Ice Collections

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The children discovered a large pile of ice chunks today. Within five minutes, everyone in the class was involved in excavating the various shapes and adding them to collections.  Many ideas were attempted to dismount the ice from the surrounding snow.  Sticks were used to pry up the edges.  Shovels chopped at the large swaths of ice covering the grass.  Ice found on abandoned sleds was dislodged through semi-gentle whacking upon the porch.

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Getting the ice to its destination was another feat, altogether.  At first, the children carried individual pieces to their collection points.  When that proved to be too laborious, sleds were employed for the purpose.

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The collections were varied and ran from large to small.  Some children aimed to claim as many pieces of ice as possible.  Other groups gathered the largest chunks they could find.  One child carefully chose the three she thought were the most beautiful.  The grand purpose of most of the collections was the process of finding and gathering the ice.  A few, however, did choose to add their ice to their in-game play scenario.  The picture below with the crushed snow/ice belongs to a story of cooking and preparing for a party.

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The Lure of Technology

Even outside, tech is on the little ones’ minds.  All these natural surroundings and we have to invent electronics.  Here we have two friends working on the computer they built in the play house.

Quote of the day yesterday:

“Mrs. Forst, can you help me? I’ve got some nature in my hat.”

 

Field Day

This Friday is Field Day. On this exciting day, the entire school will be working together to solve whatever physical challenges Mr. Cooper has designed for us all. The grade levels will be intermingled as we play, exercise, and try ours hands at cooperative, community building outdoor activities.

The fun begins after lunch and continues until 3:00. All Pre-K students are invited to stay until carpool at 3:20. Please make sure your child is dressed for the weather, has on sunscreen, and has sneakers for running in the grass. If you would like to send in sunscreen, the spray type is the easiest for us to apply, but we’ll work with whatever you have. Please be sure to have your sunscreen labeled.

My, what a week!

Goodness, I thought that updating the blog on Tuesdays would work out wonderfully with my schedule! So here I am, sitting at my computer, looking through last week’s photos for a memory jog.  Great Googily Moogily! Who knew we’d have so many things to share with you?  Using the most logical sequence, we’ll go chronologically.

Painting

Early last week, we moved the easel back into our room.  Painting is always a popular activity in Pre-K.  We love it for its fluid way of including experimentation (color, pressure, design, form, story development), fine and large motor development, and simple joy.  Watching the children progress through stages of paint use during the year tells us much about their growth.  Many early painters choose to paint large swaths of color, frequently mixing them on the page as they go.  Others use the brush to tell a story (also including large “blobs” and lines of color) that can only be truly witnessed once.  As the tale progresses, the previous parts become buried in the layers.

As the children gain more experience with paint and grow in their ability to represent their world abstractly, their paintings take on more “realistic” features.   Isn’t that odd? As they make the connection between abstract symbols and their world, their pictures become more “lifelike”.

Campfire Songs

After a successful, if not dry, Applefest, our campus grounds are coated with a nice blanket of hay.  This new material has inspired everything from planting, to “feather” coated art projects (using the hay seed stalks), to inspired fairy and dragon egg tending.  A single project, however, grabbed the attention of the entire class.  One morning, Mrs. Pless and I noticed a few children playing in an area that looked rather nest-like.

Notice the Nest Shape?

Being the inquisitive teachers we are, we asked what kind of nest it was.  Lo and behold, it was not a nest! (I bet you guessed that already.)  It was a campfire!  The bumper around the edge was for leaning against, the logs were for sitting on, and piles of rocks and dirt were added to the middle for the “fire”.  Well, I couldn’t let my children experience a campfire without the most important ingredient! I ran off to find some marshmallows (read: cotton balls).  A few minutes later, the hunt was on for the perfect roasting stick.  We tried fat sticks, short sticks, pieces of grass, parts of corn stalk, two pronged sticks, and even one piece of bark.  The children jumped right into “roasting” their marshmallows complete with turning and blowing on them when removed from the fire.  It was obvious some of them had had this experience before.  Mrs. Pless and I were inspired to pull old camp songs out of our dusty memories to serenade the children with.  I’m not sure they were that impressed with our singing, but they sure did enjoy the fire-side atmosphere.

Hay Sprinkles
Roasting Marshmallows
Carefully Turning Marshmallows
According to the children, the stones make it hotter.
Rockin' the Double Roaster
Stories and Songs Around the Fire

(Disclaimer: Just in case it’s too hard to tell, there is not an actual fire in the middle of this hay pile.  And our cotton balls just didn’t taste quite like marshmallows.  Take my word for it.)

Let it Snow!

Who knew we would have so much snow on Wednesday?  Most of us were caught a bit off-guard and didn’t send their children to school in snow boots (myself included).  However, the lack of proper gear did not in any way distract the children from their true goal: Snow = Snowman.

Upon arrival on Wednesday, our window seat was a hot place to be. (Irony intended, of course.)  Using our binoculars, the children kept track of the quickly blowing and building snow as if it were a gift from the sky.  They gave frequent updates on the thickness and “swirliness” of  the growing layer of white.  Each child was practically holding their breath until we could get out and into the snow.

Rolling the Snow

We chose to play in front of the farm-house since it was much too muddy still on our back field.  This area was also free of foot prints, fairly flat, and thus prime snowball rolling property.  After much experimenting with pressing the snow together to make a snowman, I took a little “teacher initiative” and showed them how to squeeze the snow into a ball and then roll it in the snow.  Ball rolling turned out to be more fun than planning the snowman.  We ended up with 8 separate balls of varying sizes.  Some didn’t quite make it back to the snowman, being dropped somewhere along the way.  Yet, we did finally end up with a handsome specimen with two wood chip eyes, four arms, and  an extra head.

Final Touches

It is now obvious that we have entered fully into the winter months.  Please make sure your child has a pair of boots that they may wear in the snow every day.  Boots and/or a change of shoes for inside may stay in the classroom over night to make things easier for you in the morning.  We also have a place for mittens, gloves, hats, and scarves that can stay at school.  All of the children should have a pair of snow-bibs or a snow-suit to leave at school for outdoor play.  We will continue to play outside every day unless it is frigidly cold or pouring down rain.