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Thursday, 30 June 2011

StrongStart: Camping Indoors

I saw this @ http://strongstart.blogspot.com/ I just had to link it because it was so well done!
StrongStart: Camping Indoors
This was so well done - looks like the children had a wonderful time!

Collaborative efforts

I often take out art materials with no real agenda - there is no end product in mind - we simply create. It's about using the tools and exploring how we can manipulate those tools. They become collaborative efforts. A lot of socializing takes place, and during this time a suggestion is made as to what 'we' are creating.

At first some were practicing circles.

The sponge brushes were new to the children.

They soon discovered they provide more coverage than a small brush.

Everyone was really involved in painting.

It was suggested that they were painting the sun - Yes I can see that! :)

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Songs with names


While reading Teach Preschools' reflection on chapter 2 of 'Literacy Beginnings', I was reminded of the songs we sing which includes a child's name. The children get so excited when they hear their name in a familiar tune. I have one child that literally vibrates with excitement when she hears her name.
Here are a few lyrics I want to share - please feel free to add some of your own!

Buzzy, Buzzy Baby Bee

Buzzy, buzzy baby bee,
Won't you say your name for me? (point to child)
(I have a pointer in the shape of a bee, which I use to point to, or tap a child on the head - they giggle when this happens)
Good morning, Jacob!
I'm so glad you're here with me.

Good Morning Train                                                        
The Good morning train is coming
How are you? Choo- Choo
The good morning train is coming
How are you? Choo-Choo
the good morning train is coming,
the good morning train is coming,
the good morning train is coming
How are you? Choo-choo...
Say good morning (child's name)
How are you? Choo-choo
Say good morning (another child's name)
How are you? Choo-choo
Say good morning to ___________
Say good morning to _____________
Say good morning ___________
How are you? choo-choo

Then you go through each child in your class with the same verse over again until you have included each child's name.... Oh and don’t forget the teachers as well! J

This can be sung as each child gets up and makes a train with the child whose name was called before them, until all children are a part of a long train. Move about the room!

Tub song

(Child’s name) where are you going? (Point to child)
Upstairs to take a bath! (Stomp feet like you are going upstairs)
________ jumps into the tub “SPLASH”! (Clap hands loudly)
________ pulls out the plug “POP”! (Pretend to pull out a plug)
Oh my goodness, bless my soul there goes ________ down the hole! (Twirl pointer finger in the air)
Glub, glub, glub! (Wiggle like you are going down a drain)

Then continue for each child!

In honour of MUD

I like mud.
I like it on my clothes.
I like it on my fingers,
I like it on my toes.
Dirt's pretty ordinary
And dust's a dud.
For a really good mess-up
I like mud.

John Smith

"I'm in Love with Mud"
                                                                                             ( July 6, 2009 - Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images North America)

I'm in love with mud,
It's sad, I know, but true.
I just can't help but splash in it,
Or stomp a path right through.

It's sticky and it's dirty,
And it covers all my clothes.
But when I see it lying there,
A voice inside me grows...

...You can't resist, you know I'm right,
It's fun to play in mud!
Look at it just sitting there,
I really think you should!

I splatter in the grimy gloop,
I can't resist the ooze!
I run, I jump, I stamp about,
It drips into my shoes!

©2003 Gareth Lancaster

Monday, 27 June 2011

Communication reflection

I need to try and become less distracted by internal and external influences during my interactions with others. A determined effort to become more focused and in the moment is required. It’s very easy for me to look beyond the immediate and think about what is occurring in my direct vicinity, or what is occurring in my life. Everything from a sound in the distance, to a bird flying outside the window, or a fleeting thought, can pull me in another direction. So I have to consciously be aware of that at all time and avoid doing so. I practice being an active listener to the best of my ability, however I am sure I have undiagnosed ADHD as it appears to be a huge family trait.
Perhaps some aspects of my ‘honesty’ should be limited if it will not be well received by the listener. It is so important to me to be honest and open and to be very clear in what my thoughts are. The result - I may not care to censor myself in some aspects of a conversation. To avoid this it takes tremendous effort, as I feel it’s more important to get the word out, than to be closed off to self expression.
I should consider not being so open during impersonal communication, as it may be deemed too forward by some. Hence picking and choosing what and with whom I will share certain information. Too much information can be a barrier, as others may not care to respond in kind – therefore shutting them off from the interaction. The conversation can then become imbalanced.
I could make some changes that are deemed more positive in nature, by allowing for input on how others see me communicating, in regards to my ‘unknown self’.  I really don’t want to know things that may alter the comfort level I feel. That is an aspect of others being judgmental, which I believe is a negative trait. So accepting others input can be difficult. I will have to think of it as being a positive tool for improvement and not a negative factor in a relationship.
With all this being said, I have to make sure that when I have conversations with parents regarding their children I am positive and in the moment. I have to be cognisant of my communications skills and the influences on that conversation.
            Whether there is room for improvement or my interpersonal communication skills are acceptable (balanced in my view), one thing I am sure of is, that I am consistent and treat everyone equally during my interactions.
Are you aware of how you communicate?

I share this with all of you because we work in a job where communication is tremendously important. Parents, children and co-workers must be understood, and in turn we must make ourselves clear to them. We must be approachable and carry on positive interactions at all times.

Sunday, 26 June 2011

Created resources

If I can't find what I want - I try and make what I need in my classroom! I have created dolls as individual as we are - showing diversity in the classroom is important, to feel like we belong!
Go to my facebook page to see more!

Puppet Play

On a regular basis I ensure that the children get involved in activities that support language development.
Playing with puppets certainly does encourage language. While playing with puppets I will encourage the children to use their own voices and words to make their puppets ‘come to life’. I will also model how to use funny voices / sounds to show how puppets can be used to entertain. The children really need little encouragement to begin making funny voices and sounds to represent their puppet.
When children have access to puppets they immediately begin putting them on their hands and making vocalizations. I will model the correct usage of language when words or sentence structure need support. The children appear to enjoy this spontaneous activity, making each other laugh and smile.
           This activity encourages the children to use their words and to use their imagination. Therefore literacy and cognition are supported and challenged. It also has the children socially interacting with one another, as well as with the teacher.          
          Emotionally the children appear relaxed and happy during puppet play. Children have a natural desire to learn and to expand their knowledge and experiences, so what a fun way to support that. Children will support and encourage one another making learning socially and emotionally fulfilling.
So as a teacher being a role model, facilitator and play partner need not be difficult or intrusive. There are plenty of play opportunities to teach and model language. Encouragement makes children want to learn and remain on task.
Doing activities that simply appear to be play will make learning unobtrusive and fun.

Saturday, 25 June 2011

Garage sale finds for the Classroom!

I am a strong advocate of going to garage sales to get resources for the classroom, It's a great way to save money and to get the things you want for next to nothing. In most cases I have also received many items for free if I simply ask! People are usually generous when it comes to helping teachers out with the plight of filling their classrooms.

I am sure most of you are aware of the fact that dolls are quite expensive - especially the ones you can get wet and the ones of different ethnic backgrounds. I scored this beautiful doll for $2 - they normally sell for over $40!
Hop on over to our Facebook page to see the other great finds from today!

Friday, 24 June 2011

Sand Playdough

We made sand playdough - first we played with it to simply feel the texture and to discuss it's many attributes.

Some created objects - this is a train! :)


Then we each took a piece and pressed it into a starfish mold.
We sprinkled the molds with sand first so the starfish would pop out easily.

Then we created a sand castle!

A couple of days later our starfish were dry and we broke off the excess dough from the edges.

They turned out great!

We make the sand dough with 2 cups of flour - 1 cup of salt - 1 cup of sand - 1tbsp of oil - 1 1/2 cups of water (add more or less as desired) - food colouring (optional)

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Chasing Bubbles - the Movie!

We never get tired of this! :)

Who says ya need paint?

So yesterday we took out some paint brushes - sponges - and squirt bottles, once the water bins were filled the children began to 'paint' the fence with water. There was no encouragement required - the children knew what to do with a paint brush. It was great fun! Creativity is about the process - NOT the product - right!
One child starts!

Others follow!

Then we try other 'tools'.

Someone wanted to paint something other than the fence! LOL :)

Messy Painting

I am so ready to do this - but the rainy weather in our area is holding us back! I can't wait to get messy and to see the results.
Click the link and see the results at Frugal Family Fun blog! Very nice!

Once we have a Master Piece completed I will post it here!

A Master Piece!

So I got this great frame for FREE at a garage sale and I thought what a fantastic size it is. I wanted to put the childrens' hand print in it to remember one of the very first Toddler Classes at our school. When we were done it looked awesome. So good infact that my Boss decided our art work should be hung in the front hall for all to see. Well that was very kind of her - but now I need something new for the classroom! LOL

I think that even the 'mistakes' look great. :)

Putting childrens' art work in frames makes the children feel special and appreciated - what they create is important!

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Encouraging Language

A while back I posted about encouraging Toddlers to speak by using a tape recorder and microphone - it was great fun!
Here is the link - http://kreativeactivities.blogspot.com/2011/06/we-all-have-voice.html

This week I brought in a megaphone that changed the tone of their voice - we got a great giggle from the sound of our voice! Not only was it fun, but encouraging language is essential to social development - self esteem and confidence.

I noticed even the children who were not sure of their vocal abilities tried this out with some success!

Precious moments

Some of the most precious moments are when those little sleepy heads can't keep it together any longer!
Even when we are eating!

And after nap - we may need ..... another nap!

Hey wait wasn't that little guy asleep during French as well?!?!
Yup that was him!! LOL :)

Sensory Tub Counting Search

I love this great counting activity from Playing in Prep! I can see using this for the alphabet as well! The extensions on this can be endless!

I first saw this linked on Funtastic Early Childhood Ideas facebook page.

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Puppet storage

I really liked this Puppet stand - as I commented - I wish my Dad was still around - there are so many cool things he could make for my classroom! I really like wooden things in the classroom - for storage and toys!

Here is what I use for my puppets!

It looks similar to this but the legs are tubular and the wire thicker.

OK look at this rack - now I want this one!!

Toilet training rant!

Today I had a conversation with a mother who's child is to advance to the next class for 3 and 4 year olds in September - but in that class the children must be toilet trained. She told me she is encouraging her child with stickers and leaving her for 15 minutes on the potty! She is also refering to her bodily functions as 'Woopsies'! What?!?! LOL
We had to get to brass tacks and tell Mom that she needs to refer to pee as 'pee and poo as 'poo - so her daughter will be aware of what she is experiencing. Then put her on at transition times and hourly if possible, but only for about 2 minutes at a time. Anymore than that and her child will forget what the heck she is there for. Sure give her a sticker if she poos or pees, but for heavens sake don't make toileting all about a sticker - it's about recognizing the bodily function and getting into underwear. Which by the way - underwear shopping and allowing your child to pick out their own  is quite reinforcing.
It makes me laugh but when you suggest to the parent to leave the child out of the pull up or diaper while training. The first worry is about thier floors getting soiled - not their child succeeding. I actually had another Mother say she just had her carpets shampooed and that would not be happening! HUH?!
The topper to all of this is when a parent looks us straight in the eye and says, "I thought you were doing the toilet training here!" LOL Um NO! I always go above and beyond to assist families who are in the process of toilet training their child, but I am NOT the childs' parent. Toilet training is a family affair - NOT the job of the school teacher. I have a greater concern with the brain - not the butt!
Take a weekend off and make everything about toilet training - yes drop the 'schedule' and focus on that toddler using the toilet!
Oh and by the way it's 'penis' and 'vulva' not weewee and hoohoo!

Counting to 10

One of the parents, of a new child in my class, came to me and said, she was so surprised her son started counting to 10. I told her that was wonderful, and get ready for him to count to 20, because that's what we normally count to. I told her we also count to 20 in French. She was surprised. Her shock makes me wonder if parents actually are aware of the programs they sign their kids up for.
The children in my class are so smart - they blow my mind! But then again if children are presented with challenges - they often achieve them - with repetition and if we present them in many forms to keep them interested.

I love these videos that present counting in french!

Monday, 20 June 2011

Break out the shaving cream!

There is no better fun than mucking around in piles of shaving cream - especially when it is bright and sunny out and you can make as much mess as you want! :)
Monster hands!

We're messy!

Nice coverage!


I shave like Daddy!
Look at me!

Some of us just had to get right into it! LOL

Sunday, 19 June 2011

An important message!

These wonderful ladies posted about this first - see comments posted to this link!
Such an important message!

Self Reflection - to honour my Dad on Fathers day!

 ~ Self Reflection ~ 
            “It takes a village to raise a child” is a proverb that was derived from the Eastern Nigerian Igbo tribe. In Nigerian culture it is strongly believed that each and every person in the community has a role in the growth and development of the child. The expression has been utilized in many cultures as a phrase to emphasize the importance each and every person, who touches the lives of children, has on who that child will be as they reach adulthood.
            I have taken on that phrase as a huge part of my belief and conviction, while interacting with children. Foremost in that conviction is my strong effort in being a positive role model – who is respectful and honest in my approach. Moral integrity is also a strong factor in the manner which I interact with the youth in my community, as I know what I do has some influence.
            One of the strongest role models I have had in my life was my father, who was a very intelligent, respectful, accommodating and supportive mentor to all who touched his life. He was always the Dad who came out to play ball, help build the forts and include the neighbour’s children in our family plans, because their Dad was sick and dying of cancer. He knew they needed some support and guidance – most of all positive attention. Many felt comfortable to come to him with their questions, problems and concerns, to which he gladly gave input. What he showed me was that everyone matters, everyone is to be respected and even the smallest voices have relevance. When someone’s child needed a job in order to get experience and a step up in the work force – he was there to offer a job. He never said, “You can’t do that.” He would show you how to go forward as you attempted that which you wished to achieve. Offering input by means of mentorship – teaching – guiding was what has made my father a man of great importance, not only in my life but in the life of others who have been influenced by who he was.
            As I have gone through my life I have seen that the honesty and openness of the child is always refreshing and leads way to myself giving input. This may be of benefit to not only them, but to me as someone who loves to share knowledge and guidance. In other words children are often easier to get a long with than adults and the positive feedback a child offers makes any effort to give, much more rewarding.
            The many years I have volunteered and worked in the community, with families and their children have given me much satisfaction. One of the first families that offered me their gratification, by simple means of a thank you note and a small broach, encouraged me to stay steadfast on my path to remain an instructor to children in some capacity. What I had done for their daughter was important and well received.
            In closing – one of the greatest influences for me to remain in the child care field and to continue my education by obtaining my ECE – are the children who are now adults, who approach me in public and say. “Hi Miss Leeanne remember me”? Then they go on to remind me of something they participated in with me, which still impacts their life today. How neat is that!
            Last but not least – my own children are good examples of my efforts to cultivate positive community members. I am proud of who they are and how I have succeeded in giving them the tools to participate in society.
Leeanne A

Friday, 17 June 2011

Water Play

Often the best moments are the times when we have an impromptu, relaxing, do nothing day! Since today was Friday, and our senior classes were having their graduation, we decided to head outside with our sensory tubs and waterplay toys. We put them out on the middle of the playground and filled them up with the hose. So for an hour and a half the children had a very joyful morning!

The water bins were like magnets for the tots to play in.

There were a variety of items in there to play with. Sponges, funnels, fish, shovels, plant pots with holes..... you name it, we put it in.

I also made these sponge balls which the kids said looked like spiders. :)

The balls are made by cutting rectangular sponges into 1/2 inch strips - gathering about 8 strips in the centre and securing them together with an elastic band. That's it - easy and fun!
I wish I had bigger bins and more of them. I have to remember to bring my kiddie pools next week!

Um isn't this what we do with the funnels? :)

I spy with my little eye....

Some of my friends needed to get a little more wet!

As you can see most of the tots clothes ended up on the fence to dry!

Aw refreshing!