Thursday, September 30, 2010

Shaving Cream Finger Printing

Did your children come home smelling a little cleaner than usual?  We spent time this afternoon finger printing in shaving cream on our writing table!  Children explored creating lines, designs, and printing letters and their names while having lots of fun!  You can replicate this activity at home by providing your child with shaving cream while he or she is in the tub. Just squirt a little on the tub or shower wall and encourage your child to print the letters of the alphabet, their name, and any other words they know.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Textured Painting

Some children explored using the textured paintbrushes with the primary colours today at the art table. As they swirled the paint together, many observed and commented on the colours mixing and changing on the paper. Why don't you ask your child if he or she created a textured painting today and to describe what they did and observed happening.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

How to Nurture a Growing Reader

This student improvises in role as the teacher, reading a book to the children who are sitting for circle.
Reading doesn't just happen. It is a skill that must be nurtured from a child's earliest years. Once children know how to read, they still need gentle coaxing and support to fulfill their potential as readers.

Here are a dozen tips for nurturing your growing reader:

1.  Read with your children at least once every day.

2.  Make sure they have plenty to read. Take them to the library regularly, and keep books and other reading materials in their reach.  Many books are available for free reading through online websites or the local library.

3.  Notice what interests your child, and help find books about those things.

4.  Respect your child's choices. There's nothing wrong with reading the same type of book over and over if it's what keeps a young reader turning the pages.

5.  Praise your children's efforts and newly acquired skills.

6.  Help your child build a personal library. Children's books, new or used, make great gifts.  Designate a bookcase, shelf or box where your children can keep their books.

7.  Check up on your children's progress. Listen to them as they explore the pictures and text in a book. Listen to them read aloud, read what they write, and don't hesitate to inquire about their progress in our classroom.

8.  Go places and do things with your children to build their background knowledge and vocabulary, and to give them a basis for understanding what they read.

9.  Tell stories. It's a fun way to teach values, pass on family history and build your children's listening and thinking skills.

10.  Be a reading role model. Let your children see you read, and share some interesting things with them that you have read about in books, newspapers, or magazines.

11.  Continue reading aloud to older children even after they have learned to read by themselves.

12.  Encourage writing along with reading. Ask children to sign their artwork, add words to your shopping list, take messages, and make their own books and cards as gifts.

Syllable Segmentation

Syllable Segmentation:
A phonological awareness activity

The following is a list of words containing one to four syllables words. Say these words to your child and have your child clap out each syllable.  This is a listening activity used to develop literacy skills.  (e.g., for “banana” you would clap 3 times as you say “ba…na…na” and for “snowman”, you would clap 2 times as you say “snow…man”).

snowman                    butterfly                     caterpillar

honey                          sister                           dog

dinosaur                     pig                               cowboy

steamboat                   bathtub                       hotdog

banana                       baby                            tree

airplane                      alligator                      kangaroo

toothbrush                 cup                              pajamas

balloon                        elephant                      helicopter

computer                    sheep                           house

scissors                        cookie                         hamburger

fish                              turtle                           umbrella

Friday, September 24, 2010

Number Rhymes

These little jingles may help your child learn how to properly write the numbers from 1 to 9. Have children recite the jingle and trace the numbers in the air with their fingers, write the numbers with their fingers onto their palms, and practice printing in fun, tactile materials like shaving cream in the tub or finger paint!

Number Rhymes

1-    A straight line one is lots of fun.
2-    Around and back on the railroad track is two- two- two.
3-    Around the tree, around the tree, this is the way we make a three.
4-    Down and across and down once more, this is the way we make a four.
5-    A long neck, a little round tummy, put on his hat and five looks funny!
6-    Down with a loop, six makes a hoop.
7-    Across the sky and down from heaven, this is the way we make a seven.
8-    Make an S and do not wait; climb back up to make an eight.
9-    A loop and a line; makes number nine.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Block Play

Block play can be an exciting, inspiring, and greatly satisfying experience for children. We have a variety of blocks in our room including large and small wooden blocks, plastic building blocks of various sizes, and foam blocks. Block play uses a child's imagination while strengthening fine and gross motor muscles. When children build together they use oral language to communicate their ideas (e.g., positional language, directions) and cooperation.

We have been busy building in our classroom!

You can extend the benefits of block play at home. By observing and assisting your child during play, you can help your child get more learning and enjoyment from playing with blocks. Here are some suggestions:

1.  Try to create a space for block play in your house where your child can spread out the materials and create freely.

2.  Follow your child's lead during play. Try to think of yourself as an assistant to your child - allowing him or her to create the drama and direct the play.

3.  Encourage your child to describe the constructions he or she is making. If your child seems interested, this is a good way for him or her to verbalize what is happening and elaborate on what is being created.

4.  Help your child to find ways to solve problems within the building process.

Help Please!


We are looking for donations of old calendars, magazines, and grocery fliers. If you have any that you would be willing to donate to our program, it would be greatly appreciated!  We will be using these materials for cut and paste activities related to math and language.  Thank you!

Mrs. McLennan

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Successful Scissoring!

Have you ever wondered why young children have difficulty working with scissors? Managing scissors requires that a child combine fine motor skills - control and coordination of small muscles, especially hands, wrists and eyes - with an intellectual task.

Closely related to motor development is physical growth and brain development. As the body grows physically and the brain develops, children are able to perform more intricate motor skills.

Most children are eager to cut with scissors. If a child is reluctant, it is probably because the child is not ready. A prerequisite to cutting with scissors is tearing so we should allow young children many opportunities to practise tearing paper and materials such as lettuce and clay prior to teaching them how to use scissors.

When introducing kids to scissors, we first discuss safety rules and provide each child with appropriately designed scissors (initially with rounded points). So that we at school and you at home can work together on this skills, here is our approach to showing children how to use scissors. Show them how to hold the scissors. Have them practise opening and closing the scissors several times before they try to cut paper. Show children how to hold the paper in one hand and the scissors in the other, to open the scissors and slip the paper between the blades, close the blades, then open them. Encourage your child to keep his or her elbow down, and to cut away from their body.

Let your child practise snipping small pieces of paper, old wrapping paper, greeting cards, catalogues, and pieces of junk mail that will be tossed in the recycling bin. As children develop proficiency, let them practice by cutting picture from magazines, cutting along a straight line, and cutting along a curved line.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Environmental Print

Environmental Print

Environmental print is the text that is connected to daily living. This text is found all around us on food labels, signs, restaurant names and menus, billboards, logos, newspapers, magazines, and other sources of media.  

We will be using our large black board space as an environmental print word wall. Posting familiar words helps build children's confidence as readers and helps them to recognize many initial sound-letter relationships as they immediately read a word.

Today your child brought home a baggie and attached note. Please spend time searching your house for familiar environmental print words that can be sent to school and added to our word wall.

Thank you for your help with this literacy initiative!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Websites to Support Your Child's Learning

More websites have been added to the bottom collection. Check them out!

Our First Week Together!

Phew!  Are your children tired this weekend?  We were BUSY at school this first week together - singing, dancing, playing, building, and having lots of fun getting to know one another!  Here are some of the things we did:

Built with big blocks

Created designs with pattern blocks

Drew and wrote with chalk

Blew bubbles

Played ball

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

House Keeping

Thanks for your support in checking your child's mailbag each day after school. Just a reminder that all forms are due back at school as soon as possible.

We spent much of our afternoon today exploring different writing materials including crayons, pencils, and sidewalk chalk. Why don't you ask your child to describe what he or she drew on the playground hard top with sidewalk chalk this afternoon?

Monday, September 13, 2010

A Great First Day!

Wow!  Thank you to everyone for a great first day today!  Morning drop-off and end of the day pick-up were very smooth and the children seemed to have a great day!  We spent our time reading, building, painting, cooperating, and eating!  You can see from the picture of our overflowing drying rack that the children especially enjoyed the painting easel!

After spending the first day together we have some additional items we wish to share with you:

-a reminder that we are encouraging families to send 'peanut free' lunches as we have a child with a very severe peanut reaction in our classroom. Your help with this important matter is very much appreciated!

-please discuss with your child how he or she should eat his or her lunch. We have a snack center during free choice time as well as two organized eating times (nutrition breaks) and your child should eat when he or she is hungry, but also save food for the rest of the day.

-children seemed to become very thirsty as the day went on. You may wish to consider sending a large water bottle that can be sipped upon as your child needs water.

-we greatly appreciate the many wonderful donations to our classroom program. Thank you for such generosity!

-a reminder to check your child's note tote each night and send it back to school the next day. Many, many forms and informational sheets were sent home today. Please return these papers as soon as possible.

See you tomorrow!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Idea of the Day

"To children, time is measured in units of joy."  S.G. Clemens

We are looking forward to beginning our journey with your families and children on Monday, September 13. Walkers can meet outside the office at 8:45 to be picked up and brought to our classroom by an early learning team member, and bus friends will be walked down to our classroom by bus monitors.  We can't wait!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Family Interviews

It was wonderful to meet so many wonderful families today! We enjoyed seeing all the excited faces (of children and parents) and are really looking forward to starting on our early years journey with you on Monday! Thank you for your interest in our program!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Developing Fine Motor Control

Children are not born with fine motor control. The process begins early, when infants and toddlers reach for and grasp objects. But development and coordination of wrist and finger muscles - necessary for handwriting later - comes slowly and requires lots of practise.

Adults can help children develop fine motor control by providing appropriate materials for practice. Play dough and building blocks such as legos are two of the best materials.

One of the many skills learned through playing with play dough and legos is the development of strength and dexterity in the hands. Simply through pinching, rolling, and shaping play dough, children develop strength in finger and wrist muscles. Connecting legos together develops hand muscles and the pincer grasp, the touching of the thumb and fingers that is important for holding pens, pencils, silverware, brushes, and other important tools.

Play dough and legos are both open-ended materials. Children can experiment with these however they choose. These materials not only help develop fine motor skills, but also provide opportunities for children to engage in rich oral conversations with one another as they play, and practice and discover many math related skills.

Play dough can be made at home or purchased. Legos are a considerable investment but worth it. Both materials provide hours of enjoyment, many ways to enhance fine motor skills, and great opportunities for intellectual development.

Mrs. McLennan's Marvelous Play Dough Recipe 

Involving your child in the making of this recipe will also provide an opportunity for you to engage him or her in mathematical exploration (measuring, counting) as well as directional oral language (e.g., "first let's pour in the flour, next let's add some salt).

1 cup white flour
1/2 cup table salt
1 table spoon cream of tartar
1 cup water
1 package of dry kool aid (will colour and scent the dough)

*double or triple recipe depending on how much playdough you would like to have. I usually triple the recipe for our classroom when making it for our play dough center

Add all ingredients together and stir. Slowly add in additional flour until the dough is firm enough to knead. Knead together ingredients and slowly add in more flour until desired stickiness is reached. Play dough should be firm enough to hold a shape and not stick to fingers.
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