Playful Directions

Mrs. Forst's Pre-Kindergarten Blog


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Forest Fours Journals

Today, we introduced the students to a new chapter of Forest Fours by implementing a writing component to our day. Each child received a special journal that travels with us while on the trails. The students are allowed to draw pictures of the games that they are playing, the structures they build, or the specimens they see while out in nature (fungus, birds, rocks, deer, etc.). They also are allowed to collect things like leaves or small pieces of moss and tape them into their journals for safe keeping.

In addition to the journals, we borrowed four Polaroid cameras from Mrs. Weber so that the students can take pictures of items that would be too big to fit in their journals. The pictures are then taped onto a page and the students write about what they observed. The journals will travel with us each time we venture into the woods and the children are allowed to fill their journals to their heart’s content whenever they deem it necessary.

Since it’s inception, our class has used Forest Four days to play in an unstructured setting so that they could explore and create at their will. The addition of the forest journals allows students to extend their learning by giving them the opportunity to write, even while outdoors. Through this activity, the students are practicing skills such as fine motor development, phonemic awareness, self-regulation, observation, categorization, identification, and much more. We look forward to sharing our journal entries with you in the future!


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Winter is Coming!

Now that the weather is starting to become colder, snow and ice have made it’s way to our playground!  The list below are things that will help our children stay warm and cozy on these blustery days!

Your child needs:
  • Snow bibs
  • Waterproof snow boots
  • Waterproof mittens
  • Warm Hat
Once you bring in snow boots, we will send home your child’s rain boots in their backpacks. Please make sure that all items have your child’s name or initials in them so we can keep track of everyone’s belongings.
This is also a good time to replace your child’s extra clothes box with long sleeved shirts or sweaters and pants if you have not already done so.
Thank you for your continued support!


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Shadows

Outside, a few children noticed that their shadows were very tall.  I asked them why their shadows kept following them around.  That question led to lots of silly experiments and many more questions.  Someone mentioned that their shadow was longer on the blacktop than on the sidewalk and led us to wondering why.  We attempted to trace our shadows with the supplies at hand, some sandstone we found laying around, but found it was too difficult to make a mark.  We’ll certainly need to gather some chalk before we go out to investigate again.

With the interest in shadows, we pulled out our old fashioned, non-digital projector and set it up in the construction area.  Mrs. Pless added a few materials and we let them explore on their own.

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Most of their focus has been on what happens when materials are placed on the lighted top of the projector. Placing a transparent color shape, they will quickly turn around to see how it changes the projection on the blinds.  Only a few children have noticed the changes they can make by building with the see-through blocks in FRONT of the blinds.

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So far, none have noticed their own shadows now visible on the blinds.  It will be interesting to see how it changes their play once they’ve discovered their own shadows.


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Discovery on the Fairy Tale Trail!

This week, we had the opportunity to introduce the Fairy Tale Trail to the Pre-K students. It is one of our smaller trails, but has been beautifully embellished with a variety of whimsical decorations from the older students. Today, we were able to spend an extended period of time exploring the ins and outs of the Fairy Tale Trail on our Forest Fours day. It didn’t take long before the children made an exciting discovery! Someone had taken three of my painted “Story Stone” houses (that were meant for the small world table) and placed them on the Fairy Tale Trail! They naturally thought that I had placed them there but after learning that I had nothing to do with it, they had decided that fairies must have used their magic to put them on the trail and turn them into fairy houses. Fairy magic is some pretty amazing stuff!

Now, they are commissioning me to make more fairy houses that can live on the trail. After all, winter is coming and every fairy needs a place to live. So don’t be surprised if you show up to school only to find me stealing rocks from the playground or covered in paint in the classroom. It’s messy job but someone’s gotta do it!


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What’s Gonna Work? Teamwork!

This week, the students became interested in a plank of wood that had been used as a part of the circuit on the nature playground. Our students decided to repurpose it and make a bridge on the large rocks. We spent many sessions working out how it could be used safely and problem-solving how to make it more stable for the students to walk on. Today, when the students ran outside to play with the “bridge” they realized that it had been moved to the ground by some of the older students. They immediately started trying to move it, but it appeared to be too heavy/large for just two students to move by themselves, so they began to enlist the other students from different sections of the playground to help.

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When more people showed up to help, they positioned themselves around the plank of wood, lifted it up, and started swiftly moving around the rocks. Once they got near the rock that they wanted the bridge, they had to figure out how to  maneuver the plank without squashing anyone who happened to be on the other side. With some trail and error, a decent amount of determination, and a little bit of communication they had solved their problem! Not only did they get the bridge back into place, but they were able to stabilize their bridge so that students could safely walk across.

 

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This Moment

There is nothing better than enjoying snack outside on a beautiful fall morning!
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A Boooo-tiful Day

What a fun afternoon yesterday! Our room parents prepared three fun activities for our party.  The children decorated mini pumpkins, practiced for the Olympic-worthy, short-range spider toss, and created their own tiny caramel apples.

Our afternoon concluded with a whole school sing-a-long and parade around the building grounds.  Many of our classmates were ever so tired at the end of the day.  Hopefully none of them fell asleep before they had the chance to finish Trick-or-Treating.

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