Crozet Play School

Kids at Play in Crozet


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Amazing Water Wall

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Our water wall has been a wonderful addition to our outside time this year. 

 

I purchased a large sheet of plywood from Lowe’s, and with Chris and Bradley’s help we created the water wall.  The materials are a combination of milk cartons, gutters from Lowe’s, orange juice bottles, and other random trash.  Overall the project cost less than $20!  I would say that is money well spent!

 

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I have noticed that once one child starts playing with the water wall, it quickly becomes a group effort.

 

“Hey, help me pour some water!”

“You hold your cup on the end and catch my water.”

“Look how fast my water can go!!”

“You’re splashing me!”

 

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I always love to explain the learning that takes place while children are “playing.”  Some of the basic skills being developed while exploring the water wall are:

 

  1. 1. Cause and effect: If I pour water into this item what will happen? Where will my water end up?

 

2. Cooperation and Communication skills: Children taking turns, children waiting to pour, children working together to fill up a container at the bottom, watching out for a friend while pouring water.

 

3. Fine motor and gross motor skills: Scooping, pouring, projecting how much water to gather.  Gross motor skills are developed by using their bodies to scoop, reach, and stretch to the funnel or tube to begin pouring.

 

4. Math Concepts: Predicting “If I pour water here, where will it end up?”  Volume “What happens when the bucket fills up to the tippy top?” 

 

I noticed the children working together to try and fill one of the buckets on the bottom over and over again. 

 

“Help me!  If you pour here, it will go right into this bucket!  We can make it overflow.” 

 

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Another item you might notice is there are a variety of cups to pour from.  They are a variety of sizes for the children to explore with while filling and pouring.

 

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Now that the weather is changing the water wall hasn’t been visited quite as often.  I am going to change the water wall, and bring it inside for exploration.  I am contemplating sand, colored water, beads or marbles as our next avenue for our wall. 

 

Later this year I would also love to offer different materials for the children to try and create their own water wall using recycled materials.

 

The possibilities are endless! 

 

 

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Environment as the Third Teacher

I place a large emphasis on my classroom learning environment.  This includes layout of furniture, types of materials, and display of materials.  One of the important aspects of a Reggio Inspired Curriculum is the school environment.  I want to provide lots and lots of choices, but at the same time have the space feel clean and uncluttered so play can happen.  I spent a great deal of time this summer reorganizing the preschool space.  After spending one year teaching in the space, I quickly realized what areas were too crowded or unusable by the children. 

 

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One of my main focuses was on our block area this year.  Over the course of the school year last year I had collected many blocks and loose parts to add to our block area.  The problem was making all of those materials available all of the time for the students.  Last year I would switch around the classroom every two weeks, so the block area would change bi-weekly.  I really wanted a space in the classroom that would be exclusively block play that could be out year round.  My solution was to take the two doors off of my sideboard and fill them up with all of our new block loose pieces!  This area is now in the front of the classroom right when you enter the room too!

 

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A platform for building, mirrors, haba car blocks, ramps and gutters, pipes and poles are now located in the front of the classroom.

 

Below you can see the shelf filled with the new large “hollow” block set that I purchased this summer.

 

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A view from the door of the classroom.  The large hollow blocks are now right next to the train table.  This old train table will change throughout the year.  Currently the fairies and sea shells and tree blocks have been on the train table.  The train table drawers are filled to the brim with smaller unit blocks.

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To the left of the train table is my old side board.  Chris removed the doors and it is now filled with all of my “loose parts.”  There are wooden cars and trucks, street signs, rainbow blocks, professional people, window blocks, horse trailer, horse stable, battery candles, and all of the wooden princesses and super heroes I made this summer.

 

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Now the students can have access to these building materials all year!

 

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A closer look at our fairy house, tree blocks, and sea shell investigation area.

 

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This view shows our dress up area that is now filled to brim thanks to a generous neighbor who dropped off a large trunk of old play clothes.  The favorite pieces of our new collection are wallets, fans, and the clown hat!

 

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This year I really wanted to do something to honor each child’s birth day.  I stumbled across this idea online, and I loved it.  I hung up a letter representing each child on the classroom wall.  On the child’s birthday they will paint and decorate their letter.  It will be a beautiful reminder as the year progresses!DSC_0113DSC_0114DSC_0115

Our loft is still the same and is one of the most popular parts of our classroom!  “Playing House” as the children call it, is a deep part of our classroom activity.

 

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Our new calendar/meeting area is revamped this year!  I made a ABC card for all of the letters we found at the end of the year last year, and hung them up underneath our calendar.  It serves as our classroom’s ABC strip!

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After much discussion during morning meeting we finalized these three rules as our classroom rules.  Gentle hands, take care of our school, and be kind.  Very simple, yet they incorporate our daily life of the classroom.  Each child signed their name on the list of rules. 

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Everyone also had a meeting with me to discuss what their hopes and dreams are for this school year.  I love their pictures and goals for 2014!

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The children also helped me create and write our classroom job list!  I have a picture of the job and movable pictures of the children to the right of the job.  Their job switches once a week.  Everyone has to help…unless you are on vacation!

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Another big change is our art studio.  I really wanted more materials accessible during the morning.  I moved one of my leaning shelves into the art area, and now we have a lovely display and writing area.  Now they always have access to paper, stickers, dot art, scissors, glue, markers, chalk, hole punches, pencils, and so much more! 

 

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I have a lot of pictures and exciting things to share about our new and improved outside space as well!  I know that your children have loved playing and exploring the new space these past few weeks, and it brings me joy to see them interact with the materials every day.