Crozet Play School

Kids at Play in Crozet


Leave a comment

Glow in the Dark Discovery

IMG_1998.JPG

Last week I had the pleasure of teaching my first inservice for a nearby preschool.  It was such a humbling experience to be up in front of a group of peers, and showing them different things I do in my classroom.  They were most interested in learning about sensory play, so I spent a couple of hours pulling out a bunch of my favorite materials.  Down in the bottom of the bin I uncovered my “glow in the dark” rice.  I had done a number of glow in the dark activities in the past.  It is funny how you forget all of the things you do from year to year!  My black light lamp had broken last year and I just forgot about it.  I decided after my inservice that I would get some new black lights and pull out all of my fun materials.

The first thing I grabbed was my set of fluorescent paints.  My assistant Melissa and I offered the children a few of the color options for each paint set.  It was interesting to see if they noticed that some of the paints had a brighter glow than the other paint sets.

 

These paints are actually a set of finger paints, and it is a good thing!  Many of the children couldn’t resist the temptation to paint themselves (sometimes all the way up their arms) with the paint.  They would do this to see their own body glow in the dark!  They also would paint their hands, and then press them to the paper.  They loved seeing their handprint light up on the paper.

IMG_2073.jpg

IMG_2063.JPGIMG_2062.JPGIMG_2065.JPGIMG_2004.JPGIMG_1998.JPGIMG_2007.JPGIMG_1994.JPG

The children have continued to go in and out of the art room to paint additional pieces with the glow in the dark paint.  I am planning to leave them out for a few more days for the class to enjoy.

I also set up the rice table with the glow in the dark rice.  A few years ago I dyed a batch of rice with the different fluorescent paint colors, and it is still glowing very bright under the black light.

IMG_2010.jpg

It is more difficult to see who is playing with the rice, because it is dark around the sensory tub.  But, at one point Melissa and I noticed ALL of the children surrounding the tub.  That rarely happens!  They just loved it!IMG_1989.JPG

IMG_1991.JPGIMG_1988.JPGIMG_1989.JPG

IMG_2060.JPG

Outside of our dark room we also played with lentils and a doggie set!  It is from constructive play things and the children were really drawn to it.  I thought it would be a great addition to the vet clinic that was set up in the dramatic play area.

IMG_1984.JPGIMG_1985.JPGIMG_1987.JPG

We had Yoga this Wednesday and yoga remains to be one of my favorite days of the week:

IMG_2048.jpg

IMG_2046.JPGIMG_2047.JPGIMG_2040.JPG

We also learned about Mat Man this week from the Handwriting Without Tears Program.  Mat Man uses the wooden pieces from the HWT program to help the children learn how to draw their body in more detail.  It also gives them more awareness of their physical body. We will begin to transfer this concept to paper through paint, drawing, and art.

IMG_2079.jpg

IMG_2069.JPGIMG_2072.JPGIMG_2068.JPGIMG_2067.JPG

 

 


Leave a comment

More Winter Fun

We have been spending a lot of time exploring some of the new play areas in the classroom!  I wanted to share some of the other winter fun we have had besides just melting ice!

Sensory Play:

They have enjoyed the winter tub filled with rocky, white snow, arctic animals, and lot of fun scoops!

IMG_1883.jpg

IMG_1876.JPGIMG_1877.JPG

I also made a batch of play dough using Hair Conditioner and cornstarch!  It is a really soft dough, with a mint scent, perfect for a penguin playground!

 

IMG_1861.JPGIMG_1862.JPGIMG_1863.JPGIMG_1864.JPGIMG_1869.JPG

We also had a new tub, called the “Tinker Tub”. It was filled with styrofoam, rubber bands, golf tees, and pipe cleaners.  They enjoyed pushing the golf tees into the foam, making “candles” attaching rubber bands, making “medicine droppers” and all sorts of other creative things!

IMG_1688.jpg

IMG_1684.JPGIMG_1681.JPGIMG_1682.JPGIMG_1683.JPG

I saved some white Gak from December and we used it with letter tiles to find letters and make our names.

IMG_1669.JPGIMG_1667.JPG

Once we found all of the letters in our name, we squished up the Gak and tried to find the letters inside the giant ball of Gak.  The last challenge was to put our names back in order after finding the letters!

IMG_1668.JPG

Process Art:

We got to explore print making with a large plastic sheet and a brayer!  We spread out paint on top of the plexiglass and then the children used different materials to make marks in the paint.  Lastly, we pressed a piece of paper onto the paint to see what image showed up on the paper!IMG_1649.jpg

Some of us simply made marks in the paint…IMG_1712.JPGIMG_1675.JPGIMG_1676.JPG

While other children drew letters in the paint…

IMG_1677.JPGIMG_1678.JPGIMG_1638.JPGIMG_1641.JPG

And some children drew images of themselves or their family…

IMG_1643.JPGIMG_1645.JPG

Each child’s piece turned out very different and so unique!

IMG_1673.jpg

We also got out the watercolor paints and painted some beautiful paper!  The paper had the outlines of Matrushka dolls.

IMG_1751.JPGIMG_1750.JPGIMG_1752.JPGIMG_1754.JPG

IMG_1756.JPG

IMG_1760.jpg

Preschool Literacy:

All throughout the week we did different lessons with our Handwriting Without Tears ABCs!  It was a great way to jump back into school after our break!  In the picture below three children are working together to put a small portion of the alphabet in order.  The HWT cards have a puzzle on the front to connect the letters in order, and then when the child flips the card there is a sandpaper letter to touch and feel.

I loved seeing three children, all different ages, and all working together to put the alphabet in the correct order.  Older children were helping the younger children, and so much learning was taking place from all of the groups.

IMG_1724.jpg

We worked on this project over a series of different days so the children got mixed into many different learning groups by the end of the week.  You can tell by the multiple photos of children working with different partners!

IMG_1741.JPGIMG_1743.JPGIMG_1707.JPGIMG_1706.JPGIMG_1739.JPGIMG_1702.JPGIMG_1703.JPGIMG_1704.JPG

Lastly, I don’t have any great photos of our Vet Clinic, but here are some videos of the children playing “vet” last week:

More winter fun will be coming soon!

 

 


Leave a comment

Melting Ice

IMG_1844.jpg

We have had a lot of stops and starts in the past two weeks!  After a long winter holiday break the children were just settling back into a school routine….then it snowed!  We had a long weekend with school closings and delays.  I thought it would be fun to talk about ice and how it melts.  First we had a big discussion of ice and snow and where it comes from.  Then we talked about why were haven’t been able to come to school these past few days.  Lastly the children hypothesized what they could do to melt the huge ice blocks in the art studio.  They got right to work exploring the materials and seeing how they could free the animals from the ice!

IMG_1845.JPG

I set up a large table with two blocks of ice, salt, and a variety of watercolors.  They could use small or large water droppers to put the watercolors on the ice.

IMG_1874.JPGIMG_1870.JPGIMG_1872.JPG

IMG_1834.JPG

IMG_1836.JPGIMG_1837.JPGIMG_1838.JPGIMG_1830.JPGIMG_1826.JPGIMG_1824.JPGIMG_1820.JPGIMG_1821.JPG

While the children were working on the ice they discussed a number of different learning topics:

  • how to squeeze the dropper was a BIG topic of discussion!  The dropper takes a lot of coordination, fine motor ability, and hand/eye coordination.  Many children struggled with the droppers, but they were so interested in the ice that they kept with it until they mastered the skill!
  • why was there water on the tray
  • why was the ice changing color
  • how come they could get the animals out of the ice that used to be stuck
  • what was the salt doing to the ice
  • how come the ice started to get holes inside of it
  • and many, many other thoughtful questions and ideas were posed while they were working

You can hear the children discussing some of these ideas in the videos:

For this science experiment, the children then came back to the carpet and drew pictures in their learning journals of the changes to the ice!  I will share some of their drawings next post.

By Friday morning we had melted and refroze our ice all week long, but it still wasn’t completely melted.  So we took the ice outside to see what the warmer temps and some hammers would do to the ice!

IMG_1885.JPGIMG_1886.JPG

Here is the video of the kids with the ice outside:


Leave a comment

Getting in the Spirit

We have just started to break away from all things turkey related, and begun to talk about the many holidays around the world!  It is fun to discuss each family’s traditions, and what we all do the same and do differently this holiday season.  One thing everyone can agree on at morning meeting is December is a month of fun, festivities, and special time with family.

IMG_0250.JPG

We opened a big batch of “hot cocoa” rice outside in the sensory tub.  I made a batch of rice by dying it brown and adding chocolate extract.  Then we added cups and cotton balls for the marshmallows.  It has been fun watching the children play pretend with tub while the weather has been warmer.

IMG_0322.jpg

Sensory Play:

The children and I made a batch of “snowy” gak in the art room on Friday.  We mixed a giant tub of glue, water, glitter, and borax.  This batch turned out great (sometimes we aren’t so lucky).  The children got busy squishing in gems, snowman, reindeer, and lots of mini holiday treasures.

IMG_0384.jpg

IMG_0366.JPGIMG_0380.JPGIMG_0382.JPGIMG_0385.JPGIMG_0386.JPGIMG_0388.JPG

Process Art:

We made a beautiful set of votive candles for everyone to take home to their family.  The children used modge podge to cover the votives with tissue paper and gems.  This was such a fun project, and each individual candle turned out very unique. I’m so proud of all of their hard work, and willingness to work hard to complete projects.

IMG_0324.JPGIMG_0325.JPGIMG_0327.JPGIMG_0331.JPG

Yoga with Ms. Kay:

We always enjoy when Ms. Kay comes for yoga, but last week we played some games at the end of yoga.  The children pretended to be water, rain, and storm clouds.  They danced to the music with their “water” scarves.  I got some great action shots!

IMG_0287.JPGIMG_0285.JPGIMG_0289.JPGIMG_0286.JPG

We love you Ms. Kay!  This was the perfect activity on our rainy morning!

Preschool Literacy:

IMG_0235.JPG

This past week we did some fun activities to learn the letters in our name.  I am starting to transition to using upper and lowercase letters when writing their names.  We used glue to write their names and covered the glue in salt.  After dumping off the excess salt the children dipped paint brushes into watercolors and dabbed them onto the salt.  It is so fun to watch the colors spread through the salt.  Their names turned out beautiful!  Such fun process art!IMG_0242.jpg

IMG_0238.JPG

Then we played “hidden names” with watercolors.  I drew each child’s name on a piece of paper using white pastels, and then they water colored on top of the paper to find their names!  It was sweet to watch them squeal with delight as they uncovered their letters.

IMG_0237.JPG

IMG_0244.JPG

More holiday fun coming soon!

 

 

 

 


1 Comment

Giving Thanks

IMG_9865.jpg

The children worked on the most beautiful salt dough ornaments for Thanksgiving last week.  We made two batches of salt dough, added powdered paint, and then mixed the yellow and orange paint into the dough.

The results were bright, vibrant ornaments!  Some children chose one color, and some children chose to mix the two different colors.  Then we cut out the ornaments and pressed a variety of seeds and beans into them.  Lastly, I baked them in the oven at 200 degrees for a few hours.  I hope they looked lovely at Thanksgiving!

IMG_9866.jpgIMG_9754.JPGIMG_9755.JPGIMG_9761.JPG

IMG_9708.JPG

Process Art:

Squiggly and Bumpy Art!

We tried a new painting technique last week as well!  It was extremely simple and cheap supplies, that anyone could do at home.  We drenched pieces of yarn into a cup of glue, then we laid the yarn in a design on a piece of cardboard.IMG_9744.JPG

 

IMG_9743.JPGIMG_9738.JPGIMG_9739.JPGIMG_9737.JPG

 

Once the yarn had dried overnight, we painted the board with these beautiful fall metallic paints.

IMG_9705.JPGIMG_9707.JPG

 

IMG_9742.JPGIMG_9741.JPGIMG_9745.JPG

The last process art activity we did was making “bleeding tissue paper” turkeys for Thanksgiving.  The children were calling our turkey feathers a giant feather factory;)

IMG_9939.JPGIMG_9940.JPG

IMG_9901.JPGIMG_9900.JPGIMG_9938.JPG

 

Each child was given five our six feathers, and a bowl of different colored tissue paper.  They simply painted over their tissue paper with water and we let it sit overnight.  The next day we peeled off the tissue paper to reveal the most beautiful colors underneath.

IMG_0048.JPGIMG_0049.JPGIMG_0046.JPG

Each child drew on their turkey’s face, and we added the feathers to the back of the turkey body for the finished turkey!

Preschool Literacy:

The children came into the classroom last week to find a new activity set up on the light panels.  I drew each of their names in a large dark marker on white paper.  They could trace over their names using different colored crayons for fine motor practice, letter development, and repetition practice.  I have begun to introduce everyone to their names with a capital letter first, followed by the lower case letters.  Many of them say, “that isn’t my name.”  It is important to see their name written in a variety of contexts, and begin to understand the lower case-capital letter connection.

IMG_9854.JPG

IMG_9852.JPG

 

IMG_9856.JPG

On the other light panel I put a large jar of gems for them to cover their name with the gems.  Using the light panel with this literacy work is a wonderful way to engage  their senses while children work on a more traditional “paper/pencil” task.  They are able to sit at the light panels for longer periods of time, and the light holds their interest longer than just desk or seat work.

IMG_9860.JPG

Look at the concentration…

IMG_9883.JPG

IMG_9861.JPG

Sensory Play:

We had a new fall play dough table set up the past few weeks.  I made a batch of orange play dough  and added cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg to give it a nice fall scent.  Then I made a play dough tray packed to the brim with leaf gems, pumpkin gems, wooden acorns, and leaves attached to popsicle sticks.

IMG_9857.JPG

IMG_9858.JPG

Pumpkin Soup:

We read this great fall book a few mornings, and we decided our room needed a batch of pumpkin soup!

51712OncAEL._AC_US160_.jpg

We made a large tub of orange colored water; added gems, scoops, bowls, and egg beaters.  They went right to town mixing, stirring, and chatting about their “soups.”

IMG_0038.JPGIMG_0042.JPGIMG_0041.JPG

IMG_0035.JPGIMG_0036.JPG

Preschool Math:

IMG_9885.JPG

We have been counting so many things this fall!  Leaves, pumpkins, ghosts, and much more!  It was time to put our counting knowledge and transfer it to number recognition.  I set up this math table before the holiday, to work on our numbers!  The table had Handwriting without Tears Number Cards.  These cards are made it the tiniest piece of sandpaper, so children can trace the numbers with their fingers.  There were wax “wiki stix” that they could use to shape into the numbers, cork boards, beans, gems, and wooden numbers.  Children could freely explore the table throughout the week.  Some children made the numbers on the cork boards, and then counted the corresponding amount of gems.IMG_9903.JPGIMG_9902.JPGIMG_9904.JPGIMG_9623.JPG

Then Ms. Melissa and I worked with each child to create a number page in their learning journals.  We traced the sandpaper numbers, drew the numbers on the chalkboards, counted the numbers, and lastly dotted the numbers in our journals.  They worked hard to write the numbers on their own, or using small dots as a guide.  Most everyone in the class has 10 pages filled with the numbers 1 – 10!  I hope they are noticing numbers all around them!

We also had a great time setting up some very simple marble runs during free time in the classroom!

IMG_9896.JPGIMG_9897.JPG


Leave a comment

Going on a Leaf Hunt

IMG_9602.JPG

We had a great morning “hunting” for leaves around Crozet PlaySchool.  We went for a long walk, and along the way collected leaves from all around the neighborhood!

Once we got back to the classroom we sorted our leaves by color and made a large graph by gluing down our leaves into color categories.  This simple graphing activity includes color recognition, math, and preschool science skills all at once.

IMG_9593.JPG

Of course we had to stop and enjoy the view while we were searching for our leaves!

IMG_9600.JPG

IMG_9591.JPG

We have also been able to enjoy our outdoor space so much in the past few weeks.  Some mornings have been a bit chilly, but once the sun warms up we have played outside for a long time each day.  I took some time to set up different activities outdoors for the children to enjoy.

Sensory Play:

We spent a long time picking all of the dried corn off the cobs in our large sensory tub outdoors.  I think they have almost all of the corn cleaned off!  Now we have been pouring, scooping, and piling up the corn in different containers in the sensory tub!

IMG_9578.JPGIMG_9579.JPGIMG_9576.JPGIMG_9589.jpgIMG_9590.jpg

The children have also enjoyed washing the mini pumpkins and gourds outdoors in a large basin.  Children love to do “chores” or activities that they see their parents do each day.  Often times we are busy cleaning the dishes and don’t have time to let our children participate.  Setting up little wash tubs like this with cars, plastic people, rocks, etc. will give children the chance to practice life skills in an open setting.  They also enjoy the bubbles, water, and the sensory feel of washing.

IMG_9551.JPGIMG_9582.JPGIMG_9583.JPG

I think they might be the cleanest pumpkins around!

 

IMG_9703.jpg

Fine Motor Skills & Provocation:

Preschool Science

I printed out some Fall Foliage pictures for the children, and set up this simple provocation on our tables.  They had access to the photos, paper, glue sticks, small squares, and fall colored markers.  I didn’t give them any direction, but they knew just what to do!

IMG_9558.jpg

Everyone took some time to visit the table and create with the paper and markers.  Some children chose to glue a lot of paper down, while others drew detailed pictures of leaves and trees.  They would study the pictures, and then transfer that knowledge to their own work.

IMG_9537.JPGIMG_9536.JPGIMG_9535.JPGIMG_9539.JPGIMG_9543.JPGIMG_9546.JPGIMG_9549.JPG

Our Fall Tree:

Process Art:

IMG_9544.JPG

Unfortunately, I didn’t get a chance to take a great deal of photos of our fall tree coming together!  I did manage to capture M and M as they were painting the acorns with glitter glue.  The acorns tops and nuts were painted, dried, and then we attached a ribbon to each of them.  While some children were painting acorns, other children were painting large pictures on our easels with a metallic paint set.  These large paintings were cut into leaves to create our fall classroom tree.IMG_9545.JPG

The pictures don’t really do the tree justice!  Each of the leaves is so pretty and unique, and the added element of the hanging acorns is so special. I hope the children will treasure looking at it all winter when we are cold and stuck inside!  We can remember our fall days, long walks, and look forward to spring!

IMG_9712.JPGIMG_9711.JPG

I ended up taking a video of our tree to give you the full effect of its beauty!

Happy Thanksgiving!

 


Leave a comment

The Great Pumpkin Investigation

IMG_9296 2.jpg

We have soaked up the last few moments of Halloween, and the children enjoyed coming to school in their costumes to share or their favorite dress up from home.  I loved watching the children move about the classroom with their costumes!

Learning Trays:

Our learning trays are changed once a month, or sometimes a bit more frequently.  There are 12 trays for the children to choose from in the classroom.  I try to have the trays focus on math, literacy, fine motor, pouring/scooping, or sensory play.

This month the children have really enjoyed exploring the new “sorting circles.”  The circles are opened up, and then they sort the pumpkins into “Big, Medium, and Small.”

IMG_9509.JPG

B had no trouble sorting pumpkins into the correct category of “Big, Medium, and Small” in his Transformer Bumblebee costume!

IMG_9512.JPG

H was also able to get a bunch of sorting accomplished while donning his fireman get-up!

IMG_9505.JPG

Fairies and Princesses also did a great job with the new sorting circles!

Below is a picture of a fine motor tray.  There is a thick sensory material called “floam” lining the bottom of the tray, and then pumpkin toothpicks.  The children have to use their pincher grip to get the toothpicks into and out of the floam.

IMG_9498.JPG

Then they all sat together and worked on pushing the pumpkin toothpicks into the thick container of green foam.  This is great fine motor and pinching work.

Preschool Math:

IMG_9499.JPG

A new table invitation this week was a squirrel counting game.  I used the acorns we collected a few weeks ago as the manipulatives.  The children had to roll the dice and then feed an acorn to each squirrel until all of the squirrels got some food.  They played this again and again throughout the week this week!

IMG_9436.JPG

 

IMG_9501.JPG

 

Below is another whole group counting lesson we did that went along with the Halloween fun!  I made a large poster with pumpkins, and numbers inside of the pumpkins.  They used mini Halloween manipulatives to put the correct number of manipulatives inside of each pumpkin shape.

IMG_9313.JPGIMG_9318.JPGIMG_9316.JPGIMG_9312.JPGIMG_9319.JPG

 

IMG_9235.JPG

This is a picture of our pumpkin investigation that we worked on together as a class over the course of a few weeks.  This investigation incorporated Math and Science goals throughout the lessons.

The class looked closely at our “classroom” pumpkin and gave me describing words to tell what the pumpkin looks like, how it feels, and information they may have already known about pumpkins in general.

Then we “guessed” how many lines were on our classroom pumpkin.  This was the first time we had discussed estimation and guessing as a math skill.  Many children weren’t sure how to even give a best guess…for example many people chose numbers that were very small even though we could see lots of lines on the pumpkin.  This is an advanced thinking skill, and you can practice it at home with your child.

“How many steps do you think it will take to get to the car?” Give some guesses and then test out your answer.

“How many pretzels are left in the bucket?”

“How many pairs of socks do we have in this pile?”

Try to pick examples with smaller numbers when you are just starting.  If your answer is in the 100s or even over 50 it is going to frustrate them.  Then as they gain confidence you can increase the estimation amount.

We used this same strategy to figure out “How Tall is our pumpkin?” and then we measured it with uni-fix cubes. As well as “How wide is our pumpkin” and we cut pieces of yarn to wrap around the pumpkins circumference.

Often times I will cover concepts well above their comfort zone, or talk about things that are brand new to them.  But, hopefully over time and repeating the lesson in new ways these concepts will solidify.

Lastly, we took our pumpkin outside and hammered it with golf tees!

IMG_9324.jpg

Preschool Sensory Play:

I set up a pumpkin washing station outside complete with mini pumpkins, gourds, brushes, and lots of bubbles.

IMG_9452.JPG

IMG_9453.JPG

IMG_9450.JPG

IMG_9455.JPG

I also dyed a batch of spaghetti noodles in lots of different shades to play with on the light table….gooey, spooky, and oh so fun!

IMG_9434.jpg

IMG_9425.JPG

IMG_9448.JPG

IMG_9445.JPG

IMG_9446.JPGIMG_9447.JPGIMG_9430.JPG

 

 

 

 

 

We have begun to play with the classroom train tracks, and are beginning to build confidence with new tracks around the room…

IMG_9510.JPG

And lastly, when you are spiderman it is always important to take some time to listen to a book…

IMG_9435.JPG

That might be one of my favorite pictures from the week!  Thank you to A’s mom for visiting us on Monday!

Happy Halloween!