Preschool is a busy and bustling place every month and April was no exception. Spring sprung up this month with seed germination and planting, misting and then transplanting the seedlings. Every child brought home their very own sunflower seedlings when they were strong enough to travel. The children were also working with sunflower life cycle cards at Circle. Sunflower seeds were from a sunflower planted last spring and extracted by the children to plant again. A hands on life cycle exercise that we complete in the classroom every year. The life cycle and planting of the sunflower is always a great lead into earth awareness and Earth Day. Thank you everyone for sending in your recycling materials for sorting exercises. Learning the “hows and whys” of recycling is a great exercise for all the children. Bringing in your own bits from home helps make that important connection. We had Circles, stories, and discussions about what we can all do to help keep the planet healthy. We also made a recycling card game where a picture card is selected and must be placed by the correct recycling bin card. Doesn’t sound very exciting and yet everyone can hardly wait for their turn to show their skills. Earth Day is observed in Canada on April 22nd, and every year we do a series on recycling and composting. We also have special recycling bins that we use for Practical Life purposes only. Keeping with the theme of never-ending cycles, the children were introduced (or re-introduced) to the Mobius Loop, which is the universal mathematical symbol for recycling. We always have some interesting discussions at Circle and your children have some pretty amazing observations and questions. Composting is a daily preschool exercise reinforced at snack time. One child at a time scrapes their plate into the compost and stacks the plate on the table. Not one banana peel ever goes to the garbage bin. All paper goes into the recycling bin. We generate very little garbage around here.
Practical Life exercises continue to be classroom favourites, and we change out and add new trays throughout the school year. We recently added egg shell crushing with a mortar and pestle. This work is easily done at home. The grinding action is great for gross motor skills with an end product that is good for your garden plants (particularly tomatoes). Carrot peeling has been very popular in April, along with (believe it or not), shoe polishing. Toothpaste is a great alternative to regular polish, and can be used safely for brass and silver polishing as well. Beading and lacing are still very popular, and we are seeing the benefits in other areas with the children’s levels of concentration, focus and fine motor skills. Wow! Grocery stores have opened up in the classroom as a perfect crossover to numeracy practice. Warmer weather also brings the water table outside in the playground. Another favourite that gets everyone a little soaked and sometimes requires changing before heading home (but so worth it). Strawberry plants are coming up in the planters and slide slugs (multiple children joining on the slide) are usual sightings. The life cycle of the butterfly lessons occur every year with the arrival of our larvae. The caterpillars are growing rapidly with an expectation of butterflies by the third week of May. The butterfly release occurs on warm days.
We have traveled from Africa to Australia, and with these travels come a change in many shelf materials to reflect this new and fascinating continent. Our Australia Small World beach tray include Schleich land and water animals, rocks and beautiful sand from a long ago vacation. Land and water form trays also have Australian animals. These animal activities are very, very popular. Our Australia art project was a felt Koala pouch. It was a lot of work, but none of the children seemed to mind. The children wound yarn around a pom-pom maker, tied it off and the teachers used sharp scissors to cut it off the form. Facial pieces were glued together by the morning class, but the afternoon pre-K children sewed the back and front pieces together (great little sewers). Straps were made by twisting lengths of yarn, then folding and allowing them to naturally twist together. An amazing technique Miss Lori learned from fine arts training. Faces were glued on with fabric glue. Yes! Your children made these fabulous little cross-over pouches that can hold your ice cream money. Summer is coming.
Here is a helpful hint for all the parents who are struggling to find balance while working from home. Beth (Sawyer and Georgia’s mum, also Avery and Mila’s aunt) has recently opened a co-working space called One Space. This could be a very welcome for parents working from home looking for a little bit of peace and tranquility. Beth and her partners will also be offering tutoring for the older kids. For fairness to all, we do not advertise businesses, however this exception to the rule could be a life saver to many parents during all of these restrictions. www.onespaceforall.ca
We said goodbye to Miss Elizabeth at the end of April. Elizabeth had been hired as a support worker and was with us since last September. We wish her well and really hope that she comes back to visit. Miss Shala (practicum teacher) will be joining our classroom until the end of the school year.
Please remember to tell all family members and care givers that we will be closed for the Victoria Day holiday on Monday, May 24th. Reminders will be sent out closer to the day.
Say goodbye to April and hello to May!