Monday, December 16, 2013

Stone Soup: Cooking in Preschool - Teacher Sue

Today we read the story Stone Soup  which is an old folktale about some hungry soldiers who persuade villagers to give them food to make a pot of soup from stones. It is a good lesson that teaches cooperation and helping others in need.  We then asked the children to bring in a vegetable to school and we would try to make our own “stone soup”.
 
 


Cooking in the classroom is always a fun activity for the children. It is a great way to encourage language development among other things. During the process of preparing the vegetables we have conversations including descriptive vocabulary about what they are doing and the vegetables they are including.

 


They get a chance to observe, demonstrate and use action words such as chop, cut, slice, pour and stir. 


 
Chopping, slicing, peeling, squeezing, and mixing are all cooking skills that help develop a child’s small muscle control and eye-hand coordination.  

 

 
Additionally, cooking offers authentic opportunities for the children to understand and apply their knowledge of measuring, one-to-one correspondence, numbers, and counting. As they follow a recipe, children organize ingredients, follow a sequence, and carry out multiple directions.


It is satisfying for them to see the results of their hard work and even more fun to get to taste what they helped to create!  “ Wow, this tastes awesome!”

 
“I can’t believe we really made soup from a stone.”
 
 

Monday, December 9, 2013

Fun Fall Activities - Teacher Elaine

Fall is one of our favorite seasons at Small Friends because it is the perfect time of year to explore the great outdoors and bring natural items into the classroom.  We certainly were blessed with beautiful weather this year to do just that.

We like to use pumpkins in various ways for exploring and creating activities.  We set up a tub with a pumpkin, dull carving knives, scoops and spoons.  A hole was precut in the top to make it easier for scooping.  Some children jumped right in and enjoyed the sensory stimulation of the slimy pulp, others not so much.  They were surprised to discover all that was inside and what a challenge it was to pick up the slippery seeds.
 


Another fun activity is to hammer golf tees into pumpkins.  The children love it and it is a great way to practice eye-hand coordination.



Putting pumpkins out with playdough can result in all kinds of creative outcomes.  We made animals and various monsters and creatures during Halloween week.
 


Spiders are always fun to learn about in the fall.  We read many spider stories and sang songs about spiders.  One day we made spider snacks out of biscuit dough, pretzels, raisins and sprinkles.  Some children were very deliberate about counting the correct number of legs while others realized that they were eating them later, so they added more for good measure.
 
 

 
As you can probably tell, we love to incorporate leaves into our projects.  We give the younger class an opportunity to create clay leaf ornaments.  This is often the first experience the children have working with this medium.  We also make paper towel leaves by using pipettes (eye droppers) and watercolors.  This is a great activity for practicing fine motor skills.
 




Finally, it's fun to just get outside and explore the woods behind the playground and find all of the beautiful and interesting changes that fall brings.  We’re looking forward to discovering the wonders of the next season to come.