As our second week of afternoon preschool finishes, the children were full of wonder and excitement as we gathered on Friday to paint the fabric pieces of a collage sculpture that the 3-day class started earlier in the day. It was a fluid transition from one group of young minds (morning
3-day kids) to the next group of young minds (Friday afternoon kids): using the same paint, layering shades of green and blue as the wind gently blew the pieces. This will be a work in progress as we continue looking at collages and group art.
At Preucil, children move in and out spaces of with much curiosity. After we stopped to take a class photo, the kids smiled up with the same wonder they had with painting the fabric, except this time looking at the camera. Our next stop was greeting Lauren from the outside door to the music room, which was received with much excitement from the kids. She was delighted we were "delivered" to her door.
After music, we gather in our classroom. On one table is a group collage. We talk about how to use glue to make designs with beads, sequence, and other items on the table. On another table, we get to create our own self-portraits with items like rocks and yarn. Yet another table offers rainbow bears and rainbow houses.
The dress up clothes and puppet theater were so fascinating for Ayun, Anya, and Eva.
An original puppet show was performed for the whole class right before we went to Story Theater. Catharine introduced us to two new theater games: Look What I Can Do and Introductions. Each offer an opportunity to get “on stage” and share something with our preschool friends. You might think the afternoon over, but no! We listened to a couple picture books and outside we went to play, play, play! There’s a snapshot of an afternoon for us!
For Earth Week, we celebrated in many different ways through art, music, and books. On Arbor Day, we welcomed Zach Hall (Rowan’s dad), who works as an arborist in Iowa City. Before he spoke (to calm our bodies), we pretended to be trees seedlings, then saplings, then we grew tall into the sky. Zach came last fall too and talked about how the leaves change color. After we learned more about his job, we asked more questions like” How does the bark talk to the leaves?” “How can trees talk to each other?” We learned words like chlorophyll and photosynthesis. We learned that trees give off pheromones to talk to each other. Lauren helped us sing the Earth Day song and then we listened to a book simply titled Trees. After, we walked out to see our tree named Opportunity. We hugged her, thanked her, and just sat in silence with her. When everyone left, Zach brought tree saplings for each Preucil family to plant a tree or find a home for the tree. It was a wonderful way to end our day and start our weekend on this beautiful Earth.
We continue to explore exciting things this spring. Recently, we have started looking at photography including famous photographers like Ansel Adams and Dorthea Lange. We looked at the earliest cameras that were invented and talked about the difference between digital (instant) photos and photos that take time to see the image after getting developed. Some kids will be taking disposable cameras home to shoot images over the weekend. For practice, we used rectangular frames to walk around the classroom to “frame” exactly what we wanted in our photo. During circle time, we did a photo scavenger hunt. One at a time, a child was given a chance to capture a photo of things on the list of things to capture.. We explored close-ups and photos from far away. The kids on the carpet waited with anticipation to see the images when the “photo scavenger” returned to the group. Here is a sample of some of their photos:
1. Something with the alphabet. 2. Something with animals. 3. Something bumpy.
4. Something musical. 5. Something we can build. 6. Something reflective.
In coming weeks we will make our own pinhole cameras from scratch and develop our photos from disposable cameras to see which ones that we want to display at the the PS1 art show on May 2.
"A camera teaches you to see without a camera." ~ Dorothea Lange
On Friday, we captured the happy faces of the afternoon crew. We combine the afternoon only kids with the extended day kids for music, art studio, story theater, classroom play, and outside time if the weather permits. The afternoon goes so very fast and many times kids don’t want to leave when their parents come. But alas, the next afternoon comes soon enough!
All children explore music and movement. Arlo often takes it to the next level of expression, especially when asked to strike a pose during "Find the Dance" with Lauren. He loves books, art, and always, always: rainbows.
Kazu is a little sneaky guy when I try to take his picture. I can still get him to laugh and then I use my "stellar teacher photo skills" to capture a smile. He is learning English as we engage in his favorite preschool activities. His favorite thing will always be the trains, but I often find him playing with my son George, who also loves trains!
Clara just joined us in October, but she's for sure an avid "preschool explorer." She readily is up for any activity no matter where we are going and what we are doing. We've recently spotted her in the art studio painting on the easels. It's fun to talk with her about her painting, color choices, and how there is a "story" in every painting.
Thanos helps all of us use our best imaginations! If he is not acting like his favorite large cat, he is painting a Power Ranger in the art studio and telling us a story about it! All of his characters have many details about their looks and personalities!
Anya has so many interesting things to talk about the minute she arrives! She sure is a storyteller! She delights in all art activities, and spends a lot of time in the Art Studio with Jen. The best part is when she is done with a creation, she must show everyone and tell a story about it!
Rowan comes into school ready to go! Ready to go for him means using our music room to "get moving" especially when we can do thing like throw snowballs! His love for building structures and sculptures is always tapped in the the Art Studio. To wind down you will find him in our book area looking closely at books, with a smile.
Last Wednesday, we had the opportunity to take the afternoon group to the Public Library! It was a beautiful fall day and we began our adventure with, of course, playing on the play structure. When everyone arrived, we had a quick gathering outside the library and made comparisons between our Preucil classroom and the library. We agreed that books, playing, and teachers were the same. But a difference was you can talk louder at school!:)
Inside, we gathered at a table and met our library tour guide, Angela Pilkington, the Children’s Service Coordinator. She gave us a wonderful tour of all parts of the library. We even got to go behind the scenes (like backstage at the Englert Theater) and see how librarians put together Story Time materials and how books come back into the library and get checked in to return to the shelves.
In the Children’s Section, we learned where things are and how to search for and check out our own books! This came in handy later when we looked up books for our idea project. We also got our own personal story time with librarian Casey Maynard. Our books and song and fun stories all had to do with fall and Halloween. Imagine that!
A special thanks to Clara’s mom, and Thanos’ mom, for being extra hands and teachers at our field trip. We couldn’t have done it without you!
We not only witnessed firsthand the real butterfly process at school in the butterfly cage, we truly explored the steps with Lauren and Catharine in movement class. We started by reading a book on caterpillars and picking our favorite one to pretend to be. We then laid on the ground as a little egg and hatched onto our leaves. We inched around like the caterpillars for a bit then bent in half to become a chrysalis. We slowly emerged when the time was right, spread and dried off our wings, Then flew!!!
Afternoon movement class with Lauren was an adventure with parachute play!
We created an alphabet out of wooden letters. We painted them first. Then we went on a nature walk to discover nature items that we can use to collage. The letters will be displayed under the window in the 5-day classroom all year long. We have been working on our letters as well. Simply noticing how our names are spelled and the letters we see in the classroom.
We have begun our exploration of "self" with some self-portraits. The face backdrop is a log slice, and kids were able to choose from many objects to create facial features. The mirror was close by to closely examine their features...
Afternoons at Preucil provide an extension to the morning. If participating in Afternoons-Only, children have the opportunity to explore all that is Preucil—music, play, art, outdoors, etc. Our afternoons are full of enriching activities and extended learning opportunities. Afternoon-Only children start their afternoons in the music room where they greet their teacher and participate in an opening activity, followed by music with Lauren. They then join the morning children who are staying for afternoons. Classroom play and exploration, open art studio, music creation, mindfulness, and peaceful rest are all possibilities during the afternoons. Children develop their interests and expand their experiences. Children who stay all day extend projects and learning from the morning to go into more depth. Afternoon-only children have some time for group activities with their teacher and each other. We all enjoy stories together and end our day outside for large motor play or quiet reflection in our green space. Friendships are formed, ideas are expressed, and creativity and learning are fostered.