Winter Tree by Matthew T
Preschool children have been learning about the seasons with a focus on winter, spending time daily outside observing the season and embarking upon a learning project about Eagles. We have been practicing flying like eagles, building nests, learning about Eagle habitats, learning the name for eagle in Blackfoot, (and soon in Cree, Michif and Stoney), and reading a variety of non-fiction books about Eagles. Ms Harmony (Indigenous Education Strategist) will be teaching the children about Seven Sacred (Grandmother/Grandfather) Teachings and elevate our study of Eagles.
This month preschool children have enjoyed a focus on re-telling the winter story of The Mitten by Jan Brett using story stones. Using story stones enhances engagement and supports sequencing the events of the story.
Students are also learning to recognize their name, with a focus on naming their first letter and making it’s sound.
Willaby Wallaby Woo: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BT-CiZGStL4
Music is a great way to teach early literacy skills. The ability to hear and generate rhyme is a foundational pre-reading skill. Our aim is to teach rhyme in a playful manner through books, games and stories.
5 Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed.
Preschool children enjoy using the props we have for 5 Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed to act out and sing during center time.
We were noticing children in our class loved to pretend that our Home Center was a McDonalds restaurant. This was the spring board for the creation of an “in-class” McDonalds restaurant. The dramatic play center is a place where students can go and pretend, imagine and be creative. It is a place that promotes high-level thinking, problem solving, turn taking and is a rich place for oral language development.
Gross Motor Movement:
Preschool children love to move their bodies and dance to music. A favorite gym activity is the song “The Floor is Lava” by the Kiboomers. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wbNAiN8FTfc
The children also get excited about playing stop/start games such as Red Light/Green Light, and Freeze Dance. Children are learning that they have control over their bodies (they may have the impulse to go, go, go but through stop/start games they are learning that when their minds hear STOP their bodies can listen). It is easier to practice stop/start games in a safe, relaxed and fun setting with the hope that these self -control and listening skills will carry over to more vital situations when an immediate response is needed (listening safety while in the community). We also have an ever changing obstacle course (movement lab) set up in the gym by our physical therapist that focuses on key movement patterns to support coordination and gross motor skill development.
Students are learning both to count to 5, understand the quantity of 5 and sorting by colour. This is done through numerous naturalistic and playful interactions with children throughout the day and center time activities.
Children have access to and really enjoy sensory play throughout the day (water, sand, rice, snow etc),
“Providing opportunities for children to actively use their senses as they explore their world through ‘sensory play’ is crucial to brain development – it helps to build nerve connections in the brain’s pathways. This leads to a child’s ability to complete more complex learning tasks and supports cognitive growth, language development, gross motor skills, social interaction and problem-solving skills.” Suzanne Gainsley High Scope Educational Research Foundation.
We have had a wonderful month getting to know your children. The warm temperatures have allowed us to spend considerable time outside.
Land Based Learning: We have been observing the circular cycle of seasonal change by visiting our special preschool tree at the front of the school. The students are learning about slowing down, looking closely and using their senses to talk about what they can see, hear, and touch. Ms. Harmony taught us that Mother Earth (Na’a) is very important and everything we need comes from the land. We read the book “Everybody Needs a Rock” and each found a special rock. We will use the land as our teacher throughout the year and give thanks to Na’a as part of our daily rhythm when we smudge using Sage.
Out Of Doors Time: Children need the time, space and freedom to explore. In preschool we have also been experimenting and learning through play, using sensory materials (sand, water, lentils, play dough, popcorn kernels, bubbles, spay bottles), artistic mediums (chalk, paint, pastels, and crayons) and moving our bodies (dance music, plasma cars, trikes, balls and obstacle course).
Playing is Learning! The foundation of Early Learning is play.
1. Play builds imagination and creativity.
2. Play fosters cognitive growth
3. Play supports the ability of students to self-regulate
4. Play improves literacy.
5. Play encourages independence.
6. Play promotes physical wellness
This month our Dramatic Play center has been turned into a Dr. Office, a Pizzeria, and a Baby Care Center. Part of learning in preschool is setting up “invitations to play” using a variety of mediums and open-ended materials (loose parts, blocks, lego, books, puzzles, magnets, play dough, transportation, art, and dollhouse).
Project Work: We have also been learning about colour. Students are learning how to sort by colour, and have really enjoyed being scientists mixing colours, reading books about colour, and looking at how colours mix on our light table.
Early Literacy Focus: Rhyming
Along with oral language, rhyming is also an important foundation of Early Literacy. We are listening to books (Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See?) that have rhythm and beat, singing rhyming songs, and learning nursery rhymes (The Itsy Bitsy Spider) to support students ability to create and detect rhyming words. Throughout the year we will continue to use books, nursery rhymes and songs with rhyming words to support this important foundational skill.