November Newsletter 2015
Toddler and Junior Preschool Groups
We ended the month of October with fun Pumpkin Parties on Thursday and Friday. This was the first time that these groups have had time to play in the Senior room. They have had the experience of a group circle in this room, but they had never had a “play” time. Some parents were present which helped with this transition, but others were just with us (the educators) and everyone enjoyed themselves in this new situation! It is wonderful to feel the sense of empowerment that we all feel when we walk positively into a new experience. I used the pronoun “we” because we have all learned and are still learning skills which allow us to move out of our comfort zone and enjoy a new practice. Some of the skills needed to achieve a positive change of environment are written in the Elect Document under 2.2 Self-Regulation, in the Toddler document (14 months to 3 years) and 2.5 Regulating Attention and Emotions and Behaviour, in the Preschool Kindergarten document (2.5 to 6 years). Please note that the Elect document attempts to show that age is just one of the many factors that goes into our development. Working in groups and individually in a preschool setting allows children to acquire the skills needed for a balanced approach towards intellectual, emotional and physical development; which are the necessary ingredients to have success with continual learning.
Using our observations from the Elect Books, which are achieved by watching and interacting with the children as they play during the morning, has allowed us to begin to really understand the Emergent Curriculum style of planning. The children loved the steering wheels, they packed bags (4.4 Spatial Exploration Toddler Elect Doc) for a picnic and sang “Down on Grandpa’s Farm” (5.4 Auditory Skills and Music Preschool Kindergarten Elect Doc.) as they “drove” (5.1 Gross Motor Skills Toddler Doc.) to the farm and had picnics. This whole interaction was also Representational and Pretend Play which incorporated Making Friends and Social Interest. The steering wheels are staying in November but the “cars chairs” will be replaced with” hollow block airplanes” and the children can pack doll clothes and mittens into their bags to go on the plane. We washed cars with the “car wash” (a box with material cleaning “fringes” that Lisa made, not all toys are from a store) which was well used until someone sat on the box. It squashed and ended up in the recycling bin! This was a whole lesson in itself, about consequence, physical strength and recycling paper. The buckets and scrubbers and cloths that were introduced to wash the cars in place of the car wash were not a big success. These have been removed and a washing machine in the Everyday Living Area will take up the “washing” theme for pairs of mittens that will then be hung to dry on a clothes line using clothes pins which are a difficult concept but fabulous for Fine Motor Development. It has been noted that many children try to unclip the clothespins that are used to hang the children’s art work.
We hope that the illustration above has given you some idea of why we use the materials and equipment that you see in our room. We are thoughtful about our environment and hope to pass this caring along to everyone who plays here.
Keeping with a natural and caring environmental awareness we will be monitoring our Outdoor Composter during the winter months to see how our gourds and pumpkins (that got too soft and started to rot or decompose, at our science table) behave as the temperature lowers and snow covers the ground. We will keep you posted with pictures “From the Composter”. We are also observing a, Wooly Bear Caterpillar, as it diapauses, or sleeps all winter. We found it in the playground, put it in a special specimen bottle, gave it leaves; some to eat and some to make a bed for sleep, and are leaving it in the Red Shed, for the winter. We will look at it periodically and wait excitedly to see what will happen when the warm weather returns in the spring. We have a wonderful book on our library shelf in our room. It is called Not A Buzz to be Found, Insects in Winter, by Linda Glaser. You are welcome to take a look at it next time you are in the room.
It is quite normal for children to cry and fuss, even be angry, when parents or caregivers leave them in a “strange” place with people they don’t really know. It is our wish that your confidence in us as educators will allow your children to feel comfortable, safe and interested in attending a preschool experience for 2.5 hours in the morning. We expect and are ready to help children integrate and engage in this new activity. Crying is a way of releasing the tension that anxiety can produce. Crying and then learning positive ways to self-sooth are skills that we all need to learn, to help us with different situations. As parents you always come first. If we feel that your child is not able to handle the situation we will always call you to come and intervene.
On a final note we want to tell you about our experience with Co-operating using a democratic spirit. When Lisa was cutting open the pumpkin, to make the Jack-O-Lantern, we decided to use a paper illustration of each shape that she could make, for the pumpkins’ eyes, mouth and nose. She asked each child which shape they wanted and then counted the number of votes for each shape. The shapes that were used were the ones that got the most votes. It was interesting that the children seemed to pick the shape they liked best because the variety of votes was diverse. Quite often children and humans in general will choose an answer that has already been used because we aren’t able to distinguish our own thoughts, in a timely manner. These children knew their shapes and which ones they wanted very quickly. They were using their Memory and Representational skills!