early childhood

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.

 

 

Humpty Dumpty Preschool Curriculum room 1

One of our students’ favorite nursery rhymes so far was Humpty Dumpty. Since every literacy activity is usually integrated into other projects, here is was we used Humpty Dumpty throughout our curriculum.

Science Activity
•    We look at the raw eggs and the boiled eggs and we observe what happens with them when they fall.
•    We analyze the content of the egg and we talk about it.
•    We eat eggs and we talk about how they taste.
•    We think about foods that we cook with eggs.

Art Activity
•    Using the pre-cut pieces, we glue them to make the wall, then Humpty-Dumpty with his body parts, we choose the outfits we prefer, and the pieces of shells that are on the ground. 
•    We talk about Humpty-Dumpty’s body parts and we  talk about the colors of his cloths. 
•    We discuss about the piece of art we created. 

Math Activity
•    We talk about Humpty-Dumpty’s shape and we compare it to a circle. 
•    We observe how the circle rolls and how an oval does not. 
•    We are going on an “Oval Shape Hunt” in the classroom. 
•    The children have to identify the shapes that have an oval shape in the classroom. 
•    Then we color an oval shape without crossing the oval shape’s line. 
•    We build a wall for Humpty-Dumpty in the block center and we count the blocks we used to make the wall.

Literacy Activity
•    We talk about the content of the nursery rhyme “Humpty-Dumpty”.
•    We talk about the words that rhyme: ”wall”/”fall”; “Humpty/Dumpty”; “men/again”. 
•    We talk about the sound the and the letters in the title ”H” and “D”.
•    We talk about other words that begin with the same sound. 

Writing Activity
•    We try to write an oval and to draw Humpty-Dumpty.
•    We color the inside of an oval shape. 
•    Using the wooden pieces we write the letters “H” and “D”.
•    Using the chalk boards , we try to write lines and then we try to write the letter “D” and “H”. 

 

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 2: Botany, Garden & Earth Day

Would you be surprised to know that science plays a very big part in the preschool classroom? Science, in one form or another, is an everyday occurrence in Room 2. We do one teacher directed science experiment a week, but there are many teachable moments for science daily, especially out on the playground.

The month of April we were able to celebrate Earth Day. To develop our botany and general science skills we worked in our garden area outside and we planted seeds in special seedling starters in the classroom. When we get back to school on Monday we will find a flat full of green seedlings!  Luigi’s Mother was kind enough to come in and help us clean up our garden and to plant our seeds. The children are going to plant these seedlings outside when the danger of frost is past. They are learning here that temperature and weather affects the growth of plants, besides other things. Here are some pictures of us working on our Earth Day Project. 

Room 4 update: Snow for Sensory

After reading Mouse Paint by Ellen Stohl Walsh, the students became intrigued by mixing colors. Ms. Towanda and Ms. Ruby decided to use an easily accessible natural resource....SNOW! That's right; the cold weather couldn't keep Room 4 from getting in on the action. The children enjoyed mixing primary colors to make, green, purple, and orange in the fresh snow. Using the snow instead of water provided the students with more than one science experiment. They were also able to predict what would happen to the snow once it sat in the bowl over a period of time. We suggest doing experiments with snow at home when your child is having cabin fever. We simply placed a bucket outside of our door. Once the snow had fallen, we collected the bucket and let the children explore with food coloring.  It made for a great sensory experiment.

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.

Summer Program

Jefferson Park began its summer program on July 1st. We will be providing quality childcare through the summer months. We are implementing a light summer curriculum and plenty of fun and activities for the children. We are proud to start "Fun Fridays" at our center. Each week we bring in area talent to entertain and educate our children. Additionally, we have "Wet Wednesdays" where the children get wet and enjoy the sun. The program has been doing very well. We are almost at full enrollment and the families and children seem to be enjoying their time at the center.  

Art Show: Preschoolers do Van Gogh

On Thursday April 25th, Jefferson Park hosted its very own art show. The theme was "The city of Elizabeth through the eyes of a preschooler." Each class took on its own task of recreating the city. One of the classes focused on its rich cuisines, while another recreted the commerce of Jersey garden's mall, another classroom displayed facts surrounding the city's first submarine; while another classroom recreated the library and works by Vincent Van Gogh. 

It was quite spectacular to see the tremendous effort put fourth by all of the students. The mayor of Elizabeth stopped by and was thoroughly impressed by the young artist. "Who would have known, 3 year-old's can do Van Gogh!" said one of the Board's trustee members. 

Families and community members were also treated to the musical stylings of Micheal Williams an area instrumentalist who specializes in woodwinds. Williams played an array of different songs that ranged from saxophone to flue stylings.  

The evening was a huge success and showcased the true spirit of Jefferson Park. Finding ways to bring the community together around the children is a great way to build confidence. Have you ever thought of having your own art show at your home or school? Have you found your preschooler was enlightened by the experience? Share your thoughts and comments.   

We Planted A garden

On April 22nd Jefferson Park participated in Earth Day. Each classroom was given the task of creating a garden box from a seek or seedling. Some of the classes grew seedlings on their own for weeks by putting dirt and seeds in little cups and leaving them by the window to sprout. We had a range of plants in the garden when earth day arrived, from daisies, pumpkin, cucumber, sunflowers, corn, spinach, lettuce and various other types of vegetation. The children got the opprotunity to taste the fruits of their labor as the months went by. Ever think about starting your very own garden? It is a great way to introduce children to the growing process while teaching them to eat good that is healthy. Many of our parents reported back saying their children were now fascinated in eating more vegetables. Here is a quick DIY video for how you too can start your own garden.  

Pottery Fun

Students in classroom two created their very own works of art using molding clay. Each student used plastic sculpting tools and small pizza rollers to create their very own masterpieces. Playing and engaging in art is very fun, the students were also learning about different textures and the process clay goes through in the heat. Exposing children to different textures and giving them the ability to use their hands is very crucial in their early development. We have seen tremendous strides in the children's dexterity growth from the beginning of the year to the end in te year. 

What has been your experience showing young children new methods of art? Do you think texture learning is important is a child's growth? Share your thoughts and comments.  

Healthy Cooking Parent Class

On Thursday, March 21st our director rolled up her sleeves and showed the families and staff members how to prepare a healthy delicious meal. Ms. Rouse talked about the importance of incorporating fresh vegetables and fruits into each meal. She also emphasized the importance of eating "whole foods" foods that were closest to their natural state. Ms. Rouse dispelled the rumors about eating healthy being more expensive, all the ingredients in the dish that was prepared were less then $10. 

She talked about how to be a good healthy example to their families and how making simple healthy choices daily would result in dramatic changes down the light. The dish that was prepared was Vegetable Brown Rice Risotto.  

Ingredients :

3 cups cooked brown rice, 2 cups cubed cooked tofu, 1 cup mushrooms, 1 cup red peppers, 2 cups zuchinni, 1/2 cup cilantro, 1/4 cup dill, 2 Tbs safflower oil, 1 Tbs Tropical* Sazon, 1 can coconut milk

1. Saute all the veggies together in a fry pan with the oil until veggies are tender 

2. Add in tofu and brown rice and stir on medium-high heat

3. Lastly add in coconut milk and Sazon spice and stir for a few minutes