Crozet Play School

Kids at Play in Crozet

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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.


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.


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.



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.


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!


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

Preschool Literacy:


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


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.



More holiday fun coming soon!





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Beginning our Letter Exploration



In the beginning of November I started a letter exploration with the whole class.  I have used a variety of medias and learning styles to introduce the letters and their sounds to the class.  In the picture above I made a parking lot out of blue painters tape on the carpet.  Then I put a piece of tape with the upper and lower case letter in each parking spot, and a matching car with the letters taped to the top.  Many of the kids went nuts over this.  You could expand this idea in many ways, by making the parking spots have only upper case letters, and the cars have lower case letters, or numbers, etc.  It gets the children playing, moving, and learning all at the same time!



I also introduced the letters in a more traditional way.  Because many of the students in my group are familiar with most of the letters, I decided to read one book each day that had a focus letter.  The first morning we read “Alligator Baby” by Robert Munsch.  Then I made an alphabet box that has one letter in each drawer.  Each drawer holds a number of little charms or items I have collected.  In the picture above you can see all of the charms that start with the letter A:







After building the letter A with our wood pieces, we pulled out each charm and said the sound for A while labeling the charms.  The final part of our project was to make a letter A craft.  We made the A into an alligator!  So far we have discussed the letters A-N in the past two months. 


I have enjoyed the combination of approaches when talking about each letter.  With combing the phonics part of the letter study, it allows children that already may know how to write or form the letter a more advanced way to learn. 



I made this glittery gel writing bag too.  While the children are at choice time I have been calling them over to make the letters out of wood pieces, trace the letters in the bag, and draw the letters in the learning journals. 




One of our learning trays has been this alphabet monster (a baby wipe box in disguise!)  They can put the letters in the box in alphabetical order, or simply pick up a letter, name the letter and then feed it to the monster.




We also ate a delicious letter snack!  Sarah (one of my preschool moms) told me about these pretzels you can make yourself.  We made the dough, and then each child rolled and formed the dough into the first letter of their name.  It was fun and yummy!


Golden brown out of the oven!


Gluing down fruit loops or stringing fruit loops is always excited to this group!  I wrote out their names using the different colors of the fruit loops.  Then they had to find the correct color and glue it onto their letters in their name. 


The finished products looked great!



We also made a hop scotch that was all of the letters of the alphabet!



This week we also had pattern blocks and felt pieces on the tables to explore.  Lots of neat creations were made.









These next photos are just some of the things we did while we were studying letters, or moments captured around the classroom.


The trains were a lot of fun the past two months.  They made endless different train tracks.


This was group art project outside.  The paints were made of clear hair gel, liquid watercolors and confetti.



The mud kitchen continues to be a hit!



The purple rice bin was filled with gems, hearts, test tubes, and ice cube trays.



Another art project was an simple invitation of metallic pens, popsicle sticks, and washi tape.  They had so much fun coloring the sticks and covering them with different styles of tape.








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!