Our first week at Crozet PlaySchool was a success! There were a few tears from some of my younger friends, but we quickly dried our eyes and got in on the first week of exploring and fun!
As a former first grade teacher I was able to attend a week long workshop called, “Responsive Classroom.” It is a wonderful community building philosophy that focuses on direct modeling and positive encouragement to create a safe and happy classroom environment. The foundation of responsive classroom is the morning meeting, which starts each day on a positive note. After children entered the classroom this week, we sat down for our very first of many morning meetings! They learned this week how to safely greet their friends with a handshake or a high five. We practiced each other’s names and learned what our favorite foods are for each friend! They were given a challenge on Friday to see if they could remember one friend’s name and their favorite food. Some of them were able to! The second part of morning meeting is the “activity.” This is usually a fun thinking game, a silly song, a dance, or a team building type of activity. We got to do two different movement songs from Greg and Steve this week, and the kids thought they were both quite fun and silly! We also learned a new song called, “I’m a Martian.” Be sure to watch for your children dancing around like little martians soon!
Next we had our first “guided discovery” for the block area.
Goals of Guided Discovery
- To excite children about classroom materials
- To help children explore materials with confidence and imagination and build a repertoire of constructive ways to use the materials in their academic learning
- To enable children to make independent and purposeful choices
- To establish and teach norms and routines for the use, care, and storage of materials
The classes were very excited to try out the block area after we had a lengthy discussion about our blocks. We discussed what we can do with blocks, how we treat our blocks, where they are found in the classroom, and we took a tour of the block area so we would know how to clean them up. Once we covered blocks thoroughly, I gave children the opportunity to use the blocks through open ended play…
L made his puppy dog “lovey” that he brought from home, his very own dog house with a swimming pool.
P and L quickly got to work with the blocks and the animals to create a classroom vet to take care of sick animals.
L was the first to try out our smaller colored blocks. He spent a great deal of time working on his creation.
M was very interested in our big building blocks, he got right to work as well!
C was working on a type of road, and helping M to create with the large sized building blocks.
Another part of blocks is our “tree blocks” and fairies and dragons area. They are free to create on top of the train table with these items. It was an instant place for block building!
Another fun part of our block area is our felt and scarves. Children can use the felt to create a roof, places for animals to lives, make a fast flowing river, the possibilities are endless. They didn’t waste any time using the scarves and their imaginations!
A closer look at P and L’s animal area! They became fast friends!
K got right to work the second day of school in the tree block area. He was fascinated by all of the dragons.
M and L were busy working on his dog house and “pool” area.
L was already organizing the animals for the grassy area. “These animals eat and live in the grass.”
Another big part of our morning this week was snack time. After a bathroom and hand washing break, we all sat down for snack. I showed the children how to set the table with our real glass cups and plates for one another. Then we carefully poured our own water (with Ms. Clare’s help) from a beautiful white pitcher. My M/W/F group loved helping with snack prep and clean up that I hardly had to give directions on Friday, they knew just what to do!
G dried his eyes and sat right down for snack with his new friends!
We got to enjoy a beautiful week outside too! We were able to get outside each morning and enjoy the play set, the sand box, and my sweet little T/TH group figured out that the little brown pebbles are perfect for digging under the play set! I quickly ran back to the classroom to find some more trucks and scoops so that everyone could join in the fun.
The second guided discovery we had after we came back inside was our first activity on our “Play Trays.” The play trays are large white finger painting trays that I use to lay out different sensory activities. It was so fun to see the children get so excited for our coconut play dough. I offered them play dough, a rolling pin, a small bucket of sea shells, gems, and under the sea creatures. They got right to work exploring the play dough and all of its possibilities.
C was very busy with the play dough and the gems. She pushed the gems into the dough to create a design.
L was working hard to roll out his play dough.
M showed his friends how to use the pointy edge of the shell to create a hole in the play dough.
L searching for just the right shell for his play dough.
P enjoyed the animals that went into the play dough.
D was very busy with his play dough. He even posed with his creation for me.
G was squishing the shells into the play dough.
E and L were having big discussions about what to do with the play dough.
Our M/W/F group also had time to have guided discoveries for the sensory tables and the kitchen area. They were so busy in the mermaid lagoon. Some children didn’t leave this choice for the rest of the morning!
E and M were discussing the kitchen, and what they should start cooking first!
The sand dough table was also opened on Friday too! We didn’t play with as much as the mermaid lagoon. We’ll see who visits it next week!
All in all it was busy and fun first week of school! Our themes right now are community building, establishing routines and rules, learning to clean up/take care of our classroom, and summer fun. Many of the sensory activities were sand and summer based since it is still hot outside right now!
Our first FULL week of school starts tomorrow, wish us luck! Best, Clare