Sunday, October 21, 2012

"You can't see me because I'm a tree!"

 Thursday was a chilly sunny day in the northwest. As the kids were gathering they searched out their friends and came up with games to play.  Anton and Jayden were intent on building a high tower-together. Jake, Tommy and friends were playing hide and seek. (Jake hid as a "Tree".  "You can't see me because I am a tree.") And others were playing tag in the crunchy leaves.  As the time progressed, the groups would morph-a child would decide they were done with blocks and wander out into the tag game or hide and seek.  I was pleased to watch the children welcome the new participants into their games.

A spontaneous game of tag.
Oh-did I mention that each child also got to pick an apple from the apple tree and munch on it?  The apples are finally ripe and sweet and the kids loved choosing an apple to grab with the long apple picker.
Soon it was time to become a group and sit quietly.  Each TOP class day has a circle time. After all of the children help to clean up whatever manipulatives we have used that day; blocks, balls, rakes, shovels or pails, Teacher Jen and I sing the circle song.  As the group becomes a circle you can watch them quiet down their bodies and minds.  Circle time is an important learning tool for our kids.  They have had some good running around and now it is time to sit quietly, raise their hands to add to the conversation and quiet their hands and feet.  This is a harder accomplishment for some children then others-but as we practice it each day at TOP, they get better at following the directions we lay out for them.  Some people might say that this is restrictive and can't they sit there with a stick in hand or tearing at grass?  But we feel it is important to learn how to sit-even for a few minutes.

Thursday, we thought that the kids were ready for a name game during circle time.  We played a favorite of ours-Who stole the apple from the apple tree?  With this game there is a call and response that every child can help with and every child gets a turn.  As your child gets picked by another child there can be shyness or reluctance or too quiet of a voice to be heard.  As teachers we encourage the child to speak out but we know that not every child is comfortable yet.  We will be helping those kids who get stage fright and those who speak too softly to be heard.   We were able to help the kids with names-but we were also happily surprised at how many kids knew some of their new friend's names.  We also sang a spider song-referring to our last class on spiders.

Since it wasn't wet and there are lots of fall leaves we headed out to the meadow to rake leaves and play in the sun.  The blue group pulled the wagon first and the yellow group pulled it on the way back.  Our shovels and rakes were in the wagon and at times it seemed quite heavy to pull.  But with our friend's help we made it both ways and back in time to celebrate Jake's 5th birthday.  Happy Birthday Jake!

We are so enjoying the nice fall weather-thank you for sending your children dressed appropriately for the weather.  This coming week is supposed to be in the 40's in the morning.  Brrr! But we'll be ready for it with our hats and gloves and mittens.

You can send your child's hats and mittens along if they won't wear them in the morning.  Just please make sure to label them.  We will put out the clothing that has been taken off during the class on the counter or table next to the sign out sheet.  Please check this pile each day to make sure you get your child's clothing back.  If you can't find something-it may be in one of the teacher's backpacks.  Although usually we put the discarded hats and gloves into your child's hood so they carry it around with them.

Your child will need waterproof gloves.  You can send them to class in knitted gloves or mittens and send another pair along in their lunch.  Their hands usually get wet during the class-this way they will have a dry pair for later. Knitted gloves will work for a bit longer-then they will need the waterproof variety.

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