Crozet Play School

Kids at Play in Crozet


Songbooks and Stories ~ Early Literacy Activities



We have spent quite a bit of time singing songs and listening to new books in this first month of school.  One of the focuses has been on song books.  I have a huge collection of song books.  They are wonderful for building early literacy skills.  What does that mean exactly?


The foundations of early reading are:

building the concepts of literacy understanding

creating a positive attitude towards reading and writing

understanding that print letters have sounds, create words, and these words can by read together to tell a story

involves children playing and being creative by telling or acting out stories


These skills will help to build a solid foundation for literacy learning.  This is also called in teacher jargon “emergent literacy.”


Some of the activities I have been doing to promote early reading skills and a love of books is repetitive reading.  When children hear stories again and again (which we all know they love from bedtime routines), they begin to develop a better understanding of books and literature.  I have read many different books throughout these first few weeks of school, but I have focused on a select few to emphasize with the class.


We spent a great deal of time reading “Little Bunny Foo Foo.”  It is a silly song that has an accompanying songbook.  I also have a few different versions of the book, and that makes the read alouds exciting for the group.  They love to compare the books and talk about the similarities among the story lines.


In addition to the multiple copies of the book, I also have the book read aloud on tape, which we listened to many times and the song on the CD player which they loved as well.  At the end of our multiple readings of “Little Bunny Foo Foo” I provided the group with some props to facilitate their learning even further.  I gave them green felt to represent the forest floor, a fairy, a bunny, and three little mice to be the “field mice.”  The kids even found my other fairies to add to the prop center for this songbook.


I would leave the props out during free time, and told them they could visit the Little Bunny Foo Foo area whenever they wanted.  I would find children singing the song and acting out the story for their friends.  They would usually gather an audience once they started singing. 


When I am teaching I am by myself with the kids.  The trickiest time of day is right after snack.  Children are finishing eating, washing their dishes, using the bathroom, and getting on their shoes for outside time.  I have started pulling out my song book basket to give me some time to help children finish washing their dishes while their friends wait.  They always pull out the books we have read again and again.  I will hear them singing along to the book, turning the pages, and adding in some extra verses.  This is all the beginning of literacy development!


These are some of my favorite songbooks:



Little Bunny Foo Foo



Little Rabbit Foo Foo


The Lady with the Alligator Purse



Miss Mary Mack


Down By the Bay


Five Little Ducks


OH, A-Hunting We Will Go


The Misty Bitsy Spider



I can go on and on with song books!  Please email me if you would like some more suggestions for getting started with song books in your house!


If there is a book that the kids really show interest in, I will do activities to follow up with the book.  One book the children loved this fall was “Ten Apples Up on Top.”



Ten Apples up on Top by Dr. Suess


We had so much fun reading this book a few mornings in a row.  I created a magnet board activity that coordinated with the book reading.  While I was reading the book aloud, children would come up and put apples on top of the different animals as the actions were happening in the story.  They loved this activity!


I came out of the art room and I found M manipulating the magnet board and moving the apples around.  She remembered the story and was talking to herself as she moved the pieces on the board.  I also had this same magnet activity on our very large magnet board.  They had two areas in the room to visit this re-telling of the story.



After I took this picture of M, she picked up the book and began to re-read the story to herself.  I was able to catch the end of this on video.  Check it out:


M reading 10 apples up on top!





To reinforce our friends and classroom community building, I created an “Apples on Top” activity with stamping.  L’s hand is blurry, but they were given a pom pom that was being squeezed by a clothespin.  They were able to add apples to each of their friend’s heads.  For some of my pre-K students we counted the apples and wrote the number under each of their pictures to reinforce the math portion of this activity.



Literacy readiness can be incorporated into most of our activities at preschool.  I love to see them really get excited about the books and song books we have been discussing.  They are building such a great foundation and enthusiasm for reading!

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A Peak into our Morning Meeting

On Friday I decided to capture some quick video clips of my M/W/F group having their morning meeting.  We hold morning meeting after everyone has arrived at school.  It always begins with a greeting.  Over the course of the school year I will teach the children lots of different greetings.  Some greetings are songs, little sayings, handshakes or silly movements.  The morning meeting is all part of the responsive classroom program.  It builds community, establishes communication skills, and creates a sense of caring and warmth in the classroom.  Here the children are doing what I call the “Brown Bear Greeting” because it mimics the simple word patterns in the classic Brown Bear book series by Eric Carle.

Following the greeting the children get to do an activity.  I will teach them lots and lots of “activities” over the course of the year as well!  They can be simple songs, hand games, dancing, musical activities, or a group game (such as Simon says).  Often these activities will reinforce a skill we are working on at school and other times they are just fun, unrelated songs and games that build a sense of community.  The activity portion of morning meeting fosters group cohesion and helps students practice social and academic skills.  The kiddos have just finished learning a new activity called “Oliver Twist.”  The beginning of the song is shown in the video above.  The song gets progressively quicker and sillier as shown in the video below.

The third portion of morning meeting is sharing time.  We will soon start to incorporate a more formal sharing time for both groups at Crozet PlaySchool in the upcoming weeks.  I hope to capture some of my little ones as they slowly start to participate in morning meeting too!


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“The Hundred Languages Of Children”

At Crozet PlaySchool we believe in the hundred languages…
The Hundred Languages of Children
No way. The hundred is there.
The child
is made of one hundred.
The child has
a hundred languages
a hundred hands
a hundred thoughts
a hundred ways of thinking
of playing, of speaking.
A hundred always a hundred
ways of listening
of marveling, of loving
a hundred joys
for singing and understanding
a hundred worlds
to discover
a hundred worlds
to invent
a hundred worlds
to dream.
The child has
a hundred languages
(and a hundred hundred hundred more)
but they steal ninety-nine.
The school and the culture
separate the head from the body.
They tell the child:
to think without hands
to do without head
to listen and not to speak
to understand without joy
to love and to marvel
only at Easter and at Christmas.
They tell the child:
to discover the world already there
and of the hundred
they steal ninety-nine.
They tell the child:
that work and play
reality and fantasy
science and imagination
sky and earth
reason and dream
are things
that do not belong together.
And thus they tell the child
that the hundred is not there.
The child says:
No way. The hundred is there.
-Loris Malaguzzi (translated by Lella Gandini)
Founder of the Reggio Emilia Approach

**much more about this beautiful philosophy coming soon**