What a busy few weeks we have had! We have wrapped up learning about farms,fall and all things related to pumpkins, spiders and Halloween!
We have recently made a small change to our daily schedule. This change allows for more exploration time for the children which in turn provides them the opportunity to really get their hands messy and learn! During this time, Miss Sue and Miss Christy pull kids for small group work and also journaling. During small group work, we may dedicate our time to cutting, fine motor skills, letter recognition, letter sounds, number recognition, math work etc. This is a great time during our day that we can really give your child the extra attention that they deserve while helping them to grow academically! During journaling, some children like to draw pictures of their families and write the names of each family member, while others may draw apple trees and pumpkins for fall. The journal pages are open ended and we encourage children to use their imagination and not always draw the same pictures. Furthermore, on each journal page, the children are encouraged to “write words” to describe their pictures. While not all children are at the level of writing words, they are encouraged to make letters that correlate to their pictures. Miss Christy and Miss Sue walk around and help each child sound out words, add more details to their pictures, or sound out the beginning letter of the word that they are trying to write. The level of help each child is given each day is dependent on the level that they are currently at with letter sounds and letter formation. There will be times that we allow the children to journal completely on their own, and we simply dictate what they tell us they are drawing and writing about. This is a great way to boost confidence and encourage independence.
One of our main goals as teachers is to provide the skills that each child needs to be a self- sufficient member of our classroom community. We very highly encourage self help skills in each child. Some of these skills that each child works on every day is putting away his/her backpacks on their own, washing his/her hands, using the restroom when needed, checking mailboxes, choosing who to sit by on carpet and at snack time, along with making good choices during our free exploration time. Allowing the children to do these things on their own provides great confidence and pride! It is really nice to the children making great strides on their independence so early on in the school year!
Do you want to help us encourage these great independent skills that will benefit your child now and in the future?? We thought you would, and we thank you in advance! One of the biggest ways you can help both your child and us teachers is to do what we like to call “STOP, DROP, and GO” at drop off time. Stop at the door, give a hug and kiss, Drop your child off, and Go on your way. Your child knows where his/her cubby is located, they know how to wash hands, find their name and sign in. As parents, we realize that it is difficult to find that balance between what is helpful and what is harmful. While doing these things for your child is not harming them in any way, it is not promoting the independence that we are trying so hard to encourage inside our classroom. Also, if you are coming into the classroom to help your child with these skills, we are unable to fully assess what they are capable of and what we may need to help them work on more during small group time or individually. Currently, many of the children that are dropped off at the door already are very confident and come into the classroom with ease and such an aura of confidence that it radiates throughout the room! We would like to see all children in our room do these simple things on their own and have that strong confidence about them!!
Working on independence at home is a great way to reinforce what we are working on in school. One way is to allow your child to choose their own clothes. Yes, we have all seen the kids at the grocery store wearing mismatched polka dot and striped clothes with winter boots and a raincoat on in the middle of summer…but we also realize that this is something they chose to do and they take pride in the decisions that they made! It is important for children to make these decisions and learn from them. Yes, they may choose to wear fleece pants when it is going to be 80 degrees outside, but this is something that they can learn from and adapt their way of thinking in the future. We realize that as parents, it is difficult to give up some of those things like picking out clothing, but perhaps starting slowly (like offering two choices of shirts and allowing them to pick which they’d like to wear on that particular day) is the way to ease everyone into this. At school, each child is responsible for cleaning up after himself after playtime and snack/lunch time. Perhaps you can ask your child to help clean up the dinner table at home. Again, the confidence that they get from “helping” you do something, and being able to do things on their own and make their own decisions is incredible!! We promise, you will not be disappointed by handing over more age appropriate responsibilities to your child.
In class, we have also been working on large motor skills like running, galloping, skipping, walking on a balance beam, throwing a ball, kicking a ball and catching a ball. The majority of our kiddos did an amazing job with the large motor part of the portfolio assessments this half of the year and also with the 3 step directions assessment. Looking into next week, we will be assessing each child on sorting by different attributes. In order to prepare for this we have been playing games in class each day to figure out how to sort leaves (color, size, shape), friends in the class (boys, girls, long hair, short hair, eye color etc.) and toy blocks. At home you can encourage sorting by asking your child help you sort the socks on laundry day. Perhaps you can sort by color then work your way up to sorting by color and size. Ultimately we are looking to see if your child can sort by two attributes at one time. For example, using lacing beads we are able to sort into small cubes, large cubes, small spheres, large spheres. (size, shape)
Parent volunteers wanted!! Are you looking for a way to be more involved in the classroom? Beginning soon we will have a signup sheet outside our door for parents/ caregivers to read a story to our class at 11:45 AM for the morning class and 2:45 PM for the afternoon class. On days that we don’t have volunteers, we are teaming up with the kindergarten and first grade students to come read to us! If reading at pick up time is not an option, but you still want to contribute to the classroom we have a few other suggestions that would help the teachers and the children as well! We go through MANY MANY stickers each day! The kids love to write letters to each other, family members, make cards and decorate them etc. We could always use stickers, envelopes, confetti, little “jewels” or sequins, and unused cards (thank you cards, blank cards or even just construction paper of different sizes folded into card shapes) in our writing center! Fun markers, crayons etc. are always a hit as well, and these new and different items help to encourage a love for writing! We also go through many small books each day at the writing center (we can show you examples and give you the materials) – if you would like to make some of these for us. This is something that can be done easily during nap time, or when the kids are playing in the next room at home. Please feel free to contact us via email at any time if you would like to help out in any other way. We can always use an extra set of hands or two!
We hope you have a great November!