Monday, May 18, 2015

Building With Big Blocks - Teacher Elaine

Our older class in Room F loves to build with blocks.  Not a day goes by without a group of children creating some structure or roadway. 

We always try to get the “big blocks” out at least once a year to provide an opportunity for building on a larger scale.  We put the blocks out in the shape of a pirate ship on the first day for inspiration. 

It didn’t take long before captains were giving orders and treasure maps were being drawn.  

The following day, we let the children do the building.  They decided to make another pirate ship that was larger with two steering wheels and a long plank.  It was fun for us to stand back and watch them negotiate who would be the captains, the crew and who would steer the ship.  They acted out various scenarios about good and bad pirates and the best routes to take for finding hidden treasure.

Later the class decided to make a “jump course” or obstacle course complete with ramps and balance beams.  The children did a great job building something that was creative and challenging.  

I love block play because it is so open-ended.  It’s not only fun but there is also a lot of learning happening.  Children are practicing measuring, weighing, spatial awareness, sequencing, counting and problem solving – fundamental skills for learning math and science.  Big block moving takes a lot of muscle, patience and teamwork. Block play also stimulates imaginative dramatic play, promotes language development and builds social skills. 

Children who play with blocks are not only having a great time constructing structures, but they are building skills that are fundamental in their development. 

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Birds, Bugs and Nests - Teacher Rebekah

With spring blooming all around us, we decided to bring a little bit of the outside world into our classroom. In classroom B, both our younger and older children have been enjoying activities centered on birds, insects and nests. 

We started with a beak exploration. Using fine motor skills the children used “beaks” or long tweezers to catch insects. The kids could choose how to sort the insects. Size, color and types were some of the most popular choices made. 

Next both our younger and older classes explored bird nests. With the help of a parent helper, kids explored and pulled apart the nests to see what kinds of materials are used to build a nest. They discovered twigs, grass and mud. Some children commented on the nest being a home for Mama Birds and their babies. Another made the connection that birds flew around looking for these materials and then used their beak to build their home! 

Following these science activities, we chose a couple of sensory art projects for the kids. Our older class built their own nests using grass and twigs. Then they created their own bird using clay and feathers. The younger class made bug habitats and created their bugs out of play dough. 

These activities resulted in wonderful teaching moments. The kids were able to see a part of the outside world that they may not see all the time. They connected that birds have homes just like them. They investigated, asked questions, observed and created.