In the last three weeks you and your children have made a great transition.
Every year it is easier for some than others to separate from the home. For this reason, we do an initial home visit, plus open house and separation environment. It makes the transition as easy and pain-free as possible. I am so impressed by your young children in separating so well. It is a treat to see each personality emerge as the school environment becomes familiar and the children become completely comfortable with us.
We have a theme every month.
This month we started out with the farm theme. We had farm beads (cow, horse, goat, cat, tractor, duck, etc. beads) to string, farm paper cut outs to glue, plastic farm ‘eggs’ to open close and match two sides, large farm animal cards, farm related books, and small vinyl representations and cards to match, just to name some of the activities. The color of the month is yellow: that means lots of yellow paint, a basket with yellow objects, and yellow play-dough (which ms. Hillary made and colored for us with turmeric). In the number drop box we have number 1. The children can explore the symbol 1, the quantity (1 peg), and the combination of the two by using the drop box. The drop box will have a new number each month (1-9), but there is always another ‘math’ or number work to be found in the class, this month it’s the clock puzzle.
We sang songs with farm focus such as “Old MacDonald had a Farm”. That song will never retire and be sung year around.
The toddler curriculum primarily follows the toddler’s need for order in rhythms and rituals of the day. The routines and rituals ground the children. Within a few days they know what to expect and when, even though the content changes. The toddlers don’t go exactly by the clock, but they know what comes next. So when snack has been prepared, they are ready for the plates even if it is not yet ten AM. We love this about the children. Because the routines are the same, based on the needs of the children, there is little guessing work, and we can easily see if someone is out of sorts, not behaving as usual, feeling tired or unwell.
Making snack with the toddlers is also transformative work. The children who wish to help put an apron on, wash their hands in the bathroom, and if they remember what they were wanting to do, they sit down with a small cutting board and start chopping pieces of fruit or vegetables. We encourage the children to put the cut fruit in the bowl for snack time, and to delay eating is not easy, especially for the young ones. As the children become older they begin to understand the task better and chopping fruit or vegetables becomes more efficient, and many learn to delay gratification.
After snack, we open the deck where there is always an easel for gross motor painting or chalking and a sensorial bin. At the easel we have been using yellow, and we trade out the painting tools about every week. The sensorial bin has had oatmeal inside, and little pots, pans and sieves, to fill and pour. The work stays until interest wanes. The rest of the work on the deck are manipulative activities such as puzzles, open close, posting, tweezing, hammering pegs, etc. or a small project such as lemon juicing which we did last week.
Last week we changed from The Farm to a ‘Wild Animal’ theme. Work on the shelves might be wild animals representations: picture cards, wood cut-outs, small vinyl animals to sort, match, and manipulate. Group time at 11AM includes wild animal activities such as stomping our feet like elephants, thumping our chest like gorillas, and roaring like lions! The children are already familiar with most wild animals from books and trips to the zoo, and you can tell they really love to work on these activities.
Every month I will write a little newsletter to keep you updated on themes, and you may expect an email from snapfish to see the pictures we were able to snap.
Thank you all for wonderful snacks the last two weeks!
Thank you to Cass’ parents for the lemons and the lemon/orange juicer.