had swallowed. One little boy shared that the little old lady was very lucky because when she swallowed the pole she didn’t break all of her teeth and she didn’t choke on it. From the mouth of babes! Our other favorite book was Leaf Man written by Lois Ehlert. This book took our class on a magical journey involving autumn leaves and the objects that they may create. We all enjoyed looking at the beautiful pictures and with each turning page we couldn’t wait to see what the autumn leaves would create next.
During math we sorted leaves by color, shape and size. We also played Math Bingo. Each child had a bingo sheet with different numbers written on it. They took turns rolling dice and after they rolled the dice, they had to count the black dots. Then they needed to identify the number of dots they had counted to the written numeral. Many children enjoyed counting the black dots, but identifying the number by sight was a little challenging for some of them. To help aid in number identification, the children took part in a math enrichment called How Many Leaves are on the Trees? On each card there was a picture of the trunk of a tree. A number was written next to the tree. The child had to identify the number and put the correct number of fall leaves on the tree branches. Another activity to help the children identify their numbers was tracing numbers using markers. As they traced the numbers they were asked what number they were tracing. Many children held up fingers representing the number they were tracing. We will continue to help the children strengthen number identification as well as understanding the meaning of each number in the following months. The children were also introduced to a scale. What does it mean when one side of the scale is lower than the other side? What does it mean when one side of the scale is higher than the other side? We used pine cones, leaves, gourds and pumpkins to compare which items were lighter/heavier than others. See if your little one can remember which item was the lightest/heaviest. Leaves, pine cones, gourds and pumpkins, oh my! Who knew weighing objects could be so much fun.
The art table is always an area of our room that is enjoyed by many of the children. At this center the children are able to experience different items and textures. The children created beautiful and unique fall leaves using paint and paper. First they had to cut out a leaf shape from white construction paper. We worked on putting our fingers in the scissors the correct way and keeping our wrist straight. I (Ms. Sandy) helped many of the children by holding the paper for them so they could concentrate on using their scissors properly. The words open and close were repeated over and over again. J I bet they can still hear those words in their sleep! Next, a few drops of different colored paint was added to their leaf. I then added a piece of saran wrap to cover the leaf. Many of the children did not like moving the paint under the saran wrap. The purpose of the saran wrap was to allow the children to see the colors mixing and provide a different type of sensory experience while keeping the children’s fingers paint free. I was so pleased to discover that the children wanted to feel the paint under their fingertips. Yes, I thought, they don’t mind getting dirty so off came the saran wrap. The children watched carefully: as the colors began to mix, it created colorful and unique leaves. One little boy sat down next to me and he proceeded to dip one finger in the paint and make dots all over his leaf. As he was experiencing this process, I shared that his dots were quite unique and that they reminded me of little holes found in leaves. I also shared that if he wanted, he could mix the colors together using all of his fingers. He seemed so unsure of my words and then a few minutes later he had this little twinkle in his eyes and before I could blink my eyes, all of his fingers were mixing and smoothing the paint all over his leaf. When I asked him how the paint felt under his fingertips he said, “GREAT”! I was so proud of him for trying a new experience.
We also used play dough to make leaf impressions. This activity involved following multi-step directions. First, we needed to roll the dough into a long snake. Next, the children needed to use the palm of their hands to flatten the snake. Then they needed to press a leaf firmly into the dough. They did a great job listening and following the directions, and they were so excited and proud to see the impression they had created. To celebrate all the different colors of fall around us, the children used colored noodles to create fall necklaces. This was such a fun activity to improve their fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination. As an extension of reading the book Leaf Man, the children created their very own leaf creations. What happens when you give children a little glue, leaves and paper? Leaf dogs, leaf castles, leaf houses, leaf museums, leaf giants, and leaf monsters come to life!
Fall holds a very special place in our hearts and it awakens our senses. We used as many of our senses as possible to experiment in science. We discussed what happens to the trees/leaves during this time of the year. We further investigated what happens to the leaves when they fall off the trees and how long it takes for the leaves to get crunchy. We used our sense of eyesight, touch, hearing and smell to experiment how many days it took for leaves to get crunchy. On day one the children shared that the leaves were soft, colorful and pliable. On day two the children shared that the edges of the leaves started to curl slightly. They also noticed that the color of the leaves were not as bright. On day three the children discovered that the leaves edges were very dry and stiff and very dull in color. When a leaf was crumpled in Ms. Sandy’s hand, they heard CRUNCH! Throughout our journey the children shared that the leaves smelled like perfume and marshmallows. We also took some time to use magnifying glasses to investigate leaves. Many children commented on how big the veins of the leaf appeared. Using our senses in exploration makes learning more meaningful.
We also used a pumpkin, baking soda and vinegar to create a pumpkin-cano. First we cleaned out the inside of a pumpkin. Next we added baking soda. We watched with great anticipation as Ms. Denise added vinegar to the pumpkin. Little squeals of delight could be heard and the look on the children’s faces was priceless. When Ms. Denise added baking soda, an explosion of white foam occurred. Now, no doubt this was exciting to watch but for Ms. Sandy it just wasn’t a big enough “explosion” (I must share that I was anticipating a much larger explosion that what we had witnessed….so we decided to use an empty water bottle instead of the very large pumpkin). Oh my…..talk about explosion and squeals of delight. The size and shape of the water bottle created a much better “volcano” than the pumpkin. It was so exciting to watch that we made our bottle-cano erupt over and over. What a fun and engaging experiment. See if your little one remembers what occurs when you add vinegar to baking soda. Be forewarned parents: if you are looking for a fun activity to do on a rainy or cold day, this is the experiment to do. Just make sure you have a gallon of vinegar and the super large size of baking soda and don’t forget to charge your cellphone for the cutest video ever of your little one. Another fun activity the children took part in was leaf rubbings. What a wonderful way for the children to observe one of the wonders of nature. They were enchanted by the beautiful prints.
Thank you to all the families who have been bringing in bags of leaves for the children to explore and create with. Thank you also for sending in coins for our collection for Pennies for Pies. Your generosity is greatly appreciated and the children have been enjoying watching our bag fill with coins. We have been discussing the importance of helping others and all of the things we can do to accomplish this.
Have a wonderful weekend!
Ms. Sandy and Ms. Denise
Thursday, November 24th-No School Thanksgiving Break