Wednesday, February 23, 2011

K is for kicking, kites and kittens!

Ready to take a hike in the winter!

Muddy boots in the mud.
Today it was alternating between snowing and raining.  But we ignored the weather and began with building with blocks for one group or with spools for the other.  The kids are taking directions better each time we try the process of building something together.  It is also a practice in sharing as the children end up asking each other for different sizes and colors of manipulatives.  Each child has a real sense of accomplishment when we all make the same structure.  They also had time to build on their own.

Teacher Jen and I decided to go on long hikes today in order to keep everyone warm.  The blue group hiked all the way over to the next park-Juel Park.  This is a long way for preschoolers!  They even wanted to hike further but it was already time for lunch.  The yellow group stopped to play at the big log and fishing hole, had a vote on a trail split (the vote was 3-4 to go the "shortest" trail) and then ended up having snack on a new log off the trail under a big tree.  We barely got wet on our hike in spite of the snow and rain because of the dense forest.  By the time we popped out of the woods and had a few swings on the tire swing, the sun was shining!  The blue group caught up with us and we were all glad to see each other.

We ran most of the way back to the picnic tables to have a quick lunch before the parents and sitters showed up.  No worries about us getting cold!  We were toasty warm from our hikes and exploration.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

J is for jumping, jogging and jaguars!

 Kids carry another bigger branch together.

Today was a J kind of day.  We began with making J's out of playdough.  This is something you can do for fun at home also!  The kids liked rolling out the playdough into snakes and then making letters. As we were talking about what we do during circle time and our TOP song-the kids broke out into the song spontaneously!  They really impressed us teachers with knowing a lot of the words and actions.  Since we were in the barn area, they all kept their voices really quiet so we wouldn't disturb the ponies.  We were so proud of the kids to remember the animals while they were singing!

As we headed out to the field for circle time, the kids found some large, downed limbs and wanted to carry them to their pile on the other side of the field.  They organized themselves so that they had enough kids to move the big branches as teams.  Team work!  Yeah!  Some of the kids were mesmerized by the squirrels who were hopping all over the lawn eating from the newly fallen pinecones.  The kids also played "wolf" and "kitties" in their "nest" they have made with fallen branches.  We even got in a game of "Red Light, Green Light!"

Kids around the nest they have made.

Pretty soon everyone was hungry for snack. Since it was sunny, we sat out on a picnic table and the kids participated in books about animals and where they live.  Everyone had a guess about what animals live in a cave and eat berries (bears) or live in a hole and eat mice (snakes).  We also read a book about a Jungle.  Another J word!

We still had time for a long hike today over to the grass and mud on the opposite side of the park.  All of the kids stomped and explored along the way.

It was a great day at TOP!

Snack and story time in the sun.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Valentines Celebration Day!

Today in our groups we worked with block shapes.  Everyone had to build the same tower the teacher built.  It was a challenge for some to figure out what shapes went where, but pretty soon everyone was building a robot or a ship or another shape the teacher had built.  This was a great exercise in shape recognition and following directions.  Next, everyone got to decorate a Valentine bags with stamps and markers.  We sat in a circle while each child who brought valentines went carefully around the group, dropping cards into each child's bag.  Don't worry if your child didn't bring valentines.  There were still plenty to go around.  I hope you had fun opening them with your child when they (or you) got home!

Then it was time for a hike!  We had been anticipating thunderstorms but instead it stayed mostly dry during our hike.  If we ever have thunderstorms while at preschool,  be assured that we will stay in the Ops building and be safe.  The kids had fun walking through the bumpy grass and swinging on the tire swings.  Then we went to one of our secret places for snack and stories.  We read The Kissing Hand because it was about love and hearts.  We ran the last part of our hike to warm up.  The yellow groups kid and surprised the blue group!  What fun!

Thursday we will be back talking about the letter "J".  J for jumping and jack rabbits! Jackalopes and jaguars!  Jason and Jayden.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Hey! "H" is for Horses and Hay!

Today we talked about horses.  The kids learned the song "Horsey, Horsey on your way"  (see below-we'll sing it again so they can learn all of the words.) We also made clip-clop noises with our hands cupped and clapping together.   We had a nice circle time out in the sun on the grass.  Thank goodness for waterproof pants!  It was still surprisingly cold.  Don't forget to continue to dress your child warmly-even though it looks sunny.  Or at least still send hat and gloves.  Everyone needed them today.

On our yellow hike, the kids spent a long time climbing and playing on a group of downed trees that happen to have a "fireman's pole" right next to them.   This is a thin tree that is great for sliding down.  Everyone had fun pretending to be firemen putting out fires and sliding and climbing.  The blue group went on a great hike and had snack and stories in the woods.

Thursday we will be spending more time on "H" words.  Help your child to find other "H" words in their world.

Horsey, horsey on your way
We’ve been together for many a day
So let your tail go swish and the wheels go ‘round
Giddy up, we’re homeward bound. 

I like to take a horse and buggy,
as I go traveling through the town.
I like to hear old Dobbin's clip clop.
I like to feel the wheels go 'round.

Horsie, horsie, don't you stop,
Just let your feet go clippety clop;
and let your tail go swish,
And the wheels go round;
Giddyup, we're homeward bound!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Let's feed the goats!

The "blue" group eating lunch with Teacher Jen

We are still on "g" week, so we colored a paper with a gggg-goat on it and glued on ggg-grass for it to eat!  Then it was time to talk about going to feed the goats and how we behave around the animals.  (ask your child to tell you how we behave around the animals...they know!)  We had a quick circle time and then took color turns going to get COB for the goats.    COB stands for Corn, Oats and Barley.  We got to look at all of the feed for the animals in the barn.  It was very interesting to open all of the different buckets of food for different animals.

Most of the kids went in with the goats-some stayed outside and looked through the fence.  It was the child's choice.  The goats were very excited to have us in there and fed out of our hands.  Next it was off to a hike.  The blue group went to a stream and played there.  The yellow group followed a new trail that had become a stream.  We read The Three Biilly Goats Gruff during snack and then had fun acting out the story on the bridge.

Next week is "H" week.  Help your child come up with words that begin with H!

Just so everyone is aware-we do have snack most days at preschool.  (sometimes we have lunch early instead)  Please bring a small healthy snack for your child,, label it and leave it for us next to the sign in sheet.  We will bring it in our backpacks on the hike.  If you forget snack-we bring graham crackers for the kids who don't have snack.

Just a reminder.....Please try to be on time to pick up your children.  We need our time after TOP to prepare for the next day.  Thank you!

We are going to be announcing a day soon for a Parent Day!  Please keep tuned.  It will be a day that parents are invited to join us as we have circle time, hike time and lunch.   

Also-Parks and Recreation has been getting inquiries for people who want to sign up for TOP. Don't forget to sign up before TOP goes out to everyone.  Sign up before March 8th!

See you next week!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

"G" is for glorious sunshine!

Boys examining the ice on the bark of a big tree.
What a glorious, sparkling sunny day today! The dew had crystallized on the grass and everything was shiny and bright. We lay down on the grass in order to better observe the frost. The kids made their own "nest" with downed branches and pretended to be animals in a cage.

We wanted to spend as much time as we could in the sun so we began with circle time out in the meadow. Everyone did very well getting into a circle and sang the TOP song and the ABC song with gusto.

This week we are focusing on the letter “g”.  So we talked about goats, grass and gorillas and our very own Gilberto!  After a quick run to the Monkey tree to warm u,p the kids chose what activity they wanted to do.  Some wanted to investigate the ice flowing down the side of the big tree and poke the tree roots with sticks.  Others dug into the ground and some played in the branches they collected.  There was a lot of marvelous imaginative play going on.  We modeled for the children how to approach a child they wanted to play with.  “Can I play with you?”  and helped them through the process. 

After much fun in the sun we headed to the new outdoor classroom for stories and snack.  The kids enjoyed the story Goodbye Geese, (with two “g” words).  Then all of the children made up a fun game by walking on a large, fallen tree trunk and then one by one jumping off the tree onto a cut section of another tree. They had created their own game, with its own rules, with no words.  Yet they all waited their turn patiently and were clearly having a great time.   

Nature brings out the most in a child's imagination!