Crozet Play School

Kids at Play in Crozet


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Our Ice Cream Field Trip

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We had such an excellent time on our field trip last week to the creamery!  The children enjoyed watching the ice cream getting made, and of course taste testing the final product!  It is pretty cool when your yoga instructor is also the local ice cream shop owner!  Thank you Mrs. KayIMG_5080.JPG

First She poured in the cream and sugar mixture

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After the machine beeped at us, we had to stand back to watch Mrs. Kay get the ice cream out of the machine.

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Then she let us pick our favorite flavors for a giant taste test!

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And the biggest adventure of all was walking there and back with this silly crew!  We made it though!

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This is just a small glimpse from what we have been up to these past few weeks!  I am excited to share more of our adventures!  Coming soon, Clare


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10 Apples Up on Top

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We have had so much fun exploring apples this fall!  It has been a great way to introduce the changing of the seasons, do some cooking and baking and delve into some school related activities.

We have done lots and lots of cooking and baking this week!  We made applesauce in the crockpot.  Everyone got a turn to peel the apple and they loved it!

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Once everyone had a turn we put our peeled apples into the crockpot with Apple Cider and let them cook down for a few hours.

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After our applesauce had baked for a few hours, we took turns having a taste test!  It was about 50/50 response for the children that loved it or thought it was ok.IMG_8431.jpg

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Then we made mini apple pies with the children.  This was their favorite baking activity!  Again we got to use the big peeler to peel the apples.

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Once we added some cinnamon and sugar to our apples we cut out circles from pre-made pie crust.  They baked into small mini apple pies in the muffin tray.  It was the perfect size for a taste test!

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I’m not sure what they liked better…the apple pies or the ice cream?!!

We have also read “Ten Apples up on Top” a few mornings in a row.  The children loved to stop the book, count the apples, and see which character was in the lead.

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I extended this concept by putting up an apple activity on the magnetic board.  Each of the characters are on magnets, and then I put lots and lots of apples on the board.  We would stack them up high and try to count how many apples were on top!  You can see B below put almost all of the apples on the dog!

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We have also read a few fiction and non-fiction apple stories as well:

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For sensory play we have had “Apple Pie Play Dough.”  I made a large batch of red play dough and added cinnamon and nutmeg for an additional sensory element.  I put out some laminated play dough mats with trees on them for creating their own apple trees.  I also brought down two really big pie trays so they could made their own “apple play dough pies.”

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It has been a very busy week of baking and eating!  I can’t wait see what adventures we can have next week!


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Cooking With Kids

 

IMG_3595.jpgWe had a fabulous visitor at the end of the March, our very own in-house executive chef!  Mr. Bryan was nice enough to come into our school, bring loads of supplies, and spend the morning cooking with our fabulous children.  Before we started cooking we first read the book Strega Nona by Tomie DePoala.  It is a wonderful fairy tale, that has been one of my family’s favorite books for many years.

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Strega has a magic pasta pot that gets used by Big Anthony after she warned him not to use it while she was gone.  Anthony fills the entire town up with pasta, and you have to read the book to find out what happens…

Then the children headed upstairs in groups of two or three to put their pasta dough through the machine and press it out.  IMG_3594.jpgIMG_3616.jpg

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Then they used Mr. Bryan’s special pasta rolling tool to roll out their noodles.  It went from a piece a dough to many pieces of spaghetti!

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After that they got to watch Mr. Bryan toss the pasta in some home made marinara sauce that he brought from home!  Of course then we ate!  Yummy!

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Mr. Bryan was nice enough to pack some of the pasta into a to-go bag for each and every family.  It was such a wonderful morning, and I feel so lucky to have such awesome families in our little school!  Thank you Mr. Bryan and his family for their generous time with our kids!

 

 


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Make New Friends and Keep the Old

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Before we had our great Valentine’s Day Celebration, we took a great deal of time talking about the friendships.  We specifically discussed how to make friends, what we do with our friends, and how we can keep or help our friends in our classroom.  Above is a picture of our sweet wire hearts we gave to our mommies for Valentine’s Day.

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Each child got their own copy of a friendship book I created using pictures of the children doing different activities with their friends throughout the school year.  They dictated the words of the book to me, and then we read the books during our meeting time.

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The kids loved our Friendship flower shop that we set up in the dramatic play area.  The shop had a cash register, flowers, money, bracelets and necklaces, and lots of loose flowers!

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We had so much fun in both of our Valentine’s sensory bins, the Valentine’s Soup and white beans with lots of Valentine’s goodies.

 

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The Valentine’s play dough got lots of use from everyone in the classroom.  I always love to go into the art room after they are done and see what types of creations have been left behind by their busy fingers.

 

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Cupid’s fruit kebobs were one of our favorite snacks as well!  They are getting so adept at serving themselves, and preparing their own snacks.

 

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Some other fun Valentine’s fun included the Sweethearts game pictured below.  They had to roll the dice and fill up the Sweethearts board with heart candies.

 

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L and D were loving the spin art hearts we made!

 

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Each child got to work on a “Friendship Painting” by rolling balls in a box by working together to get the paint splattered all over the paper.  At the end of the painting they each painted their hand and put in on top of the picture.

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We also gave ideas for what our recipe for friendship would be during morning meeting.

 

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One of our favorite baking activities was making a loaf of friendship bread.  We made two loaves, and gave one loaf to our favorite assistant Brittany! 

 

Now that I am back up and running on my computer, I should get us up to date on our blogs and happenings in the classroom! 


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Valentine’s Celebrations

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We had so much fun celebrating Valentine’s Day a few weeks ago! We got the chance to have a small party in the classroom, and enjoy each other!  Valentine’s Day started with some face painting, and necklace making.  Instead of making necklaces for themselves, the finished necklaces were given to a friend in the classroom!  Extra care was taken to string necklaces for our buddies!

 

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We did a TON of baking the week of Valentine’s Day!  First we made our own sugar cookie dough, rolled our dough, and stamped our own heart cookies.

 

 

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They looked quite sweet after we baked them in the oven!

 

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The morning of our Valentine’s Party we tried our hand a mini heart cheery pies.  This was our first time making cherry pies, and they turned out perfectly. 

 

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We rolled out the dough, cut out our hearts, put in our filling, and shut our pies by pressing a fork around the edges.  Then we sprinkled some sugar on top!

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Lastly, we licked our fingers to remove any extra sugar!

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Then our parents arrived, and we got to work decorating our cookies!  Instead of mounds of sugar and sprinkles we opted for a different decorating technique!  We dipped q-tips in food coloring and made designs on top of our cookies!

 

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We also played some Valentine’s math games, decorated heart crowns, and enjoyed our snacks.

 

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Before leaving the parents got to hear some of our friendship songs we had learned in the past two weeks leading up to Valentine’s Day.  All in all it was a great day celebrating all of these cuties and their friendships with each other!

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Apples, Apples, Apples

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The past few weeks have been filled with lots of fun apple activities and some discussions about fall.  The weather is starting really cool off in the morning, and I have seen a few leaves beginning to change colors around the neighborhood.  Hopefully your children are starting to notice all of these changes as well, because we have been reading about them, discussing them, and playing with lots of apple themed activities.

 

This first picture might be one of my favorite so far from Crozet PlaySchool.  The discussions that happen around our sensory activities are the most engaging conversations.  When children are engrossed in learning through their senses, lots of other learning and bonding takes place in the classroom.  We all begin by learning about our world through our senses.  Babies feel their mother’s touch, they put every and all objects in their mouth as much as we try to stop them, and they crawl around their world feeling and making sense of their environment.  Preschool children love to learn through their senses.  That is why I put such an emphasis on our sensory tubs, play dough trays, and other tactile activities such as art.  This is an image of some of the girls around the “Apple Pie Cloud Dough” tub.  P is in the middle of a huge discussion with E and C.  They are immersed in their exploration, but listening and reacting to her story after she is finished. 

 

The Basic Cloud Dough Recipe:

1 cup flour

A few tablespoons of oil (vegetable, baby oil, lavender oil, etc)
Mix until the flour begins to form into balls that will hold together in your hand

 

Variations:

To make apple pie dough I added cinnamon to the flour for an apple pie scent.  Then I took red pieces of sidewalk chalk and crushed them in a ziplock baggie with a meat mallet.  I added this to the flour to give it a red hue.  I added apple containers, spoons, and pipe cleaners to make apple stems.

 

You could add glitter to your cloud dough for a fun twist

 

You could make your cloud dough many different colors using sidewalk chalk crushed up.

 

Add a number of different scents or spices to your dough.

 

To play with the dough use: cupcake liners, sea shells, stones, spoons, large kitchen utensils, small cups or plates, candles, sticks, muffin tins, animals figures that can be cleaned off, cars or trucks that can be washed off, plastic babies or small figurines, princesses, fairies, etc.

 

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We have also had a lot of fun digging and exploring in our apple picking sensory bin.  I caught some more pictures of the kids in action in this sensory bin.  L was working here for quite some time, baking apple pies, picking apples, pouring and scooping.


 

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Along with our apple picking bin I also had a Forest Sensory Bin.  This sensory activity was really fun and interactive.  Lots of exploring with the tubes and seeds, learning about the forest animals and their habitats too!

 

 

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D is a huge fan of our sensory bins, and always the first to jump in to try them out!  L is busy at the forest table too, she is also another little one that loves the sensory tubs.

 

 

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A new sensory tub that we added this week is an oatmeal tub.  This one is simple, dried oatmeal, cinnamon sticks, pine cones, card board tubes, and spoons/scoops.  Simple activities are often the best!

 

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L getting his hands dirty in the oatmeal!

 

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As part of our apple unit we decided to make some mini apple pies! 

 

This was such a fun activity!  It was the first time that parents got to come and help us with a classroom activity too!  We peeled and cored the apples with tabletop apple peelers.  The kids faces says it all!  Then we measured, poured, mixed, and baked our little pies.  Yummy!

 

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C and her Mom peeling our apples!

 

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M’s turn to peel, look at that concentration!

 

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Using a cookie cutter to cut out our pie crust.  M gets a little help from mommy in the picture below.

 

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Big brother K, helping his little sister peel her apple.  A crowd is forming!

 

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Time to eat our apple pies!  I thought it was delicious, but it did get mixed reviews from both groups.  The taste testers approved the dollop of ice cream though!

 

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Some of our apple art is hanging up around the classroom!  We all worked together to create an apple orchard.  For this project I cut out the green tree tops, the children added as many apples to their trees as they wanted, helped me glue their trees to the mural, and then they painted their tree trunks.  The finished product is stunning!

 

 

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Last but not least, we have had more and more fun playing with our apple pie play dough.  I posted all about my love for play dough play in this post.  This week I captured some more images of children playing with the apple pie play dough, apple pie play dough mats, and the sticks. 

 

 

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L working hard to make apples for his apple tree.

 

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P made a forest with the play dough and gems.

 

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“Apple cupcake anyone?”  says M.

 

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I love this photo of M working at the play dough table.  The remnants of lots of play dough play and used up easels behind her make me one happy teacher!