September flew by for both the staff and the children. The children are beginning to adjust to the routines and are fast beginning to understand the skills that are necessary to have a fun and successful school year.
We have learned all the basics of classroom management and the work process. The children know the four things that make for a fun and productive year. If you haven’t heard the children tell you about the four goals of being a happy and productive class they are:
Goal #1: Follow Directions quickly
Goal #2: Raise your hand to speak.
Goal # 3: Be kind and friendly
Goal # 4: Make good choices.
They have also learned several attention getters: i.e. the class/yes and hands and eyes. This took some fun practice but once we got it our class became a unit.
We are learning how to refocus and focus our energy. Goal # 2 is the most challenging for children but with lots of practice they will see the benefits of listening to only one person at a time.
Each day we follow the same schedule (though it is designed to be flexible):
The children come in each morning to a teacher sitting at the door ready to start their day with an individual greeting. They then sign up on our sign-up board to choose what center they would like to spend time at during FREE PLAY. The computers and Smart Board are open at this time (educational programs only). The sand tray is open so that children can have private time and build a story with miniatures and beautiful blue sand. Right now they are free exploring the sand tray but soon they will be ready to write their stories or have a picture.
The easel always has children painting, the water table always has children mixing colors and measuring or pouring and the tables are filled with art projects, manipulatives and things that they can explore. The kitchen is always busy with pizza deliveries, hot dogs, sandwiches (all pretend, of course). Blocks and trains are a popular choice as is drawing. We spend about 40 minutes at FREE PLAY. Every child has his/her favorites. One child may swing every day for a month and then move on. Other children go from one thing to another until they have the self-control and attention span to stay longer at a center. It all comes with time.
CIRCLE comes next:
Life Skills are introduced and practiced each morning. We begin with our hangar, move on to a frog, or dog, or giraffe, or shaker or any of the vast number of focusing tools that we use. We always ask, “Who made you move?” At first the answer is always, “You did” now the answer is “We did” …. a giant first step! We are working on speaking with self-confidence which comes easy to some and not so easy to others. Life Skills is a process that takes time. Be patient. By the end of the year you will see how the skills have become internalized.
We always do songs and finger plays. Right now our favorites are: Feeling Fine and Rise and Shine. We try to do interactive songs where the children can change the words or the movements and become totally involved.
This month we will be learning about Christopher Columbus and putting together a book that will come home in a few weeks. We will learn lots of interesting things about Christopher Columbus but always the priority is the process of how we learn and the enjoyment you get from learning. We will sing “Three Tiny Ships” “Columbus sailed the Ocean Blue” and “A Sailor Went to Sea, Sea, Sea.” We will make a dock and maps and many more!
After Circle we break into two groups. Both groups will work on Zoo Phonics, phonemic awareness, rhyming, syllables, comprehension, and sounds. We hope you enjoyed the first letterbook “Cc” and hope that the children were eager to go through the book with you. We are now a few pages into our second letterbook “Oo”. The children know how to “check” when they finish a page to make sure they have done what needs to be done.
When we have finished our work, the children go to quiet games until everyone has finished their work. We have pictures in the room that show the steps in the work process
We are in the process of assessing all children to see what they need to learn. It was surprising and disappointing that only four out of seventeen children knew their street and telephone number. This is a SAFETY item in our curriculum that we ask parents to be responsible for. When you turn onto your street say, “Here we are at _______________________. Teach your child to sing his phone number to “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star”. Sing it in the car, sing it in the tub, sing it everywhere until you are sure that if, and hopefully never, your child needs to know these two items, he will know them!!!!! Hopefully, by the end of October all children will know their name, address, and phone number.
A reminder to focus on the positive when your child brings his/her book home. Your reaction to his work will speak volumes. Please do not leave them on the floor of your car. Find a special place for them as there will be 13 letterbooks in all.
We then have Snack and Outdoors. Outdoors is always a challenge. Please remember that there are two sides to every story so when your child comes home and says “The boys chased me” (or reversed), the other side is usually the girls teasing the boys until the boys chase them (or reversed). This is part of childhood. This is part of growing up and learning when to ask for help, when and how to say STOP!
After outdoors we generally refocus our energy with a focusing tool, sing some sight word songs, and then divide into two groups for Math. Right now the children are exploring their materials, learning and reviewing shapes, counting and spending time working on instant recognition. Instant recognition is only achieved by spending LOTS OF TIME with a number. We are working on the number 4 right now.
We will begin working on patterns, instant recognition to 6 and putting sets together. Our Math program is built out of bricks. It is not rote memory; it is truly understanding the concepts of a strong Math future. Be patient!
There will be many days when we are working on a project, doing individual work with children, having visitors, etc., where the schedule may change a bit but, all in all, our schedule is as written.
Before you know it, it is time to go home. The day flies by!
A few reminders:
1. Please be sure to send in an extra pair of clothes in a zip lock bag with your child’s name on it if you have not done so already.
2. It is EXTREMELY helpful that snacks are put in individual packages.
3. If your child ever says he/she does not want to come to school, please call me IMMEDIATELY. A cold is easier to cure than pneumonia and usually it is a minor issue that is fixed in a minute.
4. Birthday Snack begins at 10:15 but we can be flexible so don’t hesitate to ask.
5. If you need to reschedule your child’s snack day, please find a name on the snack calendar and make the switch. Please also notify us if you do make a change.
6. Saturday, October 14th is our FALL FESTIVAL. See you there!!