Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Read to your child every day!

Read, read, read, and read some more! 

Children who are read to daily have a much larger vocabulary by the time they begin kindergarten than children who are not read to as often. They also are more inquisitive, prepared to learn and do better in school.

We read to the children every day at preschool, in our story time, often in small groups or just to a child individually.  

Parents should read with your child every day, and yes, they love repetition and they love to have the same book read over and over again.  These books get tiresome to parents, but children love them because they are familiar, they know what is coming next and can follow the story.  

When you read with your child, move your finger along under the words, and if there is a book with a word that is repeated over and over like " hops", have your child " read that word" when you come to it.

Talk about the pictures and the story, ask questions about what they see or what they think might happen next. Rather than test questions like " what color is the car? Or how many boats are there?" Ask questions your child can think about, like " where do you think the boat will go? Or what do you think he and his friends will do at the park?" Or even " what do you think will happen next?"

Model reading for your child, let them see that you read for information, but also for enjoyment.

Utilize your local library.  We are so fortunate to have many wonderful libraries in our area and most of them allow you to check books out if you have a library card to any local library.  You can get a library card free with proof of residency.  The library has computers, books, some toys, puzzles, cd's and movies, plus so much more.  The librarians are a wonderful resource to help you choose appropriate books too.

We also have a small lending library at our entrance door.  Please feel free to borrow a book, take it home to read and bring it back.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Large motor time

The children at Trinity Preschool have "large motor time" every day, which could also be called gym or playground time. This is an important developmental activity which helps children develop their larger muscles which help with movement, body control, sitting , and help their neurological system develop as well.  There are so many reasons why it is important for children to have time and space to move their bodies freely, including helping them learn.

Many programs and schools pull back or drop gym, recess, large motor time to allow extra "learning time" , but we understand that this time is "Learning Time" as well and include it in the schedule every day.

Music time

Music is another brain booster and we have music time at school every day.  Finger plays, songs, movement songs, music instruments like shakers, drums, bells, rhythm sticks and more are used each day during music time.  

We also use CD's to sing along and move to and some of our favorites are Jim Gill, Miss Carole, Greg and Steve and Dr Jean.  

Fun fact: Music uses a different part of the brain than spoken language uses and makes learning easier. We often see children who speak limited English able to sing and understand songs.  We also have many visual props we use with the songs.  If you want your child to learn something faster, put it to music.

Play dough

Play dough

We make a great home made version of play dough that is soft and pliable, but not crumbly.  I will post recipe later.

Why do we do play dough? The full answer is rather lengthy, but I will put an abbreviated version here.  Play dough offers great sensory input, the softness, pliability, scent, and color all make play dough an activity that can sooth an anxious child, and help calm their sensory overload too.  It is a great activity to bring a child in to when they first come in the room and are unsure what to do first.  It can give them the time to organize their thoughts so they can choose their next activity.

Play dough is great for fine motor development, those fine finger muscles which will need to hold pencils to write.  I have also seen children who could not write their name be able to form the letters out of play dough and then immediately become able to write their name.

Play dough is a great social, communication activity, between children or an adult with a child. They also build their confidence as they are able to make something. Children who may not comfortably engage in conversation can talk about the butterfly they made or the cookie and adults can extend that conversation into what kind of cookie?, do you bake cookies? What is your favorite kind of cookie? Let's count how many we made....etc.

You can use play dough for letter formation, a math activity, such as counting, adding, subtracting, even patterning. 

We make play dough to go along with colors and smells for various seasons too, orange pumpkin scented in fall, peppermint white play dough in January. 

It is easy to make play dough at home and just give your child cookie cutters, straws, any small kitchen utensil, plastic knives, Legos, or other small easily washable toys.  You can put it on a tray or cookie sheet while you make dinner and your child can happily play nearby.

Large motor gym time

Gym time

When we have a rainy day, ( or cold or snowy), we have our large motor time indoors in our "gym". The children get large motor time every day. Some schools go outside in inclement weather, but we don't.  We are lucky to have great space indoors and rather than using the time to get everyone prepared to go outside, we spend that time in our gym.  We also have many children who do not have the proper clothing to play outdoors in bad weather.  We go outside if it is generally above 40 degrees and dry.

We have a variety of equipment we can bring out so we can vary it quite a bit.

We have:
Low style Trikes of different sizes
Basketball net and balls
Hula hoops
Ball targets
Bean bag toss
Balance beams ( low on the floor ones)
Balance boards
Rocking alligator
Rocking boat
Tunnels to ride trikes or scooters through
Mini parachutes
Hockey/soccer nets.

Plus a large open space to play action, movement games.

Plus all those things I am forgetting. While we love our great playground, we are grateful to have this space right in our building and available each day we can't get outside.

Attendance board at preschool

Arrival time

Welcome to our classroom.

Each day when the children arrive, they come into the room, are greeted by a teacher and find their name which is printed on "something".  They take their name and move it to the " I am here board, can, magnet board".  This takes on different forms in each room and changes as the year goes along.  

Usually in September, the children just find their name and put it in the "arrived" spot.  Later, in the year, in the older age  rooms, they spell their name, it changes to last name, it changes to address and to phone number.  In the younger age rooms, just helping the children recognize their written name is the goal. By about mid year, most of the children can recognize everyone else's name too.  

The format changes for the attendance board too.  In the oak room it might be little astronauts and they add their name to a rocket ship attendance board.  In the willow room last year, the children's names were on an envelope shape and they put them in a mail box.  

Another reason we greet this way is that it gives the teachers a minute to say good morning and welcome to each child.

In the pre k room the attendance board is taken to circle time and the class helper counts how many children are at school today and how many are absent.