Early Childhood Concepts

Room One: Preschool Mindefullness

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 Every day we are bombarded by media, and technology. Today’s lives are very busy for all of us. Unfortunately, as parents, we find ourselves multitasking, as we try to get so many things done. Our little ones see our behaviors and copy us. We see children playing and mirroring their parents’ behavior. For example, I see girls trying to cook or shop while being on the phone. 

With mindfulness in mind, in order to help our students acquire essential skills , our school decided to include activities that help students focus on the present by relying on their senses. 

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Therefore, in our class we tried to do two activities. 

One was meant to use breathing as a way of calming our mind before starting any activity or calming when we had too much energy. We decided to focus on breathing, paying attention at the way our bodies inhale, exhale, how our abdomen moves during breathing process and calm our minds.  We noticed how our children payed attention better by incorporating this breathing technique. 

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We also taught our students how to calm down when they were angry or upset using the breathing technique. The poster we use in our calming down technique had 3 steps:

1.    Put your hands on your tummy and say: “Stop”

2.    Name your feeling 

3.    Take belly breaths 

A Guessing Game was the second activity we incorporated. With our eyes closed, the students tried to guess what musical instrument was used by the teacher to make sounds. The instruments used were: a big bell, little bells, symbols, clapper, a tambourine, shakers, and maraca. We had fun while using our hearing sense . 

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Room One: Teaching Kindness in Preschool

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It is of great importance that we teach kindness to our children as early as preschool. Our students mirror very well the way the adults around them talk or talk. Therefore we hope to try our best to be great role models for them so that they copy our manners and pleasant way of talking and acting.

To teach kindness, we initiated the following activities:

Wishing kind thoughts to the ones we love

Around holidays, when we were singing the songs” We Wish You a Merry Christmas/ And a Happy New Year,” we talked about sending someone kind thoughts on certain occasions: like holidays, or birthdays. E.g., we wish Mia on her birthday to be happy and healthy.

When someone was sick, we talked about sending kind thoughts:” May Margelie feel better so that she comes back soon to school.”

Read books with stories of kindness

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We read the story “The Rainbow Fish,” and we discussed the importance of sharing with our friends. We read the book “Oops! Excuse Me Please!” and talked about kind manners.

Bring a smile to the classroom

When we talked about our rules, we discussed how we feel every day, and we talked about how our smile can be contagious to others, and how our happy face can generate a state of well being for the ones around us.

During small group time activities, we practiced manners, talking kindly to others, making compliments to our friends, practicing fairways of playing with our friends (e.g., playing together and sharing our toys; trading our toys and waiting for our turn).

Imaginative games

I offered various scenarios, and I asked the children to be kind in their response. For example, my puppet Jane is upset, because she was not included in any of the games children were playing. I asked our students to invite her to join them in their games kindly.

Music

Each time we talked about manners, gratitude, we were singing specific songs like: ”Please and Thank You”; “Gracias,” “Don’t Forget to Be Thankful, Don’t Forget to be Nice.”

Being Helpful

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We praise our students each time they are helpful. Helping us clean up or doing different jobs is another way of being kind.

We hope that these themes are helping our students be kind, and nice to each other every day.

Room One: Caps for Sale

Our students enjoyed immensely the story “Caps for Sale”. Therefore, we decided to center all our activities on this story following a Project Approach Curriculum.  Based on a folktale, the story follows the life of a mustachioed cap salesman who wears his entire stock of caps on his head. He strolls through towns and villages chanting, "Caps! Caps for sale! Fifty cents a cap!" The repetitive text of this book permits children to speak the lines and thus join in the reading experience. We used caps while reading the story and, as the students got familiar with its content, started to participate and act as the monkeys in the story. As art activities, our students painted their cap in a preferred color. They also painted the different body parts of a monkey and then put it together. At the end of the project, we will make our own tree on the wall with all the monkeys the children created in it. We also did some mustache props so that each child can act out the peddler. As Math activities, we grouped caps by color, and we compared the groups (we talked which group has more, less, or the same number of caps); we played with money and pretended to sell or buy caps; we counted the caps on the peddler’s head and talked about their colors and how many he is carrying altogether. At the end of the project, our students will act out the story all by themselves using the props we created for this project. In case you want your child to act out the story at home, the story is available on YouTube as well. Have fun with it!

 

Room 5: Bringing multiculural education to preschoolers

By: Arelys Menendez & Suzette Dort

The teachers and students in our classroom come from different cultural backgrounds, such as: Cuba, Guyana, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Egypt, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Jamaica, Puerto Rico and the United States. During this month, we are learning about different cultures. To introduce the theme we read the book "We are all alike...We are all different." Through this book we taught children that even though they come from different cultures, they are different sizes, different texture of hair, skin color, they like different kinds of food, but we are still the same because we are all people. 

To instill the lessons of this theme, we have:

  • We read different multicultural books.
  • We talked and discussed about the different kinds of cultures.
  • We made a chart comparing the different sizes.
  • Parents and children dressed the doll with their native or typical dress.
  • We played the musical instruments from different cultures.
  • We made rain shakers that are musical instrument that use the Africans, Chileans and Indigenous cultures for their rituals.
  • We traced our bodies and covered them with beans.
  • We made pizza.

In addition, to complete our monthly lesson:

  • Parents come to the classroom to read multicultural books; also, they can share some stories from their countries.

  • We are having a buffet with our typical dishes.

  • Children and teachers can dress in their native clothes.

 

 

Practicing Fine Motor Skills in Preschool

By Neva Lattanzio Temple 

During the month of October, Room # 2 has focused on strengthening our fine motor muscles. These skills are so important for developing cutting and writing skills. By being able to use the pincer grip when picking up small items, such as beans for counting and sorting, or pulling apart cotton balls to make baby owls, the children are adding muscle strength to their fingers. The children take part in many different things that require the use of their fingers.

 It may seem as a small thing but it is very important that the children learn to do things for themselves and become more independent. Such as, pulling up their own pants, brushing their own teeth (with a parental check after), washing their own hands and drying, putting on their own coat. All of these small things require a lot of finger work and add to independence and fine motor strength.

There are many activities and strategies that Room #2 has used, you can do at home, these include: sorting three different kinds of beans into three different bowls- sort by size or color, cutting practice with size appropriate scissors and paper, ripping and picking up construction paper and tissue paper, pulling apart cotton balls, playdough- rolling it out, then cutting with scissors, squeezing, shaping, also, cutting out animal pictures form magazines, picking up cotton balls with clothespins- using fingertips to press- put correct number of cotton balls on numbered plate, or do something with the alphabet.All these activities are simple, economical, and easily carried out. It has been my experience that most child are engaged with these simple yet effective exercises. Try one on a rainy day at home and see how focused they can be!

Room 1: Insects Oh! My!

    This month our class have centered the activities around the theme” INSECTS”. The insects that we studied in depth were: butterflies, ants, caterpillars, ladybugs, bees, grasshoppers, mosquitoes, and the cricket. 

Here are some of the ways we planned this thematic unit:

·         We analyzed the insects’ bodies using posters;

·         We talked about how they were born, how they grow, what they eat, how they move, where               they live, what they do, and their importance.

·          We made our ladybugs and counted the spots on their shelves;

·          We made butterflies using sand and glitter;

·         We made our own caterpillars;

·         We used our fingers to paint the ants;

·         We hopped and jumped like the grasshoppers

·          We pretended to fly like the butterflies, crickets, mosquitoes, and  bees;

·         We made insects out of play-dough;

·         We used shaving cream to trace insects;

·         We drew insects using chalk;

·         We observed live ants using the magnifiers

·         We read and acted out  the stories ”The Very Quiet Cricket”; “The Very Hungry caterpillar”,              “The Very Grouchy Ladybug”

·         We classified the insects into groups.

   Using their cognitive skills, our students had a lot of fun learning about insects , why they are special for us and for the environment.

Room 5 Update: Playdough & Preschoolers

Originally posted on the Imagination Tree

We all know that playdough is fun and popular with young children, but apart from making a mess what is really good for? Here are the fabulous benefits of allowing kids to play with playdough and the many learning opportunities that happen along the way! Here are the various ways using playdough is beneficial to preschoolers:

  • Fine motor development: building up strength in all hand muscles and tendons

  • Imagination & creativity: They can represent so many things in a child’s eyes

  • Math and literacy development: It can be use as a fantastic way to practice letter and number works. Children can form letters of the alphabet, make numbers and 3D shapes.

  • Science & discovery: Making playdough with children they can learn about solid materials such as: flour and salt and some liquids such as: oil and water.

What an incredible substance is playdough! Our room enjoyed making playdough to using as part of our daily and learning time.

Room Two Update: Developing Fine Motor Skills

By: Neva Lattanzio-Temple, Teacher

Hello everyone! The last few weeks have been very difficult for all of us.It is difficult for the children because they are in and out of school with such a haphazard schedule and we have not been able to go out as much as would have liked. The children really enjoy playing in the snow.Miss Gina and I have tried to stay on task as much as possible. For the last few weeks we have been doing a lot of work with letters. The children are tracing large foam letters and cutting them out, then applying corresponding word picture stickers that match that letter. We are going to make a complete set of upper case and lower case letters and then use them to make a class book. All the students need to practice their fine motor skills and get more proficient at cutting as they build up the strength in their hands.

    Another project we are completing now is making bodies.All the boys and girls have traced out their bodies( which they all found very interesting!)and are cutting them out( strengthening fine motor skills). After cutting they will apply pieces of material for clothing,then comes hair,and other facial features. Some girls have even painted the nails on their paper bodies. They work on this independently at work time.

Biting in Preschool

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Lots of young children bite, especially toddlers who don’t have the self-control or language skills to express themselves verbally. But bigger kids bite, too, when they’re overly excited or frustrated or are having trouble getting their point across with words alone. Beyond inflicting pain, biting at preschool can get a student suspended or even kicked out — so if you get a call from your itty-bitty biter’s preschool, here’s how to handle it to ensure that bad habit bites the dust:

Read the rest of the post here.

Originally posted on http://www.whattoexpect.com/

The Snowy Day!

The snow is here! Snow days are a perfect time to snuggle with your preschooler and share stories. You can act out the scenes on the pages of the book, center activities around book concepts or even build a warm nook or tent to read books in. We understand that snow can be a pain for everyone, but they force us all to spend quality time with our families. Check out the story below "Snowy Day" by Ezra Jack Keats. 

Encouraging Diversity in Preschool

Creating an environment that is supportive of the different ethnic background of our students is very important. Teaching the children that shared cultural experiences are apart of growth is something we try to instill in our children from the very beginning. Through parent meetings, staff meetings and weekly team meeting our staff and community is committed to providing children a cultural outlet. Check out the video below and check out some great ways that diversity is included in the preschool curriculum. 

New Parent Orientation

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JP hosted its annual parent orientation. New handbooks were printed for all the families. We had a huge turnout over 55 parents attended. Many of the parents are excited to get involved with our school. Many parents were impressed by the energy of our staff members, increased security at Jefferson Park and the school lunch menu. 

Some of the questions that were asked during our meeting were the following:

1. Why does my child need an immunization?

2. How can I help my child communicate frustration or anger?

3. How do I deal with a biting child?

4. How can I take preschool classroom concepts and implement them at home?

With the help of our teachers and staff we plan on answering many of those questions here on the blog. Do you have a questions about your preschooler?  Please leave your question in the comments below!

Classroom management on the first day of school

by    DEBORAH J. STEWART, M.ED.    Originally posted on Teachpreschool.org

by DEBORAH J. STEWART, M.ED. Originally posted on Teachpreschool.org

Classroom Management vs. Behavior Management 

It is easy to confuse the term “classroom management” with “behavior management.” In today’s Bam Radio discussion, Harry Wong says “One of the most misused words in American education is ‘classroom management.’ You say that to most teachers and they think it has to do with behavior management.” “Classroom management is how you run and manage a classroom with procedures so that the students know what to do, when to do it, and how they can do it so that they can learn and succeed.” 

In the early childhood classroom, we can look at classroom management as a plan for what procedures our students will follow throughout each day as well as what the teacher’s role is in helping our students have a successful experience each day. Let’s break this down a little further…

Read the rest here.