Friday, April 20, 2018

Everyday is Earth Day!

Earth day is this weekend (April 22nd), but in preschool we started celebrating this week!  We read various stories and discussed ways that we can take care of our earth and the environment.  Most importantly, the children learned that they should treat everyday like Earth Day and that their actions really can make a difference!

We also enjoyed (hopefully one last time), of playing in deep snow!  You would never know it's April based off these pictures from the playground Monday!

What a crazy spring!

Weekly highlights...

We reviewed our globe, which the children still love exploring during choice time.  They made their own earth picture by filling in a circle with blue and green tissue paper, the blue representing all of the water on our earth and the green representing the land.  The most fun part was getting to spray water onto the tissue paper.  The tissue paper and water created beautiful images that looked just like earth.  We also took pictures posing how they would stand stand if they were "on top of the world"!  We pasted the picture of ourselves on our own earth pictures to show how much we love our earth!


On Tuesday morning we had a wonderful visit from the Minnesota Zoomobile!  The Zoomobile brought four different Minnesota animals for the children to see and learn about.  They got to see a Great Horned Owl, Wood Turtle, Bull Snake, and Porcupine.  The presentation provided them with more information about each unique animal, their habitats and what they eat.  They were excellent listeners and had great questions for the presenter. At they very end, they each got to feel the snake if they wanted.  A few pictures from a fun morning...


We did some more planting and also learned that planting gardens is helpful for our earth!  This week, we planted basil seeds and placed them in the preschool grow lab.  The children are excited to watch these seeds grow too.  They continue to eagerly check our  grass, bean and corn seeds each morning.  The grass is getting quite tall!  There have been a lot of interesting things happening with our corn and bean seeds too.

Checking out our grass seeds...


An example of the bean seed and corn seeds we planted.  The children were thrilled to see roots coming from the seeds!  The kids have been observing, comparing and contrasting the two different seeds.  They check them each day to make note of the growth and change they observe.

We have been busy re-telling the story of how a plant grows.  The children have been loving this quite challenging and large floor puzzle as they sequence the steps of how a plant grows from seed all the way to plant.  They have been collaborating in order to complete it too, which is so fun to see!

Since we have been watching a seed start to grow "in action", the children also made their own plant sequencing books using stamps, so they can tell you the story of how a plant grows.  They used their knowledge of letter sounds and wrote the words seed, root, shoot, leaves and plant to match each picture.  They had fun sequencing the steps and reading their books to each other!

After reading about and discussing different ways we can help take care of our environment, they each chose at least one thing they can do in order to help.  They wrote the words of what they can do and illustrated a picture to go with it.  They used crayon to draw their picture and once they finished, they painted water color over the crayon to look like our earth.  Ideas among the children consisted off recycling, planting a garden, using both sides of the paper, riding a bike, turning off lights and more.  The preschoolers sure know how to keep our earth happy and healthy!  All of our "earth" pictures will be on display next week.


Adding water color today...

We have been busy reading books about robots lately.  We read a book called Hello Robots, which the children wanted to read over and over again.  It sparked an interest for robots, as the children had many questions about making them, what they do, how they work, and more.  We decided to get more books about robots from the library and have been busy reading!  A few of our current favorite robot books are Robots, Robots Everywhere By Sue Fleiss, The Robot Book By Heather Brown, R is for Robot by Adam F. Watkins, and Robot By Jon Scieszka and David Shannon.

Our robot wonderings led to creating robots with metal loose part materials.  The children especially loved exploring and experimenting with metal materials.  They put their imaginations to use and used them to create many different robots.  They used The Robot Book to help remember all of the different parts a robot needs in order to work!  Mostly, they enjoyed playing and tinkering with screws, bolts, washers, and other "gadgets" as the children called them!  A few examples...


Our robot inquiries were taken even further when we were reading an ABC book about taking care of earth and the letter "Ii" was for use your IMAGINATION.  The children were thrilled to see that the illustration was of a child creating a robot out of recycled materials!  Recycling has also been a topic of conversation this week, and the children have been learning more about why this is important.  After seeing the robot picture, they immediately decided they could make recycled robots too AND it would be helpful to our earth.  Luckily, we have many saved recycled materials from our preschool project room space so we got our brains thinking of how we could turn them into robots.

Checking out the recycled materials and thinking about how they might put them together in order to create their robot...


Today, we started making our plans.  After observing the recycled materials and thinking about how they want their robot to look, they made an initial list of materials they will be needing for their robot construction.  They also drew a picture of what they want their robot to look like (we practiced imagining and creating pictures in our minds), which helped with choosing materials.  Encouraging children to make plans, as we are doing with our robots, helps children build executive functioning skills.  A few examples of executive functioning skill development happening in these types of tasks are:
  • Organizing, planning and prioritizing
  • Self-Monitoring
  • Starting and staying focused on specific tasks to completion
  • Remembering instructions
  • Self-Control
Next week, the children will start creating their recycled robots.  They are also going to invent names for them and share in detail what their robots' job and function are, just as we have been reading about in many books.  The children are doing all of the writing, drawing and creating independently, so many other important skills are being applied during this project.  We can't wait to see what unfolds next week with our robot exploring and investigating!

Initial "recycled robot" planning...


We ended the week with a visit from a 5th grade English class.  They have been learning about story-telling.  They each wrote and are practicing performing their stories with actions and facial expressions.  They thought the preschoolers would be a perfect audience to practice with!  This is just one of the many joys of being on a P-12 campus!

Dates to Remember:

Friday, April 27th- Field Trip to Stages Theater to see Whoever You Are

Friday, May 4th- Lower School CARE Shirt Day

Friday, May 11th- Field Trip to Gale Woods Farm

Monday, May 28th- Memorial Day- No School

Friday, June 1st- Lower School Closing

Have a wonderful, sunshine filled weekend!