January was filled with a lot of winter fun. As we learned about Polar Animals and winter, the weather seemed to support our research. We were able to fill the sensory table with real snow, icebergs floating in cold water, snowplows, and penguins. We also froze polar animals in huge chunks of ice. We didn’t give the children any instructions or tools. They worked together to figure out how to get the animals out. They hammered the ice with blocks, tried to pry the animals out with markers, banged the ice chunks together, used spoons to scrape the ice, and then, finally decided to fill our tiny Dixie cups with water from the sink. They walked the little cups from the sink to the sensory table; and with the help of many friends, the children melted the huge ice chunks with warm water. This activity required the children to work cooperatively, negotiate, problem solve, and experiment. Watching them work together to complete this challenge showed how far this group has developed socially. The children negotiated through everyone’s ideas without a single conflict that they could not resolve themselves.
We have been outside quiet a bit in January. Everyday, the children worked on their self-help skills as they pulled on their snow pants, boots, gloves, hats, and coats by themselves. It was a lot of work, but well worth the reward. We made snow angels, a snowman, and of course, we went sledding. The children took turns, waited patiently, paired up with partners for the double sleds, and giggled the whole time. When we were done, we warmed up with hot chocolate and a winter story. We were sad to see the snow melting. Let’s hope we get one more good snow storm.
Our study of winter prompted many Science experiments. We passed ice cubes around our meeting circle to see how many times they would go around in our warm hands before they melted. The children made guesses, hypotheses, and completed the experiment together to see if their guesses were correct. We put snow in a tub and observed it throughout the day as it changed from a solid to a liquid. We also put a huge classroom thermometer outside. Our weather helper brought it in each morning, and marked the outside temperature with tape. The children loved watching the red line rise as the thermometer adjusted to the temperature inside. At the end of each morning, we also marked the inside temperature and talked about how thermometers work. Learning about the scientific process, and completing the experiments was a highlight of the past month. The children have come up with some wonderful ideas as they discussed the experiments and have even created their own experiments. We definitely have some scientist in our room!
In February, we will be learning about Grocery Stores and Dinosaurs! We are asking the children to bring in food labels that they recognize and can read on their own. We will be making an environmental print wall for the children to read. In the past, this has been a favorite activity of the children. Their reading confidence is boosted as they realize how many words they can read and recognize already. Please help your child cut out labels that they can read and bring them to school for the first two weeks of February.