If you are into social media, you will see that everyone is posting what they are thankful for this month. It comes fairly easy for adults, but what about children? Do children, especially young children, know what it means to be thankful? Probably not. That’s why we need to teach them!
At this time of year in early childhood centers all over, classroom themes typically revolve around the fact that at the end of the month there is a holiday called Thanksgiving. Some themes include harvest, turkey’s, foods and more. Currently in our school, our toddlers are learning about different foods and our preschoolers are beginning to learn about being thankful.
So, how do you teach about being thankful to preschool aged children? Well, first, don’t expect them to be thankful for things such as food to eat, clothes to wear, a house to live in, etc. We have heard little ones tell an array of things over the years from having a mommy/daddy that loves me to having a specific toy to play with. It doesn’t matter what the children say that they are thankful for, what matters is that they are starting to learn what it means to… Continue reading
Are your young ones worrying about monsters under the bed , in the closet by the front door or in the dark corners of the basement? If so, combat their fears by introducing them to some friendly, fun loving monsters and make those fears disappear. Stories are a wonderful way to deal with many different issues children face each day. Here are a few stories that I love and recommend for chasing those monster fears away.
Where The Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak, is an old favorite about a little boy sent to his room because of his behavior. He drifts off to a land of make believe monsters where there are no rules and no parents. He has a rollicking time with the monsters but eventually he returns to his family realizing he would rather have his loving family than all the monster fun in the world. This story provides a great starting point for talking about consequences and why parents sometimes have to make children do things they don’t want to do. This book is a little longer than some of these selections and is probably most suitable for 4-6 year olds.
Another one that I… Continue reading
Wow! I can’t believe it’s been a year and a half since our last blog post!!! To say we have been a little busy is an understatement. What have we been doing? Well, during the same month as our last post we got our half-day preschool room licensed for full-day daycare. Two months later in June, our infant room was licensed for daycare. We got a very small school age room licensed just in time for the start of the 2012-2013 school year so our kiddos who were preschoolers wouldn’t have to leave us as they started kindergarten. Finally, in January, our toddler room was created and licensed. Since January, Margaret and Kristen have stepped out of the classroom and taken on full-time administrative roles. The stress of taking care of all the administrative duties PLUS lesson planning and implementation has changed to a different level of stress, but we love it. We miss being in the classroom but we are also enjoying what we are doing.
The past year and a half has been busy but we have many more projects to conquer. One of these projects is this blog…we want to bring it back to life! We… Continue reading
Yesterday was one of those days that makes you remember why you teach little children. It was also a day for the lesson plans to be set aside. The children were in charge of their play today and boy did they get creative. It started with a new piece of climbing equipment and went from there.
Our classroom became the firehouse and the children were firefighters and rescue personnel. We, the teachers , were the poor victims in need of rescue. Art smocks became fire coats and backpacks became air tanks. They used pool noodles as fire hoses and rest mats as their bunks. They even took the play into the housekeeping area to serve meals for the firefighters.
It is so much fun to watch children use their imaginations and create their own play setting. As teachers we sometimes lose track of how important this type of play is to children. Their imagination needs to be encouraged as it develops so that they can grow into thinking individuals that can problem solve and think outside of the box.
So as teachers we need to look at the ordinary things we bring into the classroom and not only allow but… Continue reading
As spring time unfolds and the weather warms we all want to get outside. If you are the parent of a preschooler , or any aged child, you can take the learning right outside in the yard or the park or anywhere you happen to be. Being observant is a skill that is important to develop in young children. You don’t need to be prepared with a lesson or an activity. Just go outside and see what you can see.
The younger your child is the closer to the ground you will be searching for something to observe. Start by talking about what you see, hear and smell. Find something to focus on and talk about what you see. Describe in detail what you are looking at and then ask your child to look for the same things . If you see a flower ready to bud, talk about the color and what is going to happen next. Ask them to find more, even if its right next to the one you found. Watching a worm inch through the dirt can be fascinating when done through the eyes of a child. Don’t forget to look up too. You can… Continue reading
What kid doesn’t love blocks? Blocks come in so many different shapes, sizes and weights. Our classroom has all sorts of different blocks, but the ones that they seem to love the most are the ones the BIG blocks that they have to move their whole bodies to use. I’m talking about these:
Don’t they look cool? These are sooo easy to make and even better…CHEAP to make! We all have boxes lying around or know someone who does. All you need to start is a few boxes. Get an arrangement of different sizes and shapes. You don’t need to go buying boxes, but use what you have or will have (from online shopping, shoe boxes, paper ream boxes, etc.). Regular items that you may have around the house that you can save the box after use would be cereal boxes, rice boxes, sweetener boxes, paperclip boxes, etc. If it’s made of cardboard and can be closed on all sides, it’s fair game! You also don’t need a lot, you are going to build your collection of blocks over time. The boxes don’t need to be overly sturdy but you don’t want something that is easily squeezed either.
The next item you… Continue reading
The kids enjoyed a variety of art activities. We learned that the simplest of art projects were the most liked!
For the above activity, we put out brown and green paint and told the children to make a coconut tree from the book Chicka Chicka Boom Boom. We love to see the variability in the abilities of the different ages. This next activity we clipped paper to both sides of the easel and left strips of dot stickers in the tray. We gave the children no directions, just that they could put as many stickers on the paper wherever they would like.
Notice the stickers in the corner in the picture on the right? The little boy who made who placed those stickers said they were his Chicka Chicka Boom Boom trees.
During circle, we explored a real coconut and charted what we saw, what it felt like, sounded like and smelt like. After we played a modification of the games Hot Potato and musical chairs.
The kids passed around… Continue reading
This is such a simple activity that takes all of 10 minutes to make and the kids will just love! All you do is take some ziplock bags, put a little paint inside and use duck tape on the top. Give the kids a Q-tip and let them draw, write letters, numbers, shapes, let their imaginations go wild.
This is a great wait to target writing skills without using paper and pencils.
We had a fun week with the Chicka Chicka Boom Boom theme this week. The kids learned a lot about the alphabet and coconuts. Here are some of the math activities we did this week:
We played a game that we made with templates from the Making Learning Fun website. The directions had ‘boom’ cards which, when drawn, the child lost a turn. We took these out as they were already waiting long enough for a turn.
We simply printed out the number cards in color and laminated and printed out one number tree for each child.
We started with a nice neat pile with the numbers upside down, but they didn’t stay that way long. Each child had a turn picking a number, they told us what it was than used a bingo dauber to mark it on their tree. You can see my notes in the above picture-we also used this as an assessment and noted which children could label which numbers, who could match numbers, etc.
The kids seemed to really enjoy this game and we were quite surprised how long they played it for. We will definitely do games like this again!
Unfortunately we only remembered to take one… Continue reading
We are teachers who believe there is no need to use worksheets to learn until about first grade. Here is a great article on this very topic. Young children need fun, hands on activities to learn, and that is what we do here at Bright Starts. It saddens us that so many teachers think their job is to spend hours sifting through books and standing at the copy machine while they could be making fun learning experiences that can be used over and over again. Sure, it takes time to make some of these activities, but many can be used repeatedly over years. Here are some examples:
- Have children lay down in different shapes like circle, square and triangle-also targets motor planning and problem solving
- Use Bendaroos to make shapes instead of having children draw them-also targets fine motor skills
- Laminate shape printouts and use as playdoh mats-also sensory play
- Shape puzzles-also targets fine motor skills and problem solving
- Paint, let kids mix colors together to make new colors-also targets cause and effect, sensory and science skills
- Play matching games such as matching the paintbrush to the same color paint can-also targets visual processing… Continue reading