As we recap the month of November, we think of how this year has flown by. It seems like just last week when all the children were taking their first steps into the classroom. Sadly, we had to cancel Student Led Conferences as we could not open the doors for parents to visit. We have missed many special and unique moments since March 2020. Hopefully spring will bring healthier days and more normalcy.
Our continent study of South America has now come to a close. The children in the afternoon class all made animal booklets featuring several animals indigenous to the continent. These junior Kindergartners will be making a booklet for each continent explored. It is always interesting to compare the books at the end of the year and see how fine motor skills have developed. All those fine motor skill exercises such as ring making and sewing really help. The art project for South America was the rain stick. A little history was sent home explaining what and why, so parents are in the loop too. It is a fun project that brings out curiosity and oddly enough, patience. In order to hear the pitter-patter rain sound, you must slowly turn the stick upside down, gently flutter and wait. Continent studies include discussions about people, cultures and clothing, but our main focus is always on the very diverse and unique animal life. Tropical rainforest exploration occurred with the help of our classroom interactive diorama, allowing hands on investigations from the floor to the emergent layer. Children would work the multi-layered diorama by placing Schleich animals or animal cards in the different levels where they would live, eat or gather. We have all been missing our treks around the globe, and a journey through dioramas and stories have been a wonderful distraction. We travel to Africa in January.
We have many projects that are theme or seasonally related. However, we also have activities that are great for hand-eye coordination, concentration development and fine or gross motor skill control, but are ‘just because’. Painting and ring making are multi-level projects and often made just because we love the colours in the paint pots or the shiny glass beads. Glitter is another love the look addition to many art pieces. Don’t worry, we do not wash the glitter down the drain. We actually pour glitter spread on trays into a mixed bottle or into the garbage if unusable. The afternoon class did an extra baking project of strawberry shortcakes. Strawberry shortcake is Elliott’s (our Norwegian friend) favourite dessert, which we baked for a going away party, and our way of saying goodbye. Elliott will be travelling with Mum and Dad, making movies and then back to Norway for school in the fall. Safe travels Elliott.
November had many special celebrations and observances this year. The first days of November involved art projects for the Day of the Dead celebration. Our practicum teacher Fernanda is from Mexico and had special and very colourful art projects for the children to make. The same week, we introduced the Remembrance Day poppy by explaining that we wear a poppy to remember people we love and people we love that can’t be with us. A concept that can be frightening to young children is introduced in a gentle and age appropriate manner. The children made their own poppy which they brought home for the family to enjoy. Our Celebrations of Light continued with Diwali (Nov 14), for which each child made a clay diya. The clay was rolled and cut with a round cookie cutter, then placed in muffin tins for baking. After the diya had hardened, a little glue and glitter was applied to the inside to reflect the flame when a tea light candle is placed inside. Diya candles are commonly found at the homes of families celebrating Diwali. Now we prepare for the many ‘Celebrations of Light’ in December. Hanukkah, Khushali, Kwanzaa and Christmas. The many events will include art, projects, crafts and new songs. This classroom will be a very, very busy place. Sadly, our annual Christmas party and concert will be cancelled this year, however we have started holiday songs in class. Miss Lori and Miss Stacy thought we should embrace the classics this year. In a world turned upside-down, we need a little bit of that old and reliable comfort. The versions chosen are easy to sing along with; ‘Frosty the Snowman’ (Perry Como, 1956), ‘Santa Claus is coming to town’ (Bing Crosby, 1943 – Frank Sinatra, 1948), and ‘Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer’ (Gene Autry, 1949). If you feel a little nostalgic for that holiday spirit, put some cookies in the oven (make your house smell like gingerbread) and sing along with your child at home. Make some memories.
Scholastic Book orders through the preschool were due on November 24th. Orders usually are delivered the following week, but due to the amount of online shopping and the season, it will be a bit longer this year. We are expecting them any day.
This week we say goodbye to our practicum teacher Miss Fernanda. Miss Fernanda led the children through some lovely art and science projects. We had the Day of the Dead collage (so colourful) and this week we are growing a snowing tree (chemical reactions). We wish Fernanda all the best and hope she will come back and visit.
A reminder that the last days of preschool will be on Wednesday, December 16th and Thursday, December 17th. There will no classes on Friday, December 18th. The teachers will be at school on Friday morning doing the weekly deep clean and steaming, in case you forgot something you need over the break (such as mittens, muddy buddies, etc).