Many of us were fortunate enough to witness Butterfly #2 emerge from its chrysalis! We wondered what a brand new butterfly would like to hear right away... Music! We serenaded him with "You Are My Sunshine" and "Happy Birthday".
The whole school came together in a light rain to release Butterfly #1, who emerged the previous day. She was ready for flight!
We wrote our first collective poem in anticipation of the big event. We read it outside and the smudges are the raindrops that were falling as we released our friend..
Impromptu art celebrating butterflies- discussing shape, symmetry, color and lines.
We had a wonderful first full week of school! We are focusing on making all of our friends feel welcome. It is a wonderful mix of friends, old and new.
The focus of our first few weeks is to become familiar with each other, our surroundings and our routine. For some, walking into a bustling room with many options is an amazing treat, while others may find it intimidating and quite unknown, at first. Starting with a story in a close knit group is always an option! A big foundation of our philosophy is free play and open-ended art making, but we do have a flexible structure of the day:
*On Wednesdays, some children will go to music right away and others will begin with a smaller, quieter classroom. Groups are not "set" and we try to divide them in a way that feels most comfortable to start each child's day.
We read books, a poem and discuss during circle time. At this time of year, poetry feels (and often is) abstract. The hope is that with exposure to different ways of using language, we will start to write collective and individual poems. (Preschool written poems are my favorite!) Here are a few of our favorite books, so far:
Feel free to email titles of favorite books or poems! It's so fun when children are familiar or have a favorite we read together.
Beginning of the school year brings some natural themes- building friendships and late summer wonders! As the year progresses, we listen to each other's interests and develop projects as excitement builds.
Each day, children have a world of opportunity in the art room and we always have an art/making space in our classroom. Like the art room, we provide materials and support for creative explorations, shifting our focus to and from process and product. We are fine tuning our skills to make use of the many art materials available in our art space.
We look forward to more explorations in friendship, books, art, science and more!
Children in the 3-Day Class come to Preucil on Mon/Wed/Fri. Each day is an exciting adventure for all Preucil has to offer--art, music, play, outdoors, cooking, stories, and more. Because children learn best through play, there is a large time allocated for playtime. Early in our morning, we have a morning meeting where we come together to discuss the day's activities and projects. Children are then given the opportunity to explore and investigate projects, the art studio, and play materials, Children have music everyday (Mon/Fri with Marit, Wed with Lauren), experiencing the joy of music and developing basic music competence. The art studio is open during the morning for creative expression and guided exploration. Outdoor time is an important time for using big body movements, exploring nature, or quiet reflection in our green space. Developing friendships and the important social skills of negotiation and compassion happens as we learn and play together. Over the course of the year, we engage in multiple in-depth projects that extend over time, some of which are documented below.
1. You need someone to write a letter to. We decided to write to somebody we knew that lived in a different place, not in Iowa City. (Thank you parents for sending in addresses!)
2. We began writing practice letters and envelopes.
3. Get comfortable. Having a friend join you or getting a cup of hot chocolate might be useful in letter writing. Things to consider including in a letter:
4. Sign your name.
4. Fill in your envelope. Have your teacher or an adult help with the mailing and return address.
5. Add your stamp to the top right corner of your envelope.
6. Take your letter to your mailbox or the post office. At Preucil, we are lucky to have Denise in the office help us make sure our letters get in the hands of the mail carrier!
7. Wait for a response. Think about writing more letters!
How did this happen?
One fine day, we picked up an interesting book about a doughnut.
We have to hand it to the author Laurie Keller, she gave Arnie the doughnut a magnetic personality AND a particular craving for donuts.
We started with donut crafts. Cardboard, felt and paper donuts- the colors and designs were simple, fun and satisfying.
We decided to go to a donut source. The Hy-Vee bakery on Dodge St. was a gracious host. It was fascinating to be with preschool in a new and stimulating environment!
We watched the batter drop into the hot oil.
We were invited to help coat the fresh donut holes in sugar and cinnamon.
We had lunch together. The first coarse was a very large bowl of fruit, followed by macaroni and cheese. Donuts were served for dessert, of course!
We had a variety of explorations this month. As I reviewed the past few weeks in pictures, a common theme emerged: engagement. The children impress me daily with their ability to completely immerse themselves in pretend, books and art. Each day, there are six or seven 'invitations to play'. Several factors are taken into account when setting up a table: sensory/fine motor, art/creating, building, pretend, outside/high energy play, science or math (sorting) and known children's interests. It is fascinating to watch how children approach, transform and interact with these opportunities.
is made of one hundred.
The child has
a hundred languages
a hundred hands
a hundred thoughts
a hundred ways of thinking
of playing, of speaking.
A hundred always a hundred…
from the poem “No way. The hundred is there.”
by Loris Malaguzzi. Translated by Lella Gandini
Karen, from the children's department at the Iowa City Public Library, visited our class and delighted us with felt storyboards, books and song!
This year, we have a two new light play options: an overhead projector and light table. Both are built to stay cool to touch. The overhead provides an opportunity to create light, shadow and color projections on the wall and the light table is a sturdy surface to explore translucent papers and forms.
We combine baking soda, vinegar and food coloring. Our science consists mostly of free experimentation and observation. Unless we are cooking, then we focus more on process and outcome :).
We read together everyday. It is wonderful to see which books children choose on their own. Many Moons by Remi Bourgeon is a recent favorite. With the earlier, darker evenings, many children share their observations of the moon. Sometimes, we can pick out the moon in the sky during the day. We notice half-moons, crescent moons and the full moon.
Building big and small and adding figures is a constant theme in our classroom. It is an exploration of building habitats and imagining new and different worlds. We include a variety of building blocks and figurines, with interesting shapes and textures. They are fun to look at, hold and organize.
We doubled this:
1 c. flour
3 t. baking soda
1/4 t. salt
1 packet of instant oatmeal (we used apple cinnamon)
1 c. milk
1 ripe mashed banana
1/2 c. applesauce
1 T. melted butter