Road Trip (Part I)

Two of our dear friends moved back to Florida last week.  We are already missing their smiles.  Sigh….

No worries! The children have a plan….

We’re going on a road trip to Florida! Yippee! Oh, fine, it is only imaginary, but we can still make our plans.  To assist in the planning, I photocopied all of the pertinent states from my trusty road atlas and stitched them together with old-fashioned scotch tape.  The class was quite surprised to find such a spaghetti mess of roads between here and there.  Yet undaunted, they began to take action.

First, the children decided we needed a car to get there.  Enter our trusty stand-by, a nice empty box.

Here are a few bits demonstrating the process and explaining some of the technical details:



I think we’ll need to attack the map next….

The happiness project

As many of you already know, we have only one rule in the Pre-K classroom: be safe! This rule encompasses all that we do and say throughout the year. It means being safe with our bodies but it also involves being safe with our words and our friends’ feelings. Today, during morning meeting, some of the students had questions about how we can be safe with our friends’ feelings. We started a discussion about how we can “pass” happiness from person to person by using kind words and actions. Just a smile can change someone’s entire day around.

Mrs. Forst and I decided to demonstrate this by spreading happiness (glitter) on our hands and then passing it to a student through our morning greeting. The student then greeted their neighbor, passing on the happiness to yet another friend. Once everyone in our class was able to share in the happiness, we decided that we wanted to share it with the whole school! Our class walked up and down the hallways greeting any teacher or students they saw, passing on the happiness even further. Our hope is that our little bits of happiness and sparkle will spread throughout the whole school and possibility even into our families and community. Have you passed some happiness today?

Playground Perspectives

We have noticed many new friendships blooming in the early, autumn breeze. Helping children move between friends on a weekly and daily basis is a lesson in flexibility for all of us. Young children can have a very difficult time recognizing social cues sent by their peers.

The most common complaints outside are that “Bobby” either won’t play with me or isn’t my friend anymore. There are a couple of directions we could take with these statements. The first is to call over the other student and directly handle the issue, attempting to solve the dilemma for all involved.  The second, and more commonly used within the Responsive Classroom approach, is to meet with the affected parties and oversee a discussion in which they solve their own problems.

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We encourage the children to tell each other what they are thinking and feeling.  Young children (and even adults) often forget to take the other person’s perspective into consideration when weighing an issue.  The emotionally injured child frequently finds that the offending party simply “went off to play somewhere else,” not even realizing that someone was left behind.  At other times, we discover that the child didn’t truly ask “Bobby” if he wanted to play.  Instead, the child stood near “Bobby” and was disappointed when “Bobby” wandered off.

Perspective taking is not something we expect our Pre-K students to master.  In fact, it is a skill humans continue to work on throughout life.  Four and five year-olds can work on using language to express their own perspective.  Vocalization both cements their personal understanding of a situation and allows others to consider a differing point of view.

Friendly Math Mats


In Pre-K, we practice early addition and subtraction concepts through the use of stories.  By playing with manipulatives as they combine and separate groups, the children gain a strong understanding of the relationships between numbers.  They are also learning to identify the vocabulary used when making and breaking sets.

We are keeping this project for the rest of the week so that we can use it with all of the students.  However, when it comes home, you can join in on the fun.  Ask your child to tell you a story using their friend puppets. Now make one up for them.  You can play this as a game, “My Turn, Your Turn,” where you move the manipulatives and find an answer when your child tells the story and vice versa.

Here are some examples to start you off:

Once upon a time, three friends ran to the park. They climbed a tree.  Later, two more friends came. How many friends were there all together?

One day eight friends were walking through the park.  Four friends had to go home for dinner. How many friends were left?