Monday, September 17, 2012

Apples and Honey for a Sweet New Year!

Nothing beats the sweetness of Rosh Hashanah, or Jewish New Year.   Apples and honey offer hopes of a sweet new year, and also give us great focal points for the week's curriculum.


A couple of simple activity trays get us in the mood for our apple picking adventures at Gidzich Ranch!

Sorting "apples" (wax paper balls covered in masking tape) by color  into bushels (dixie cups covered in masking tape with masking tape handles)
Stick the apples to the tree, then pick them off with the tweezers

This is why we have been continuously introducing new works...the children eat it up!

It wouldn't be Rosh Hashanah if we weren't satisfying the sweet tooth with some honey cake.  With a few adaptations, we used this recipe and it turned out delish.

L'Shanah Tova!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Thrifty Thursday: Duct Tape

I told the children that I would take off the broken basket on our very old, second hand scooter. It was already past its prime when it landed in our play yard. Yet we find it a beloved vehicle and can't seem to throw it away.

The children suggested we tape the basket instead of throwing it away. I guess I'm rubbing off on them.

The application of duct tape is equivalent to buying a new one, as far as we're concerned.

The thing is, during the "fixing" process, all they cared about was holding the tape for me.  Preschoolers are so unpredictably predictable in this way. It's not about the fixing, it's about the process. And in this case, there was one micro-component of the situation that received the ubiquitous attention of every child involved--"when is it my turn to hold the tape".

It's moment like these that we get to introduce (and practice) basic, yet very meaningful, social skills.  How to ask for a turn, how to get a turn, how to share, how to not share, when to wait, when to speak up.  

We also just spent a few minutes together, with a common purpose, a common interest.  A community of friends and learners.  Lovers of duct tape.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Works Wednesday: New Works in the Classroom

We call activity trays "works" at Beansprouts Preschool.  But just because they are work, doesn't mean they aren't a whole lot of fun!  Fun...and developmentally meaningful.

We set up a table of activity trays in the middle of the classroom to appeal to the visual impulsiveness of some of our newer, younger children. It totally worked! This table has seen continuous use as children walk by, take a seat, and get to work. It calls upon something within each child that I cannot articulate, something that craves order and completion and a feeling of competency.

Each day we update the works a little bit by changing the materials or tools on the tray, and they become new and fresh and interesting all over again.  Strategies like this make a classroom manageable in these early months of the school year. If you have four little stations in the room that engage two to three children at any given time, this makes for a very focused (and calmer) classroom.  We are very much Reggio Emilia inspired in this way. The classroom is most definitely a "teacher" here at Beansprouts Preschool.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Tactile Tuesday: Sticky Wall

When I added a contact paper covered wall for block play (idea comes courtesy of Deborah Stuart), the children immediately stripped their feet bare and began "walking" their feet up and down the sticky wall.

Being a teacher that knows how to take a cue, 
I added a second sticky wall for the very purpose of FEET!

With a soft rug placed in front of the sticky wall inviting the children to lay down, the children couldn't help but indulge in some foot tapping on the sticky wall when they walked by, and even days later, they still use this sticky wall constantly. In pairs, solo, or in small groups, this has been a sensorial staple in our preschool classroom for the past week.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Life's a little messy lately...

Beansprouts Preschool has seen many changes over the last couple of months. Most of our children graduated and went off to kindergarten.  We miss the graduates terribly!  And we have gotten several new children and are really enjoying these new budding relationships.

As we continue to settle in to the new school year, I hope to blog on a regular basis once again.  However, when your hard drive crashes and 20K+ photos disappear, well, the blogging slows.

The inspiration is here, but the time is not. I will do my best...stay tuned.

Wine corks and marker lid stamping

Wrestling is good for children.

Originally published Sept 2010 Many of our parents seemed shocked when they came to pick up their children from Beansprouts and found the...