Friday, September 21 - What We Did Today!

Photos compliments of Tony Pacific. Thanks Tony!

Today we had a first circle at about 9:45.  The kids did well, although at times it seemed like a free for all.  We introduced covering our ears with our hands if it gets to loud.  This way, everyone follows until it is quiet again.  We also talked about raising hands if we want to tell someone something rather than talking when someone else is talking.  That one will take a little longer to take hold!  After the kids left for lunch bunch on Wednesday, I noticed that Sun was not eating.  I took him out and held him for a while.  It was obvious to me that he was not doing well.  He passed at around 3 on Wednesday afternoon.  I told the kids in circle, so you may be hearing something about it at home (or not).  The last thing we did in first circle was to look at some leaves I had collected on my morning walks.  We compared them in size and color.  If you and your child find something in nature that you think we might be interested in, please have them bring it in to school.  This is a great way to begin an attachment to nature early!

The rest of the day, I was inside with about four kids that switched off and on.  They were working on the different textures they created in play dough and working with chalk.  I have really enjoyed watching the development occurring with the chalk and their individual creativity.

Outside, both Dads were working with the kids, so I didn’t see a lot of what was going on, but I did see Addy, Eliza, and Margot up in the top of the play structure, Rowan, Josie and Eliza throwing water (sand) at a pretend fire, Simon, Una, River, and Josie riding the roller coaster.

My thanks to Justin, Justin’s Mum, and Tony for all of their help today!

Thursday, September 20 - What We Did Today!

Today we celebrated Eliette’s birthday with a song and rainbow cake.  Josh had several kids helping with the cake.  Considering we were following our allergy cans and can’ts and I forgot to get more vanilla, the kids seemed to enjoy it.  Of course, as Josh mentioned, there was enough sugar to make sure it was edible!

Outside, Alex and Morrie were busy with the roller coaster and the play structure.  They came up with different things they could slide down the slide such as tools and cars.  They were there for most of the day.

Inside, once the cake was finished, there was a lot of fishing going on.  These fish were not being cooked and eaten though, they were set free.  Various groups of kids are getting an opportunity to meet and play with new people by way of the water table.  Once discovering that they like the way another kid plays, they suggest to or follow the other to a new play area.

The chalk was not of much interest today letting me know that it is time for a new media at the art table.

The train track was set up and Elliette and I began creating a village around it to bring in some people.  This brought interest to others who one by one joined us.  First it was Oliver with a desire to run the trains, then Cordelia who added some houses, and finally a couple of more picking up trains to move around the track.

My thanks to Josh and Michael for all of their help today!

Wednesday, September 19 - What We Did Today!

Today we passed on our morning circle as I am waiting for everyone to be comfortable before sitting down first thing in the day.  Instead they were outside playing in the trees, learning to take turns, and helping each other to get the roller coaster car up the ramp.

Inside, many of us were busy at the play dough table.  We were practicing rolling, flattening, cutting, creating, and much, much more!  Gus was creating a person through out this process, River was making Pacman, Bodhi was finding the best flattener tool, Rowan was creating a plop, and others were just discovering how cool play dough is!  By the way, it’s my famous chocolate play dough!

The water table is stocked with fish and four poles.  There was much interest in catching fish with the poles, but even more interest in seeing what happens when you get tangled with your neighbor’s pole.

The art table is still set with chalk and some interesting possibilities for tools – cotton balls, Q-Tips, toothbrushes, and water.  Jake added a new idea by using masking tape to block certain areas causing a negative print.

Dramatic play was the scene of a luncheon as Una set-up the table and asked me to her restaurant.  She, Eliza and Addy had already spent much time setting up and cooking various foods.

River and Margot piled pillows below the loft stairs and jumped from the loft into the pile of pillows.  They were both enjoying this activity, so in the gym, we have been putting the crash pad next to the table and letting kids jump from the table to the crash pad.  This has become a favorite gym game.

My thanks to Jake and Kristen for all of their help today!

Tuesday, September 18 - What We Did Today!

Today was another amazing day.  Just be prepared for the newness to wear off in a week or two!  Okay, maybe it is because there are only eleven kids and we only had 9 today, but really, I am enjoying this calm and helpful group.  They are amazing at cleaning up, everyone helping everyone else to clean-up the area then move on to the next area instead of sitting down and letting others complete the job.  They are picking up on turn taking and waiting patiently.

We were able to model some strong “no thank you” as well as taking responsibility for hurting someone and making sure they are okay.  Most of this happens in the gym, which makes sense as it is less structured then the classroom.

Outside was beautiful today and we took advantage and played a lot on the play structure, digging, and the roller coaster.  Knox practiced climbing the rock wall while others were climbing the “mountain”.

Inside, the play dough was a favorite.  I saw so many different textures just watching what the kids were creating.  Baker was making fish bait, Alex was working on flowers, and Cordelia was flattening, rolling, and poking.

We will be working with chalk this week, so today, we painted our paper with water and then wrote with chalk.  The colors were so much more vibrant than without the water.  We also used other tools like cotton balls, Q-Tips, and tooth brushes.  Exploration of materials is what art is all about at this age!

My thanks to Griffin and Debbie for all of their help today!

Monday, September 17 - What We Did Today!

Sorry no pictures, I forgot my phone!

Today we celebrated Liam’s 5th birthday with lemon cake and a song.  Many of the group were helping with the cake which came out great.

I was outside for quite a while today watching Eliza and Simon enjoy the roller coaster, Margot and Bash dig for worms, Molly and Bodhi building in the play structure, Rowan and Liam climbing the trees, and Addy, River, and I checking out bugs on the pumpkin leaves.  The weather was lovely, and the kids were absolutely enjoying their time.

When I moved inside, I found Gus, Molly, Eliza and Margot working with chalk at the art table.  Margot had said that she wanted a wet paper.  We had a spray bottle of water, but I thought she meant totally wet, so I brought out a cup of water and a paintbrush to wet the paper with before adding the chalk.  This seemed to catch on and others asked for cups of water as well. 

At clean-up time, there was a lot of help from kids that did not make a mess.  I pointed this out and thanked them hoping that others might follow in their footsteps.  It worked, and the entire classroom was clean in no time.

My thanks to Brittni and Anthony for all of their help today!

Friday, September 14 - What We Did Today!

These kids did a great job again today.  They have just jumped right in.  We had a first circle that I held for too long, but they still managed to make it through.  I was reading Bodhi, Rowan, and Margot’s sand dollar reports.  As your child finishes up, be sure to bring the papers in as the kids enjoy having them read in circle.

At the art table, we had chalk, Q-tips, spray bottle of water, and toothbrushes to work with.  When I headed over to see what they were doing with this combination, I saw some great tests as well as color mixing happening.

We have been using some purple galaxy play dough donated to us by the Cram family.  There are glitter flakes and small glass stones mixed in the play dough.  There was a group of four or five making “plops”.  These appeared to be a round ball of play dough with two stones for eyes and an indented smile.  Rowan said they were plops because they go plop, plop, plop.

Outside there was the regular roller coaster group, but also a group of worm seekers.  I told the kids that I cleaned out the worm farm and added them all to the garden.  Well, that was all they needed to hear before heading out with a shovel and bug catcher to find worms!

We have been trying two other structured activities.  After clean-up, if the snack is not yet ready, the kids have “quiet game” time where they can play any of the manipulative games alone or with others as long as it is quiet.  So far this has been going well.  We are also “reading” books to ourselves or friends after snack.  This is a way to help them realize how a book is read.  My thanks to Jesse and Sara for all their help today!

Thursday, September 13 - What We Did Today!

Oh my gosh, I think this group is one of the calmest I have ever had!  Now, is that because there are only 11 of them and 3 adults?  Or are these kids just amazing?  I think a little bit of both!  We had a good start for our first day.  There were no tears although some sadness.  Everyone enjoyed their snack, and everyone helped clean up!  Here’s the rest of what we did.

Outside, several of the kids were enjoying the roller coaster.  The best part of this toy for me is the fact that it is kid generated.  The adults don’t need to set it up, and they don’t need to push the kids.  After first getting the right words to use for turns and realizing who is next in line, they keep track and handle any problems on their own.

Inside, there were a lot of kids moving around and trying out the various centers available.  Elliette and Seyi were playing in the car and train area with people, Alex was the only one to try out the chalk at the art table, James, Morrie, and Knox were working with the galaxy playdough, Harlan was busy painting the entire piece of easel paper with purple paint. Oliver, Morrie, Alex and Knox were building a wall with blocks, Baker set up the dinosaurs in the sand table and created a space including food for the beasts, Cordelia, Harlan, and June were testing out a new toy in the gym that is shaped like an arc with a padded top, and almost all of them took at least one turn jumping on the trampoline or jumping off the table into the crash pad!  Whew, I’m tired just listing this stuff!

My thanks to James and Ali for all of their help today!

Wednesday, September 12 - What We Did Today!

Oh my gosh, I am so glad you are all back!  I missed these kids more than you know.  They did an amazing job today playing together and separately, joining others and letting others join them.  The idea of a first circle was dropped within the first 10 minutes.  The majority of kids were outside checking out the roller coaster and I knew there was no way I would be able to get them inside for a circle!

Having made that decision, I had a great time going inside and out, watching and taking note of what was happening.  Outside, the kids were learning about turn taking and patience while they waited to ride the roller coaster.  Others were looking for worms.  The sandbox was busy as well.  Liam and others were building or rebuilding the play structure using lots of loose parts from around the yard.

Inside there was a band putting on a concert with original songs.  Rowan was the lead guitar (uke) and Sebastian was a drummer and percussion man.

Under the loft, Addy and Eliza were putting babies to bed and singing them lullabies.  Simon began to set up a train track and Rowan came a long to help out.  It looked fairly intricate.  Gus, Molly, and Josie were creating at the art table.  They had been given free range over the supplies and away they went!

We all ate snack together and then practiced reading before going to the gym.  My thanks to Rachel and Lisa for all of their help today!

Wednesday, August 8 - What We Did Today!

 

Today we had a visitor, Morrie, and his Mum and Grandma.  They were checking us out to see if we were a good fit.  They came at snack and spent some time looking around and then joined us in the gym.

With only four kids, we were able to do some things we might not have down with 15 kids.  We layered sand into some bottles to create designs.  The layers look great even though many ended up being shaken one way or another losing the layer effect.

They enjoyed the sand so much, that they wanted to work more with it so I brought out paper, glue, and colored sand in shaker bottles for them to design with.  One of them found a bowl of sand left over from last week’s project and wanted to add colored sand to it.  Next thing you know, everyone has joined in and everything available was being added to the bowl.  I heard “cake” several times and started to take a couple of videos which tell you all you need to know.  Be sure to check them out following the slideshow.

They worked amazingly well as a group.  They were asking for things, letting others add ingredients.  When they decided that there was too much water in the batter, but someone wanted to add more, she was told no more water.  She looked at them and said what about this and held up a spoon of shaving cream.  She was told yes and thanked.  Three and four year olds rock!

Wednesday, August 1 - What We Did Today!

 

Today we had a visitor, Olive, and her Mum and little brother.  They were checking us out to see if we were a good fit.  They seemed to enjoy our class and know a family who will be in the Caterpillar class as well.

We talked a wee bit about what was in the ocean.  Nothing new came up, so our ocean may stay the way it is.  We also have our ocean mural which is being used as a wall to create a small ocean in which we can be fish or sea creatures for dramatic play.

The art table was set up with the ingredients to make sand clay.  Sand is the main ingredient, but it also includes flour, corn starch, salt and water.  The mixture can be used to make sand castles that will dry and retain their form.  I think the enjoyment was mainly in the mixing and gushing!  I didn’t see too many sand castles, but I did see quite a few cones filled with sand clay, a table with sand clay showing various textures across it, and a glob of sand clay.

I was outside most of the day and enjoyed watching the kids try and learn new things.  Eliza decided she was ready to try the roller coaster.  Once down, she was in love with it.  Margot and Josie both had Rowan’s help climbing up the slide, I mean mountain, with the rope.  Rowan did an amazing job showing them what to do and then encouraging them while they climbed.  Addy climbed the stairs to the tree house where she, Rowan, and Margot discovered a spider in its’ web.  They stood there for several minutes admiring it!

My thanks to Brittni for all of her help today!

Wednesday, July 25 - What We Did Today!

 

Today we had a visitor, Radar, and his Dad checking out the school.  The kids were very good at talking with him, offering him headphones, and playing together in the gym.

After talking about beaches and what things were on a beach, we set up the art table with things to make a “beach in a box”.  Several of the kids worked on this deciding what was important to add to their beach – sand? Shells? Fish? Whatever!  Chester added some tree bark I brought in to create a coral reef.

At the sensory table, we had one last chance to add to our ocean mural.  We had stamp pads and ocean stamps of sea creatures as an enticement.  Isla also added some hand prints from the stamp pad.

We added some sea sponges to the water table ocean.  The kids checked out the sponges all dried up and then put them in the water to see what would happen.  They were pleased to see how they softened up once the water was added.

All of the kids were outside at one time or another, but it was so hot most returned inside to play in dramatic play's camp site or the dry table.  The moon sand has been taking on new roles with the cups added.  Kids have been creating their own sand castles, adding shells for exterior show.  Sebastian made a beautiful spiral by pressing a shell into the sand.

Many towers were being built with the idea of knocking them down from the base.  A great concept, but they were having trouble finding appropriate tools.  My thanks to Kristen for all of her help today!

Superhero camp - What We Did This Week!

PRESENTING

THE FLUTTER LEAGUE

(an early training program for our younger superheroes)

 

OUR SUPERHERO PLEDGE:

 

A Superhero is truthful

A Superhero is caring

A Superhero makes good choices

A Superhero treats others as they would be treated

A Superhero is fair

A Superhero cooperates with others

Our superheroes are:

Lava Girl: also known as Aria Van Metre   

Ducky in a Pond: also known as Edie Cuellar  

Shark Boy: also known as Finn Van Metre                 

Volcano Henry: also known as Henry Curry

Peregrine Falcon: also known as Simon Darmofal 

As early justice league trainees, we worked very hard this week.  We learnt how to fly, we problem solved as a team to save the city from a huge bull trying to destroy our homes! 

When Batman and Superman were kidnapped, we followed clues to find them, taking out bad guys along the way.  

We saved babies from fires, moved enormous boulders, climbed some very tall mountains, and learnt some new kicks – front kick and roundhouse kick.     

 

Wednesday, July 11 - What We Did Today!

 

Today we started circle counting the kids. We then contemplated where our other friends might be or why they might not be at school.  Most of the kids added their ideas to the conversation giving them a chance to be heard, practice talking in a group, and waiting for a chance to talk.

After circle the kids headed to their interest areas.  Josie and Isla each added to our ocean mural by finger painting plants onto the paper.  It now has sand, shells, and plants.  Fish and sea animals are next!

I spent a lot of time outside today where the roller coaster is still one of the most popular options.  What will I do when the mud returns?  Bring it inside to the gym?   Or will it become just another reason to get muddy?

The sandbox was also a place of interest for digging and finding spiders!  Isla and Sebastian found a big white guy who somehow ended up dead in the sand, but they continued looking!

The kids got hungry a bit earlier than snack time, so when Josie spotted some popsicles in the freezer, we decided it wouldn’t hurt to divide them amongst the seven kids.  They each quietly enjoyed half of a popsicle while I started getting ready for snack.

In the gym there was much climbing and hanging from the play structure with River, Rowan, and Addy each pushing themselves a bit beyond their comfort level to try new things.  Eliza found herself the owner of 3 cats and a pony all staying close to her for food and loving!

My thanks to Trisha for all of her help today!

Tuesday, July 3 - What We Did Today!

 

Today we talked about what animals we know that live in the ocean.  The kids came up with several to share.  We looked at a book that showed animals from various oceans around the world.  We will be using this information to create two oceans in our classroom.  

The first one we have been working on is in the water table.  Today we added sea animals such as sharks, whales, crabs, and octopus.  Each week we have been adding something to the ocean.  To date, we have shells, rocks, sand, and animals.

The second ocean will be set up as a dramatic play area.  We started by using a piece of brown paper to make a mural.  Today we added sand and shells to the paper.

We continued our project from last week at the art table in order to give everyone an opportunity to make a votive holder.  Besides the shells, I included some small colored glass pieces to add to the clear jars.  Many more kids chose this activity this week.

The dramatic play area is set up with a camp fire, camping lanterns, and backpacks filled with camping gear.  There was only a little interest, but I hadn’t told them about it in the circle, so only the fire was noticeable.  Hopefully, it will pick up next week.

Of course, outside was the main event again this week!  The roller coaster has been great fun, an automatic opportunity for practicing waiting, fairness, and empathy.  No grown-up necessary to intervene, just watch, listen, and learn from the best!

My thanks to Jasmine and Mari for all of their help today!

Wednesday, June 27 - What We Did Today!

 

Today, with only six kids, we talked about the ocean.  We made a list of what is in an ocean so that we can recreate an ocean in our water table.  Last week the kids added shells and rocks.  Our list includes crabs, sea stars, sand, salt water, seaweed.  We will add more to our list throughout the summer.

We by-passed our first circle as I had a new toy set up outside which definitely grabbed the kids’ attention.  I knew it would be impossible to pull them all in for a circle when there was a roller coaster waiting outside for them.  An alumni parent reached me to see if we would be interested in this fun addition.  I jumped at the opportunity although I knew that storage would be difficult.  Her thought was for in the gym, but that would definitely be tough to store.  It comes apart, but I think it would still be difficult to put in the gym closet.  Hence, I set it up outside for now to see how it went over with the kids.

It is almost as far back as the sandbox and extends to the door.  The roller coaster car goes down the tracks and continues until it hits the old compost box.  The kids had a ball and before too long they were reciting whose turn it was making sure everyone was included.  Simon and Sebastian spent most of the morning outside with the roller coaster!

Back in the shady area, Rowan was setting up a tea table and invited several of us to join him.  We had sand tea and maple tea.  I personally prefer a dark tea.

Inside, Isla and River were at the sand table using the shells to create impressions in the moon sand.  Josie was the only one to work on a votive holder using shells and a jar.  It looks pretty cool.

There was a lot going on in the gym with jumping, riding, and dressing up.  Again, they were doing a good job remembering to ask if they could have something when the other was done.

My thanks to Angie for all of her help today!

 

Wednesday, June 21 - What We Did Today!

 

Happy summer!  We had a “first” circle at 9:45 for the first time and the kids did well.  Of course, it is always a bit easier when you have eight kids rather than 15!  We talked about what options were available and then I set them free. 

At the art table, we made sun visors to keep the sun out of our eyes when we were outside playing.  Josie was ready to test hers right away!  She, Sebastian and Liam were outside for a while playing in the sandbox or climbing, but it was so hot they didn’t last too long.

At the sensory table, we had trays of shaving cream.  Always a favorite with my sensory kids as well as some of the curious kids.  What is that?  What does it feel like?  What do you do with it?  Check it out and make your own decisions!

The water table just had water in it.  At first, some of the kids put farm animals in and then played out scenarios with bad guys and good guys.  They played very well together.  Then Eliza decided to make a beach with the shells on the rug. Once she started, I asked her where she thought she could have a beach.  She looked over at the water table and put in the shells.  She started to put other things into the water and I asked her if she would find that at the beach.  She said no and then found some rocks.  “These would be at the beach!”  And on she went.  Rowan immediately began helping her look for things that you would find at the beach.  We will continue with this thought next week as well.

At the dry table, I have a special sand.  It is great as a way to build sand castles without having to use water.  It holds its’ shape well.  Many of the kids hung out working with this medium together.

We had two more circles, one to sing and one to read, before going home.  Thanks for sending your kids, they make this so much fun.

My thanks to Rachel for all of her help today!

Music Camp - Day two

After recapping our conversation about rhythm, we talked about dynamics - the loud and soft of music.  I used a ruler on the table to show them what sound waves might look like if we could see them.  They all practiced with their own ruler and some discovered that the bigger the sound wave the louder the sound and the smaller the sound wave the softer the sound.  We used some of yesterdays instruments to practice loud and soft before moving to the table to create rain sticks, sand blocks, and bells.