PSA - Newsletter
Preschool A -janet winer
The Preschool A children were excited to get back to school after the holiday break. In anticipation for coming back together Amy, Ida, and I planned to let the children explore the classroom environment and share stories of their time home with family and friends. That first week was filled with happy reunions and stories…a lot of stories. There were stories about Santa, car rides, presents, cooking and so much more. We especially heard the names of so many relatives as the children happily recollected family gatherings, play dates, and special visits. (Before the break, at the fall conferences, it came up that many of the children had budding interests in letters, names and story-telling.) With all this excitement around the sharing of all these wonderful stories we thought it would be a great time to ask families to write their child’s own personal name story. After a week of collection we were able to sit and read these as a group. Although the initial flood of holiday stories has subsided, the children love their name stories and enjoy sharing them with each other, the teachers, and with all the parents at drop-off and pick-up.
Literacy remained in the forefront of our minds as we began to think about different things for the children to explore. We made name cards with puffy stickers so the children could see and feel their names. The idea is that this new interest could be multi-sensory and we could incorporate some of our previous explorations to this new one. Also, children learn in many different ways. For some children the ability to feel the letters of their name may spark a new interest in early writing. Continuing along the sensory line we emptied the bean table and added sand, but we saved some of the beans and made a feely bucket. The children can plunge their hands into the beans and pull out chips that have letters on them. We thought of this activity as a way for the children to continue to have the feeling of pushing through the beans, but also integrate their new interest of letters.
Amy noticed that the children’s work in block area was becoming more involved and more purposeful. We have spent many morning’s observing this play and wondering what it is the children are trying to figure out, or what it is they need to continue to enrich their learning. Amy has added photos of the children building to one of the bulletin boards in the classroom and we have made the area more accessible by limiting the amount of materials available at one time so the children can work on their structure instead of trying to gather too many items. In connection with the children’s early-literacy interests we’ve added a few sketches of block structures that the children can “read” and recreate.
Ida has continued baking with the children. The recipes seem to be second nature for this group and they love that they can be immersed in the process. Baking in Preschool A is a cooperative and sensory rich event. As for many preschoolers, it can be hard for the children to wait a turn to add an ingredient or stir. Ida knows this about these young children and offers them each a scoop of one ingredient or another to move around the table. It is really amazing to watch, as they mound up the flour, add some cinnamon, sprinkle in some baking powder then spread it all out again. As you can imagine this creates quite a mess, but we are lucky because the children love to have the big job of helping at clean-up time. Getting the tables (and floor) ready however, is part of the process, as we cannot sit and eat the delicious muffins on a dirty table.
We have been so lucky this month to be able to get outside so often. We have had just the perfect amount of snow to make it fun, but not too treacherous. Of course, sensory exploration continues on the playground as there have been vats of “yucky soup” made with slushy melting snow and mud. The cold doesn’t seem to bother us and we explore on each day. The ice has been a big curiosity on the super cold days and we will be looking at ice more closely as we move deeper into the winter months.