Playful Directions

Mrs. Forst's Pre-Kindergarten Blog


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Adventures in Nature

This week, our class got a little too close the pond than our protective Daddy Goose would have liked and he quickly let us know to find another way around with a perfectly-timed hiss or two. The students handled it well and slowly backed away to give the goose some extra space. Once we were a safe distance away, I explained that the geese have recently laid eggs on the island in the pond and are now very protective of their home and their growing babies. I continued by saying that the geese don’t know that we won’t hurt their babies and sometimes they get upset when we get too close to the pond. Then, one of our youngest students looked at me as said,

“Yeah and the goose probably doesn’t know that this is Winchester Thurston and we ‘think also of the comforts and the rights of others’ so we would never hurt their babies.”

Proof that caring for others and nature go hand in hand!

 


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Fairy Houses on the Move

Today was a Forest Four day, and what perfect weather we had for it!  Last Forest Four day we decided that it was time to move our Fairy House (the stick lean-to) to a new location.  With this in mind, we headed out on the trail today with moving on our mind.IMG_6299

Above is an image of the old hide-away.  The children spent over 30 minutes moving all of these sticks to the new location.  I apologize for not having any photos of the massive undertaking. I, too, was busy hauling logs of all sizes.

Our new fairy house is much bigger and has the potential for many rooms.  The children began playing in it before it had even been completed.  We are looking forward to future child directed renovations.

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Pre-K Pet Store

This morning, a group of students spent a large chunk of their morning play time designing and implementing a classroom pet store. The students worked diligently to draw various pets that could be sold and decided together how much each pet should cost. It wasn’t long before they pulled out the cash register and started making money and credit cards that people could use to purchase the animals. The name of the pet store is still up for debate but lots of ideas were tossed around. The look of excitement was clearly present on each of their faces and we are anxious to see how this pet store will grow and prosper within the classroom.


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Fine Motor Exercises

Between the ages of 3-6, children spend large amounts of time honing their fine motor skills.  As adults, we take controlling the tiny ballet of movement within our hands and wrists for granted.  Children, developing from the trunk outward, have a much better grasp of motions involving their entire arm.  This is why many young creators use both a fist grip and large sweeping motions either from their elbow or shoulder.  Practice controlling these muscles is the only way provide growth.  The funny thing is that children are built to learn this skill.  They naturally seek out activities that hone their use of all the fine motor muscles.  Below are some of the ways children choose to practice in our class.

 

Arranging and creating designs using found objects.

Manipulating small toys.

 

Sorting.

Pouring.

Hanging.

The most recognizable one: choosing to color or draw as a fun past-time.

All of these activities are self chosen.  Of course we incorporate many other opportunities for fine motor use throughout the day, but I find the ones they choose most interesting.

 

 

 


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Rainy Day Discovery

This morning’s weather proved to be little finicky as it rained on and off for over an hour but that didn’t deter our youngest explorers. We prepared ourselves with boots and raincoats and then embarked on the great outdoors to enjoy the unseasonably warm day. It wasn’t long before a student noticed a small worm making his way up the side of boulder. We theorized about how he was able to hang on to the rock without any arms or legs. We studied how his body would shrink and then stretch as he so effortlessly moved across the rock once he reached the top. Then, before we knew it, there were two worms crawling across the rock. One student proclaimed that there were so many worms out because it was raining and worms love water. The students took turns gently touching the worm and then squealing with joy. It always amazes me what wonderment can be found on what might seem like a dreary day.


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Let’s paint the ceiling!

Today in Art class, the students learned about the artist Michelangelo and his work. They read a story about his life and how he sculpted a number of very famous pieces that people travel all around the world to see. They also learned about when he painted the Sistine Chapel and how he had to paint laying down on scaffolding as he covered the entire ceiling with beautiful scenes from the heavens. It was great deal of hard work but the result was a masterpiece.

The pre-k got a chance to create some of their own masterpieces just like Michelangelo did so many years ago.


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Parts of a Set

This week we carried our practice subitizing small sets a bit further.  Given a set of four rocks, one child acted as the “teacher” and covered any number of rocks with their hand.  The second child, “student”, then deduced how many were hidden.  They used their knowledge of “four” and the visual clues showing how many were still uncovered.  Subitizing and working memory united to build on the children’s growing understanding of sets.