Crozet Play School

Kids at Play in Crozet

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Lines and Curves


Spielgaben Study


Last week I set up this simple invitation to study lines, curves, and shapes in a variety of ways using our Spielgaben wooden pieces.  Four years ago my families from Crozet PlaySchool all got together and bought this beautiful math set.  I look forward to using it each year!  The pieces provide open ended math exploration.

On one side of the table I put four cork circles, and on the other side of the table was the large wooden grid that is part of the math set.

I let the children use the pieces to create their own designs, and their imaginations were their only limit.












Swirls and Lines

Then I moved the Spielgaben to the block area in the classroom and set up the chalkboard table top.  On the table I drew a series of lines and swirls, along with offering a large supply of gems.  They children loved this activity, and we changed the drawings on the table throughout the week.








We will see where this exploration takes us in the weeks to come!



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Shapes All Around


The children worked so hard to sew the most beautiful embroidery for their Moms this Mother’s Day.  I know they were each so proud of their hard work!  I have done this activity in the past and each child colored a rainbow and we sewed the rainbow image.  This year I have a lot of different aged children from ages 3 to 5.  I decided to allow each child to choose their drawing, colors, and sewing.  I think the results are stunning and special for each child.  Above you can see pictures of someone’s mom, a flower, lots of colors/circles, a rainbow, and lastly a cake.  All for Mommy!

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It took Mrs. Brittany and I almost a week to get everyone’s pictures drawn and sewing finished.  I was proud of their work ethic and ability to keep their focus on such a long task.

Preschool Math

We have been working on our Shapes these past two weeks!  They have enjoyed many of these shape activities.  Below D and A are stamping shapes that are made out of cardboard tubes.


We hunted for shapes around the classroom, and took pictures of our shapes!


















A Line!

The children also really enjoyed these Tangram puzzles from my old first grade classroom! They are some smart cookies!




Even on our walk to the library today children were finding squares and rectangles and triangles all over the place on our walk!

It has been a fun few weeks!

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End of the Year Projects from 2015


We had a few different projects going on our last few weeks of school! We were finishing up discussing the Solar System, and working on a large scale group project. The picture above shows the final outcome of a few weeks of work by the children! They worked in groups to paint the sun, the Earth, and the moon using different types of paint and paint brushes. The results were outstanding! They even made a solar flare coming off of the sun (on accident). I kept it on there when I cut it apart for the final project. Once our paintings were finished we taped them onto a large piece of black butcher paper. They used white oil pastels to show the moon and the Earth’s orbits. Some of the other students used the oil pastels to label the different planets and stars. They were so proud of the final product and seeing it in such a large scale is always exciting!


Each child also worked on an individual project of the Earth. We got a chance to do paper mache for the first time, and boy was it MESSY! They really loved dipping the strips of newspaper into the flour and water mixture. I learned a few things from this project:
it is great to have an outdoor workspace that can get really messy
we needed a lot more coats of newpaper to withstand all of the paint
I will most likely do a glue and water mixture next time (instead of flour)


The flour seemed to not get as hard as I wanted it to for the final product, and it really broke down when the children painted their Earth. They also love to use a lot of paint! All in all it is about the process and not the product, and I think they really, really liked the process for sure!


We also worked on our numbers and number formation the last few weeks of school too! It was really fun to use the Handwriting With Out Tears program with this topic. They have a lot of great songs and music that the children really enjoyed! Below is a picture of the number three created with the wooden Handwriting pieces, and also drawn in the salt tray. Each child got opportunities to make the number using wood, trace the wooden number, and then write the number again and again in the salt.

1434938110_thumb.jpegI tried to incoorporate a variety of ways to represent numbers. We learned about dice or dot representation for each number, using our fingers, tally marks (with paper/pencil and popsicle sticks), counting by ones, twos, and fives, and simple addition. A few of the students that were really excited about this topic helped me to create a child made number line for the classroom. Each paper has the number, word written out, dot representation, tally marks, and a picture of the fingers that I took on the overhead.


I still have a few more things to share about this past school year and of course our graduation photos. We truly were busy up until the very last day of school!


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More Spielgaben Exploration


This past month we pulled out our Spielgaben math manipulatives and I took the long dress up mirror off of the wall and placed it on the floor for some open ended exploration.  Instead of offering the entire tray of shapes, I sorted the shapes ahead of time into three bowls: squares, triangles and diamonds, and circles.  These loose parts lend themselves to exploration and creativity so easily!



D spent such a long time working with the materials on the mirror.  First he organized all of the circles at one end of the mirror.  The circles come in three sizes and they can fit inside of each other.  Once he figured this out he then looked for smaller circles to fit inside of the larger circles.



At the other end of the mirror I made a simple flower using the diamonds and a stick from the other boxes.  D was inspired by my flower and started to make new creations apart from the circles.  You can see from the photo his lines extending similar to a flower but then off of the edges.  The children were fascinated with the whole idea of the mirror on the floor.  They spent a great deal of time studying their reflections and the looking at the lights on the ceiling that appeared in the mirror.  I spent most of my time observing and guiding the students with the materials.



In another area I put a piece of Styrofoam out with dowel rods pushed into it.  I saw this idea from the blog Twodaloo.  The kids found this a little tricky, because if they loaded up one of the dowel rods it would immediately tip over.  It was a lesson in balance, weight, and fine motor skills. 



Then I changed the activity slightly and put the bowls on our tables, along with smaller mirrors that gave each child a defined area to work with.  I started by only offering them the three bowls with the pre-sorted shapes.  It didn’t take long before they were requesting the other parts of the Spielgaben set!  I found myself digging the other two trays out of the closet.  There is something very appealing about the sticks that are all different lengths that the children love.



Recently I posted about L and the amazing road scene he created with the Spielgaben set.  In his most recent encounter with the materials he combined the smaller shapes with the larger unit blocks that I have in the classroom.  The picture below shows a train that he made from the combination of the two materials!!



I must constantly remind myself that we shouldn’t limit them with their ideas or expectations for play.  I catch myself saying or thinking “We are using this right now, not that” or “These pieces are for this area only.”  Sometimes we can limit their learning and play by not allowing them control of their interactions.  L is a perfect example of this! 


I can’t wait to get these materials out again!  Each time we use them surprising things happen!