early childhood blog

Welcome to Room Four!

Welcome To Room 4!

We are so excited to begin a new school year. We have so many new face and we love to work with our new students to expose them to different areas of the classroom and new routines. We are glad that many of our students are adjusting to each other and to the rules of the school. We know by the end of the school year they will be "big kids" capable of sitting for lessons, sharing with their friends and writing their name. Stay tuned for an action pack year here in room 4. 

Room 4: We are going to the Zoo

We’re going to the Zoo!

Recently, we were treated to a fabulous day at the Turtle Back Zoo. The weather was gorgeous and we had a great time exploring and talking with the kids about different kinds of animals. Room 4 loved every second of it, especially the stingray exhibit.  The children were able to put their hands into the tank to touch the stingray.

Another awesome highlight of our Turtle Back Zoo trip was our excursion on the Zoo’s famous train.  The children enjoyed an exciting ride on the train with their pals.  

 

The monkeys were also a favorite. The children enjoyed seeing them swing from rope to rope.

Overall the trip was a success and the children’s knowledge of the zoo broadened. School trips are so important to a child’s growing knowledge of the world. Hands on experience is key to successful learning.

In order to elaborate or extend learning about a trip to the zoo or even to the circus it’s great to incorporate high quality children’s literature.  For example, these colorful picture books allow children to gain prior knowledge and extend knowledge of their field trip.


November Room 2 Update

In the month of November, Room 2 has expanded the scope of our projects. At this time of the year, after all the children have acclimated to our daily routine, our school rules, and they can begin to work together as a community, we begin doing larger projects or activities. By this I mean projects or activities that last for more than one or two days. These projects are often something that has many parts or layers to it and some of those parts have to be prepared by the children before they can be added.  For instance, in November, we began this change by introducing the children to the concept of their bodies and its real life size. The children’s bodies were traced on full length paper. Next they had to cut it out (with assistance) - lots of hard work! After this, using scraps of material that have already been cut, the children use glue to put on their “clothes”. Next, they work on their facial features using yarn, fiber-like hair, glue, sticky eyes, and markers. At the end, they may choose to work on their shoes. This is all their choice. The children really like this activity, become very involved and focused. In December our longer projects will involve monitoring our classroom weather station where we observe and document, temperature, snow or rain levels, wind, and other interesting concepts. All of these bigger projects involve the development of math, science, language, literacy, self-confidence and social skills that are so important to the growth of the young child.

    Another highlight of our month here in Room 2 was the successful and different way of recognizing and defining what Thanksgiving is all about. Taking into account that everything had to be in words that the children could identify with and understand.  The children themselves helped solve this puzzle by repeatedly asking about the globe in our classroom. To assist in this concept of the world, a small deck of laminated cards was made. Each card had a country listed at the top with three pictures of things this country is famous for. This was done in a small group setting. Each child got to choose a card. In the middle of the table was a set of letters that matched the first letter of each country. The children took turns going around the table and with assistance talked about the country name, letters, sounds of letters, and the photos. At the end they had to find the letter in the middle of the table and match it to the first letter of the country on their card.

     In conjunction with this, at large group time, the children were formally introduced to the globe and what it represented, while also showing a picture of the solar system and our position there. What earth looks like from space- all blue and green- the blue is all our water, was also discussed. Then each child was called up to put a small sticky star on one of the countries in our game. Next, we read a book called the Peace Book. It is a very colorful, simple, yet bold kind of book and the children really sat still for this large group activity. The book talks about the definition of peace in terms that a young child can understand (also an adult). According to this book it is many things, such as, learning different languages, helping your friends, giving someone a hug, making sure the ocean stays blue, respecting the different clothes people wear, taking a nap, and listening to different kinds of instruments (this tied into Miss Betsy. That same day she came to school with a big assortment of instruments from around the world. These instruments were shared with the children). This is my favorite new book! This book offered many instances of peace that we are currently practicing in Room 2 which we will be exploring in the following month. This was such an exciting month!

 

How to Have Fun with Play Dough in School and at Home

When preschoolers play with play dough it stimulates their senses, while offering an opportunity to use their imaginations. Furthermore, the possibilities for conversation and interaction are endless!

The goals of a play dough activity are to:

  1. Encourage free exploration of the materials, which encourages creativity

  2. Expand their ability to pretend and imagine

  3. Help them learn some interesting new words that label their interests and actions

  4. Have fun!

This is the way we made the play dough in the classroom:

  Our students helped us make the play dough and then we put the play dough in a ball in front of our children and had them choose their own color. We watched them mix in the food coloring and talked about the changes that occurred. We observed, asked questions, listen to their observations, and waited to see how they want to use it.  

Our goal was to give your our students an opportunity to see what they want to do FIRST.

Once our students have started to show some direction as to what they want to do with the play dough, we joined in and played, following their lead. Our preschoolers used play dough to create pretend events, so pretended along with them. We turned the play dough into a person, animal, food, vehicle, etc. Pretending by using one thing to represent another is an important part of language and cognitive development.

   Our students enjoyed our playfulness and the fact that we were playing with them, contributing to what they have started to create.

This activity was lots of fun for our students as they:

  • played for a long time (maybe longer than usual)

  • became quite creative both with the play dough and the pretend theme

  • communicated with us frequently

 In case you are looking for a fun activity to do with your child at home, below are the play dough ingredients. This quick and easy recipe is great as kids can help make it as well as play with it.

 

 

Ingredients

  • 2 cup plain flour

  • 1 cup salt

  • 2  tbs oil

  • 1 cup cold water

  • 2 drops liquid food coloring

Method

  • STEP 1Combine plain flour and salt

  • STEP 2Add water, food coloring and oil. Mix until ingredients are combined.

  • STEP 3Knead well.

  • STEP 4If consistency is too wet add a little plain flour.

ENJOY IT!!!

This was our happy October! from Room 5

This month in our classroom we learned how to classify objects from colors, sizes, shapes and patterns. Taking advantage that we are in Autumn season we talked about how leaves change colors. We went around the school and collected leaves of different colors, shapes, and sizes and classified them in small, medium, and large. Also, we used some of them to make patterns. For Fire Prevention Week we taught them how to be safe during a fire. Additionally, firemen came to the school to discuss the importance of safety and prevention of fires. One of the stories we read was The Three Little Pigs, we created the three houses in the story using different materials like straw, sticks, and foam. The children learned how to create structures using different materials.  Furthermore, to celebrate fall we made a Jack O’ Lantern and they explored what was inside and outside the pumpkin, additionally they weighed them and classified the pumpkins as light or heavy. We all enjoyed the animal parade together. 

Room 2: Zoology

 The highlight for May in room 2 was definitely the class trip to Turtlelback Zoo.  Before we went we discussed zoos and zoo animals for about a week beforehand. On the morning of the trip it was slightly overcast but it kept it from being too hot during the day while we walked around the zoo paths. We had 3 parents who came with us and they helped us soo much. On the bus ride to the zoo the children were so excited and as we drove past a lake and through a county park, it gave them a lot to talk about. As soon as we got inside the gates we headed for the train station and when we got there it was empty. No one was standing in line! It was great to just get right on without waiting. The children really enjoyed that ride with the tunnel and train whistle.

After the train ride we started to walk around and one of the first things we saw was the American Alligator. He was so huge and the children could get a really good look at him because it wasn’t crowded. Best of all he climbed out of the water right in front of the children. They were ecstatic!  As soon as we turned away from the alligator we came across a male peacock. He was standing in the middle of the pathway with all his tail feathers out and he was swishing side to side. We got such a good look at him.  We believe he was showing off because he knew he was beautiful.  Then he started to shake all of those beautiful feathers right in front of us! It was an amazing sight! The children were ewwing and ahhing.

     We saw many other great things, such as, a wolf, bear, snow leopards, cougar, a huge tortoise, and penguins to name a few.  Right before we were to eat lunch we found a great little play area, that had a great climbing tree and a tunnel. The children had a great time here as you can tell by their faces. When we finally got to our lunch table they were very hungry and glad to sit down. We did a lot of walking and talking that day! As trips go it scored a 10.

Room 4: Creating Zoo Habitats

The children were fascinated by the zoo and the animals that lived there. We believe they developed an appreciation and respect for animal life.

 During our zoo exploration we discussed

    1.Types of zoo animal homes.

    2.Needs of zoo animal.

    3. The caretaker’s role.

Conceptions for the children to explore

  1. Mention several zoo animals we saw such as : llamas,birds , bears, monkeys, kangaroo, goats and turtles.
  2. A zoo is a place for animals.
  3. Zoo animals are kept in cages, fences or water.
  4. A person who feeds and takes care of the zoo animal is a zoo keeper.
  5. Veterinarians are animal doctors .
  6. Zoo animal need food, water and shelter.

The children in room 4 decided to make animal homes.

First, each child became a zookeeper. We asked the  children to construct a home for their animals. Next they used craft sticks, paper and other materials to create the animal quarters. Lastly, the  little zookeepers gave a description of the home they created. Telling the class who lived there and how they made it.

 

SONG AND RHYME

To the Zoo 
(sing to the tune of “Are You Sleeping?”)

Where do you go? Where do you go ?To the zoo, to the zoo

What do you want to see? What do you want to see?Elephant, Elephant

(You can use another zoo animal such as: snake, bear, monkey, lion, penguin etc)

Room 5: "Dali Art in Preschool Class"

 This month for Our Annual Art Show presentation, our classroom presented three different projects about Salvador Dali (A Surreal Famous Painter from Spain). After reading the book Dali and the Path of Dreams by: Anna Obiols. Our children were inspired and created their projects. First, they made The Long Ledge Elephants; we made an elephant stencil and had each child trace it. After that they painted the elephant and colored the background with colors of their choice and finally they decorated it using different art materials such as: Stickers, pieces of fabric, rhinestones and jewelry. Secondly, The Flying Clocks; they cut their tree and glued it on the card board also; they chose colors for the background and created the nature scenery. In addition, they made the clocks in different shapes and painted with watercolors they also wrote the numbers and the clocks’ hands on it, after the clocks were dry they glued them on their projects. The last project was title Butterflies Sailing on a Ship (3- Dimensional), we used a real piece of a tree log in the shape of a ship. Furthermore, they used different colors to paint the butterflies and create symmetry. Ms Suzette and I set up the sails and helped them to glue the butterflies on it. While our students were working on these projects they enjoyed being creative, interactive, inspired, spontaneous, and being Salvador Dali’s Imitators.  

Room 3: Preschoolers enjoying the Spring!

The children are very excited that spring is finally here. They get to go outside each day weather permitting, and use gross motor activities to learn spatial awareness, body awareness, taking turns, and socialization by; running, jumping, riding bikes, hula hoops, playing ball, writing with chalk, going up and down stairs, making friends, and playing in water and sand. All of these activities help the child to grow and learn how to accomplish areas in gross motor such as; alternating feet, jumping or standing on one foot for a period of time, skipping, and being social.  

The children use their fine motor skills each day in the classroom to strengthen the muscles in their hands so they can learn to hold writing objects, use scissors and put things together and take them apart the correct way. They use various tools each day such as; play dough, writing implements, small toys, puzzles, art materials, scissors, reading books, and sand and water. Each of these areas of play is very important to the child’s fine motor skills. The more practice the better the outcome for each child.

The children were patiently waiting for the arrival of our Larva. We received them and are looking forward to investigating them as they grow. The children learned new and exciting words that go along with the study of a butterfly. They now know the words, larva, caterpillar, chrysalis, metamorphosis, pupa, cocoon, and butterfly. The children learned the four stages of a butterfly and can’t wait to see our larva go through the stages. 

Room 1 Update: Reading & Measurements

By: Angela Luca Fischer, Teacher

This month we had many exiting events. We started the month celebrating Dr. Seuss’s birthday by reading each day a different story, by having fun with his silly rhymes, by acting out his characters (e.g. we pretended to be The Cat in the Hat, or Sam, or Thing One, or Thing Two), by acting out the stories we read, by making our own original famous hats, or by cooking green eggs and ham in the classroom. We started each day reminding our students Dr. Seuss’s famous quotation:” Today you are you! That is truer than true! There is no one alive who is you-er than you!Dr. Seuss.

  Then the annual reading motivation and awareness program Read Across America Day was very successful as we had a lot of guests who came into our classroom and brought reading excitement to our students. The community people who participated were: the parents, police officers, bus drivers, teachers from other classes, and our school employees.

   This month we started to explore measurement. We started this topic by using blocks to build towers that are smaller than their body, larger than their body, and the same size as their body. They also built two towers of the same size. Then, we used the measuring tape to find out how tall high they were. Then, we measured each child’s height that was recorded in a graph and then we compared who was the tallest child in the class, the medium height one, and who was the shortest in the class. Then we explored the volume concept and we used different sizes containers to compare which container holds more water. We also estimated how many cups of water it would take us to fill up a 1 gallon container, then we counted the actual cups and compared them our initial estimation. We talked about weight and using a balance scale, we compare which objects are light and which ones are heavy. In continuation to the weight concept we measured how many pounds we our students had and we compared the results making up a graph from the lightest to the heaviest in the classroom. Then, using the nonstandard measurement, we counted how many steps long was the tunnel, we measured how many unit blocks long were our block construction, how many steps it took us to get from the block center to the door, etc. We are looking forward to explore more measurement concepts next month like: distance, temperature, money, time.

Room 1 Update: Collaborative Play

One of the omnipresence themes throughout the activities was guiding children to work together. We grouped them and asked them about the plans they had and what they could accomplish together. We noticed how our students moved away from their parallel play to cooperative play. They created games in the housekeeping area; they had fun playing and interacting with their peers. 

The science projects were very successful (especially the games of our science kit) and the measurement activities (weight, distance, and height) solicited active participation and was well liked by our students.

We hope to get back to normal so that we get into our routine continuing with measurements and shopping experiences in various locations.

Spring is here!

Today marks the first day of spring! To celebrate we decorated our lobby and talked to the children about what happens when spring has sprung. Everyone is looking forward to the warmer temperatures, outdoor activities and all around fun that spring time brings. This is a great time of year to talk to your preschooler about all the changes that will take place, and do projects at home the emphasize growth and change. Check out the song below, and sing along with your child:

Read Across America: Dr. Suess Week

 Read Across America Day is a nationwide reading celebration that takes place annually on March 2—Dr. Seuss’s birthday. Across the country, thousands of schools, libraries, and community centers participate by bringing together kids, teachers and parents. This year Jefferson Park Preschool participated in the celebration by have our very own Dr. Seuss Week, where the children participated in a different activity each day. Parents and friends from Elizabeth came in and read to the children in their classrooms. The children loved having the mayor of Elizabeth, a firefighter, and a police officer come to read to them. The children had a BLAST during Dr. Seuss Week!!

Healthy Living for Preschoolers

healthy living handout.jpg

Last night at Jefferson Park Preschool we hosted a cooking demonstration and healthy living program for our parents. We had an amazing turnout and it was a great opportunity for our parents to learn how they can start healthy habits with their children. Tons of information was shared on how to create healthy natural meals at home, how to lose weight and how to incorporate exercise as a regular activity. The parents sampled a smoothie, a snack and a dinner recipe (recipe above). Overall it was a great experience for all participants and we hope to bring another healthy living program to the parents before the end of the year. Happy Eating!

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.