Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Happy Tuesday!

    I'm feeling really excited writing this blog post tonight. :) 

    You guys - the kids had such a good day together. I saw so many wonderful moments that showed me just how much this group has already grown since the beginning of the year. They are establishing their own connections with classmates. They have made huge strides in how they enter play scenarios with each other. They are both testing boundaries and beginning to trust that there is safety and reassurance in having those boundaries in place. I am so excited to see where this group ends up by the end of the semester. 

    Ok... now that I've gotten my excitement out of the way... here's what we've been up to so far this week:

    Yesterday we had lots of time in the outdoor classroom where we played in the sandbox, water our vegetable gardens, and explored the treasures in the fairy gardens. 

    In the classroom we are using autumn & harvest inspired paint colors for a fun process art invitation that will later be used for Sukkot decorations!

    We have been really engaged in the sensory table as well. With this group - water is where it's at! See below!

    Over the past few days the kids have been really working on coming together as a group after snack for our story time. With Yom Kippur coming up this week, we have been reading stories that help us understand the meaning and importance of the High Holidays. Over the last couple of days we have read "Sound the Shofar: A Story for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur" by Leslie Kimmelman and "The Spiffiest Giant in Town" by Julia Donaldson. "Sound the Shofar" gives a lovely, simple look into how one family, and likely many others, celebrates Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. 

    We have also been talking about kindness and good deeds (or Mitzvahs), as well as how we can do better when we make a mistake. While "The Spiffiest Giant in Town" is not directly connected to the holidays, I love this book for it's fun, rhyming prose, as well as its theme of kindness to others. It is full of good deeds done by The Spiffiest Giant. The children really connected with these simple acts of kindness that really made a big difference for the giant's friends. 

    These concepts of empathy and thinking of others is very new to children of this age. They are only starting to enter a place developmentally where it's even possible for them to notice that other people have needs too, but it is something we discuss every day in the classroom. By having conversations with young children about noticing what's happening with the people around us, paying attention to and naming the feelings inside ourselves as well as others, and giving them opportunities to practice making choices that may be kind or beneficial to others, we are working on building empathy in these little people. This beautiful holiday season has given us a lot of wonderful opportunities to highlight this work. 

    As briefly mentioned above, we are also starting to discuss the upcoming holiday of Sukkot! I will share more on that later this week! In the mean time - be well! And enjoy the pictures of these lovely little humans you all share with me everyday!  

We started with water beads, cups, spoons and a scale to explore. Later, we traded out some of our scooping tools for foam blocks and shaving cream! This is one of my favorite sensory table activities. The shaving cream acts like a "glue" for the foam blocks. The kids use different utensils to spread the "glue" over the surface of the blocks and then stack them. The shaving cream keeps the blocks stuck together once stacked. Later on - the kids decided we needed to add WATER to the table too. More on that below. 

Pictures of Sukkahs have been placed in different places throughout the room to provide building inspiration. We will be doing more with this as the week goes on in preparation for Sukkot. 

The kids use the wooden balls as a tool to move the paint around the paper. Some friends moved the paint across their paper by rolling the ball back and forth while tilting the tray, just like S is doing here. Some friends, like D on the right, found a way to push the ball across the paper in different ways, using other tools, like the paint brush. Some friends stuck to the "tried and true" method of using the paint brushes on the paper directly, like M in the back left. Each way got the job done and ended with different, interesting results!

The Kindergarten class helped build a Sukkah for the Early Childhood kids to share and help decorate! The Peuton class enjoyed leaving their mark for others to see. :) 

One of their favorite places to visit... The giant sandbox in the outdoor classroom.

Watering the garden beds. Every last little tomato got some love from these two.

"Look Ms Rachael! I made a P!"

Today, the kids were so excited about water in the sensory table, that they kept wanting to walk to the sink and fill up the bowls with more water. The problem? We were seeing a lot of (accidentally) spilled water on the floor, which becomes slippery and unsafe. 

These kids were so engaged in what they were doing that I felt it would be a disservice to shut it down completely because of some water spills. This is one of those situations where I try to find a way to "control the environment" instead of trying to "control the kids". After my attempts to redirect water transport from the sink to the sensory table in the middle of the room had spectacularly failed, I decided to make a quick switch and move the art table over to the middle space, and bring the sensory table closest to the sink. No more spills to worry about because they didn't have so far to go! HOORAY!

The art table looks weird here but - hey! It worked for today!

Taking art outside. :) These two were working together so nicely. M asked L if he could paint with him. L said yes and M looked at me excitedly and said "HE SAID YES!" :) They each used a paint brush and chatted together while they worked. Adorable!

The kids used some muscle today to move the big logs over to "the cave" and made a pile to climb up!

Puzzles were a big thing for this group today.

These three spent their play time after nap working here together.

D showing off her awesome artwork she did after rest time today. She spent about 20 minutes at the art table working on this one piece. Look at all those awesome circles, figures, and lines! She is ready to start working on drawing more shapes and letters!


ELA2.1: Demonstrate awareness of the alphabet

ELA2.4: Demonstrate comprehension

ELA3.1: Demonstrate mechanics of writing

M4.1: Understanding of spatial relationships

SE1.2: Demonstrate identification and expression of emotions

SE 4.1: Demonstrate relationship skills

APL2.1: Demonstrate development of flexible thinking skills during play

SC1.1: Demonstrate ability to explore objects in the physical world

SC4.1: Demonstrate engineering design skills

Friday, September 10, 2021

Friday 9/10/21

 It was a short week for us at Giving Tree, but we packed in a lot of fun and hard work into a couple of days! A few things that really stand out from this week is that I'm starting to see some true cooperative play from some of the kids. What that means is that we are seeing kids now playing together in a way that involves working towards a common goal or for a common purpose, as opposed to a more unorganized form of play. 

Here are some fun moments I got to observe this week: 

Three of our friends here had started working together on setting the table and cooking a meal together. Another friend watched for a few minutes and then sat down at the table. One of the girls said "We're cooking." He replied "I know! I'm hungry!" They looked at each other for a brief moment and then another excitedly exclaimed "OK! Here's your bowl!" The group got back to work and involved themselves for quite some time in a joint dining experience. 

A group of 5 children worked together on this amazing building! Lots of conversations about planning, placement of pieces and sharing of materials was happening here. I had to snap a picture of this awesome structure before it came down!

This started off with two friends playing under the table together. Then another came over and said "Guys! I have a plan!" He started bringing over materials and was showing the other kids his idea. One of the girls jumped up to get more supplies they needed, while a fourth friend came over to join in and asked "What can I do?" With a little support, the group brainstormed another "job" and helped the fourth friend join in. I still have no idea what "the plan" was. LoL But they sure seemed to, and they were enjoying themselves, so that's ok!

We spent a lot of time on the playground this morning. It was beautiful out! These two wanted to have a turn on the swings but they were all being used. One thing we've been working on is learning how to wait our turn by making other choices.  "What can we do while we wait?" Because waiting is HARD! Even for grown ups, but especially when you are little. These two friends decided to wait for their turn on the swings by playing in the mud kitchen together! 

Soon, a few other friends joined, and the first two had someone to cook for!

Later, there was a full crowd in the mud kitchen and a lot of conversations happening amongst the group about what was happening.

These three were very curious about the spider they found in the cookware! Don't worry, he was safely relocated by the kiddos. :) They worked together to use kitchen tools to gently move him off the pot and over to a spot in the little garden space by the sidewalk. 


APL2.1: Demonstrate development of flexible thinking skills during play

APL4.1: Demonstrate development of social interactions during play

SE 4.1: Demonstrate relationship skills

SE3.1: Demonstrate Conflict Resolution

SC3.1: Demonstrate awareness of life

Monday, September 6, 2021

Shana Tova!

 Hello everyone! I hope you all had a lovely weekend, and have some beautiful days of celebration ahead. Here are the photos from last week, when we explored apples, bees and honey in honor of Rosh Hashanah.  We had quite a few special festivities throughout the week such as our apple tasting on Monday, our visit with a real, live Ram on Tuesday, getting to hear the beautiful sounds of a real Shofar on Wednesday, our walk to pick apples on Thursday, and Challah baking on Friday! 

Each child was sent home with some holiday goodies (apples and honey sticks, and some had their Challah they each made left over after snack, a few finished them during our Shabbat Party on Friday afternoon). They also brought home a little keepsake they each made over the course of the week - an "apple" sun catcher! They enjoyed working with the sticky contact paper and colored tissue paper squares, as well as beading their "stems" for extra decoration. I hope you all enjoy them too. 

This was a very fun visit and we talked about how the horns from the ram can be made into Shofars when the ram is done with them. 

The whole class really loves our pet snails - Herman, Sherman & Gary. We do a lot of observing to see when they are awake and asleep, what their favorite things to eat are, and how much they have pooped! We have also added a few crickets and pill bugs from the playground to our terrarium. So far we've seen them eat lettuce, spinach, cucumbers and a bit of an apple slice... we've learned lettuce is their favorite!

She loves playing with the "neckos!" :) 

Stopping by the Apple Market

Counting out apples for the latest "order". 

Walking to pick apples!

Making Challah

Playground fun!

Books We Read This Week:

Give Bees A Chance by Bethany Barton


Max & Mo Go Apple Picking by Patricia Lakin


The Secrets of the Apple Tree by Carron Brown & Alyssa Nassner


Ten Red Apples by Pat Hutchins


ELA3.1: Demonstrate mechanics of writing

M1.1: Demonstrate strong sense of counting

SE2.1: Demonstrate self control

SC5.1: Demonstrate scientific curiosity

SS2.3: Demonstrate awareness of the foundations of government 

CA4.1: Demonstrate creative expression through dramatic play

PHG1.3: Demonstrate development of nutrition awareness

Happy Tuesday!

     I'm feeling really excited writing this blog post tonight. :)       You guys - the kids had such a good day together. I saw so many...