Friday, December 2, 2016

December is Here!

First of all, a peek from LAST week!  Grandparents' Day was a success and the children were so excited to share what they love about school with their guests.  They especially enjoyed sharing their favorite classroom activities, specialists and songs and poems we have learned.

It sounds like everyone had a fun, relaxing and joyful Thanksgiving with family and friends!

In other news...

"It's the most wonderful time of the year!"


The children are officially in the "holiday spirit" in room L53!  Drawings and stories at the art table now revolve around elves, reindeer, snowmen and Christmas trees galore!  December is another fun-filled, magical time for the children and we fully embrace this in preschool.  The classroom is filled with holiday stories, projects, poems, songs and celebrations throughout this month.  We started off Tuesday morning decorating our classroom tree together!



Some more holiday themed activities in preschool...



Weekly highlights...

On Thursday morning the preschoolers noticed our new month of December right away as they always do when it is a new month.  One of their favorite things to do when we have a new month is look at all of the upcoming events and read our monthly poem.  We counted down the days until Hanukkah and Christmas, which was probably the most exciting part!

As part of our study of Minnesota through the seasons, we began talking about evergreen trees and our new season that is approaching...WINTER.  We looked on our playground and noticed that the evergreen trees are the only ones that are still green.  All of the other trees do not have leaves anymore.  They also learned that they are called evergreen trees because they stay green all year long, even during our freezing cold winter!

The children learned about symmetry this week when they created their very own evergreen trees by drawing half of one on a folded piece of paper and cutting it out.  We noticed that by doing so, the tree ends up the exact same on both sides...pretty neat!

Later, the children loved decorating their unique trees with all sorts of different materials.  Here are some of the "after" pictures of our beautiful evergreens...


On Thursday morning, we enjoyed a little walk on our campus and there were even a few snowflakes were falling!  We specifically went in search of evergreen trees since we learned about them this week.  Before our walk we talked about what clues to look for in an evergreen tree, which the children shared were pine needles, the color green and pine cones!  We went on the same walk we had gone on earlier this Fall and made observations of the changes.  We noticed there were not leaves on any of the trees we had visited back in October. We did however, find many evergreen trees of all different shapes and sizes.  Some were really tall and others were very short.  We enjoyed looking at the different sized needles on the trees, finding pine cones and observing the different shades of green the evergreen trees were. We brought some "evergreen artifacts" back to the classroom for observation!


After our nature walk, we journaled our discoveries and findings through illustration.  The children are doing a fantastic job of using letter sounds to write personally significant words and sentences that go along with the pictures they draw in their journals or books they write in the classroom.  They often refer to our alphabet chart above the art table, a familiar friends name or our word wall when looking for a specific letter sound.  Watching the children make these connections is so fun to see!


The "L53" bakery opened this week!  The children made pretend cookies of many different shapes with play dough.  The fun thing about this play dough though, is that it smells like candy canes!  They enjoyed decorating their pretend cookies with beads, which is a wonderful small motor task.  Play dough exploration continues to be an excellent activity that helps build strength and stamina in young children's hands for writing and drawing.

As part of our letter construction in the project room before Thanksgiving, the children had the challenge to build letters in a new way.  They had to form letters using NO materials...the only thing they could use was themselves!  They were given the letter sound, the vocabulary to build the letter and had to create it!  Some letters they could build independently and others they had to use team work in groups of two, three or four.  It sure was challenging, but they used collaboration, problem solving and teamwork to complete the task.  We also used some sticks to create the letters once we did it with our bodies.  The children are learning the correct method to form each letter and identify the unique qualities and characteristics of each one.  See if you can guess a few of the letters we created in the examples below...

After, we added the pictures of our body letter creations to our preschool letter wall!


We also began adding "environmental print" words to our classroom word wall!  Environmental print is the print children see in their everyday life. Some examples include signs on the street (stop signs) or in familiar buildings (exit signs), candy wrappers, stores you frequently shop at and more.  Environmental print helps build those emergent reading connections as children make sense of letters and sounds.  Plus, the children find success with environmental print words because they can independently read them.  We added a few to our wall this week and made beginning sound connections to the environmental print and friends names.  We will continue to add more as the year progresses!

Just another friendly reminder to please send snow pants, boots, hats and mittens/gloves (preferably water proof ones) with your child to school once the snow arrives.  We obviously do not have any snow right now, but it is cold enough for the children to need hats and mittens when we play.  Thank you very much!

Next week brings more excitement in preschool and a new project room challenge that is going to involve creating marble runs!

Dates to Remember:

Monday, December 12th- Preschool Hanukkah Celebration

Thursday, December 15th- Lower School Holiday Program at 6:30 p.m.
*The Holiday Program will take place in the chapel at 6:30.  Please have the children in the classroom by 6:15.  Children are encouraged to wear "semi-dressy" attire.

Friday, December 16th- Preschool Holiday Celebration and Reading of Peef the Christmas Bear by author Tom Hegg

Saturday, December 17th- Monday, January 2nd- Winter Vacation- No School

Tuesday, January 3rd- School Reconvenes

Have a wonderful weekend!


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