october 11

In the art center, we have had a wonderful month getting reacquainted or familiarized with one another while exploring some basic art processes. Many  activities have been presented as drop-in collaborative explorations such as painting and embellishing large tree branches laid out over the large art table or painting paper feathers with watercolors and then assembling them together as a giant pair of wings. Employing a simple collage technique, green summer leaves were created to hang on our classroom tree. We recently welcomed the change in seasons by taping onto the classroom tree our fall leaves painted using droppers and autumn hued liquid watercolors. We have begun to understand the flow of our school routines and the place of art within the school day. We are learning to work with each other and alongside each other. Each new art experience is being met with lots of interest in exploring and gaining control of the medium.

The twos began the school year being offered materials to freely explore on a table within the nest such as  collaging over contact paper or printing using stamps and stamp pads. Recently the twos have begun to visit the art center in small groups to explore activities offered to all. This week we began a multi-step activity to create a Halloween decoration that we will bring home. These earliest art experiences are helping us to learn about the physical world - what materials can do and our own ability to affect them.

In drama this past month, we have maintained an open group schedule to introduce how to use the drama center. Children have enjoyed dropping in to choose props, puppets, dress-ups, and manipulatives such as story puzzles. We are working on referring to each other by our names through various songs and games and adding other elements like creating and passing movements, sounds, and props such as balls. We have also been warming up with mindfulness breathing and stretching. The children have been reenacting familiar short stories from rhymes like  “Little (child’s name) Muffet, ”Mary Had A Little Lamb” and others. Another favorite story this month was our interactive telling of "Goldilocks and the Three Bears" incorporating a reversible storybook doll of all the characters.

The children have really enjoyed dressing up as community workers! They have pretended to be firefighters, doctors, nurses, veterinarians and teachers! Once I saw them start to be interested in being doctors and nurses, I introduced our doctors’ kits, which they have been using to take care of babies and each other.  Filled with stethoscopes, thermometers and other tools, the doctors’ kits help extend and deepen the children’s interactive play. In the sensory box, I have introduced floam! Floam, or modeling beads, is play foam that you can shape and mold however you like without getting sticky. The kids have made some really cool sculptures with them and have enjoyed the sensory experience without having to wash hands afterwards.

This week in literacy, we explored letter recognition, tracing, and letter matching. We used magnetic letters and found their corresponding match on alphabet sheets. We had fun matching uppercase and lowercase letters together on the top and bottom halves of plastic egg shells. We also used watercolors to help find “invisible” letters! We have been talking a lot about what letters make up our names and our friends names, as well as differentiating letters that look similar.  

The children are off to a great start at the math and community center! We’ve been bringing all the different blocks and manipulatives out and learning how to play with them in the classroom safely. The older kids have been a great help modeling how to play in the block center for the younger kids. This week we also used the apples we got on a trip to Key Food to practice counting and patterns. Some of the students measured how tall they were using the apples as well!

This week in music, we discussed our favorite things to do during the fall season. In our groups, we learned a new song about jack-o'-lanterns, called I'm A Little Jack-o'-lantern. The children loved singing the words (to the tune of I'm A Little Teapot) and adding movements. Here are the lyrics below if you'd like to sing along together at home:
I'm a little jack-o'-lantern, orange and round
You'll see me on stoops, all over town
You'll carve me a little face
You'll find seeds to eat
When you see me,
Say trick-or-treat!

This week some of the children went on a trip to the grocery store to buy apples. We brought them back to school where they were used in the classroom for a variety of different activities.  We read books about apples, and we produced an interactive puppet show wherein the children acted out the book Ten Red Apples by Pat Hutchins.  At the science center, we drew apples. Some children chose to draw the inside and some drew the outside.  We also put the apples in water to see if they would sink or float, and we began an apple taste test. We will continue to discuss the different tastes (sweet, sour, tart), and we will vote on and then chart our favorite apples.  Next week, we will see which apple is the classroom favorite: yellow, green, or red!