Friday, January 6, 2017

Happy 2017!

Preschool is "Snow Much Fun"!

Welcome back and happy New Year!  Despite the holidays being over, we still had some "caroling" happening in the classroom this week!  Some friends wrote out their list of songs, practiced and performed!

Although the COLD weather kept us inside most of the week we still celebrated the snow!  The children made pretend snow globes using white paint and a pencil eraser to make prints that looked like falling snow.  In the end, we put pictures of ourselves inside!  A few examples...

The children were excited to be back at school after the two week break.  They spent most of Tuesday and Wednesday socializing with each other and getting reacquainted with favorite activities, materials, routines and specialists.  We went around the circle during our morning meeting on Tuesday and every child shared something special they did over winter break.  Stories revolved around family celebrations, spending time with loved ones, skiing, skating, sledding, trips to warm places and more.  We recorded a winter break favorite in our journals.  It sounds like all had a wonderful vacation! 

Pictures of happy kids ready to be back at school...

January is a quiet and calm month in preschool, which allows for long periods of meaningful play, creative art exploration and quality one-on-one work time with each student in the classroom.  As we enter the second half of the school year, we continue to observe and monitor each child's development and plan accordingly for their needs.  It is truly amazing to see their growth socially, emotionally and academically since the start of the year and they are becoming increasingly independent in so many ways!

Other highlights from the week...

Over break it officially turned to WINTER and it sure feels like it!  We read some stories about our new season and discussed activities the children like to do that are unique to winter in Minnesota.  The children mentioned skiing, snowboarding, sledding, making snowmen, ice skating and more.  We had a great discussion about how you can't do these in every state because of the weather and looked at our map to find places you cannot go sledding or skiing during the winter, such as Florida.  The children agreed that even though winter is cold in Minnesota there are some pretty fun things to do!  We graphed our favorite winter activity and interpreted the data by counting the results.  We learned that skiing is the overall favorite!

We completed our monthly glyph project, which are mittens!  The children answered more questions about their winter favorites in Minnesota and had to use counting and patterning strategies to make designs on their own mittens.  As the year progresses, we see the children recognizing familiar words on our glyph charts, which is wonderful to see.  They are also getting really good at interpreting the data on each other's glyphs and enjoy comparing and contrasting.  They are using great math vocabulary when they talk to each other such as most, least, more, less, equal, etc.  They will often choose to read each other's glyphs during choice time in the classroom.

A few things we noticed about our class:

-7 of us like wearing gloves best and 9 of us like wearing mittens best.
-13 of us like winter time and 3 of us do not.
-Most of us like ice skating.
-14 of us like sledding and 2 of us do not.
-10 of us have made a snowman before and 6 of us have not.

We put our fine motor skills to work and turned our classroom into a winter wonderland by making snowflakes!  The children learned how to fold the paper and cut out different shapes in order to make unique and beautiful snowflakes.  Cutting different lines and shapes with scissors is another important small motor skill that the children continue to practice and develop.


The Richfield Readers made a visit!  They read and acted out stories about winter for us.  They performed The Wild Toboggan Ride and Tacky the Penguin.  After their visits, the children are always eager to perform and re-tell their favorite stories in the classroom. We always love their visits!

The children were eager to get back in the project room and enjoyed some collaborative constructive play.  They demonstrated team work in order to plan and build structures with a favorite engineering material.  When children use this building material they are developing so many wonderful skills that include spatial awareness, planning, creativity, design thinking, problem solving and collaboration to name a few. We will have more projects and challenges coming next week, but loved having the opportunity to build "freely" this week!


Letters and their sounds continue to be a daily part of our conversations in preschool.  We focus mostly on the letter sounds but also highlight the traits that make up each specific letter, such as a letter D is a "big line down and a big curve".  We completed a "letter construction" activity and practiced building upper and lower case letters while sharing in discussion about the lines, curves and circles that make each letter.  We highlighted the sounds as we went too.  As usual, the children love relating letter sounds and identification to friends names!

Our CARE theme for this month is tolerance, which is being taught to the children as understanding and respecting each other's differences and accepting each other for who we each individually are.  We discuss this a lot in preschool and will continue to make the topic of tolerance a part of our daily conversations with the children.

Next week we begin a more in depth study of Minnesota, which will continue until spring break.  The children will be busy learning many things about our state as they engage in stories, projects, guest speakers, field trips, classroom materials and more.  We use the book Antler, Bear, Canoe-A North Woods Alphabet Year by Minnesota author and illustrator Besty Bowen as a guide through our study along with many other Minnesota themed children's literature.  The stories and conversation enrich the children's language skill and lead to many investigations about Minnesota animals, lakes, rivers, landmarks, weather, symbols and more.  The children love learning about what makes Minnesota such a neat place to live!

Dates to Remember:

Monday, January 16th- Martin Luther King Jr. Day- No School

Monday, January 23rd- Visit from the Raptor Center

A Look Ahead to February:

Wednesday, February 1st- Lower School CARE shirt day

Tuesday, February 14th- Valentine's Day Celebration

Friday, February 17th- Faculty Workshop-No School

February 20th- Presidents' Day- No School

Have a great weekend!


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