Crozet Play School

Kids at Play in Crozet


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How Does Your Garden Grow?

 

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On my last blog post I shared our little sprout houses that the children created last month.  Over a period of a few weeks we took our seeds out the sprout house to observe them and write about them in our learning journals.  We even worked on labeling portions of the pictures with some of the key science words we have learned such as:  SEED, SPROUT, and ROOT.  They did a great job looking closely at their sprouts and drawing their pictures.

 

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Once we finished with our drawings, I gave each child a copy of the plant life cycle to color and put in the correct order.

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They did all of the coloring and cutting themselves.  I am so proud of their progress with coloring and cutting and how much their fine motor skills have improved this year.

 

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The children got to work and draw their observations while enjoying the fresh breeze in our new outdoor area! 

 

Then we painted and filled up flower pots with soil, and added our bean sprouts to the pots to take home!

 

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This week we cut apart an order for potting a plant.  We discussed the words first through sixth.  Then we put the cards in the correct order from start to finish in our learning journals.

 

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We also read the book, “The Tiny Seed” by Eric Carle.  After reading the story we worked on a painting project using a variety of paint brushes.  After the paintings dried we cut the paper into petal shapes and added the flower parts to the art work.  The results were stunning!

 

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We also created plastic plate flowers as a garden decoration.  They painted plastic plates with acrylic paint, and I sprayed the plate with an acrylic shell to protect for the weather and elements.  Then we attached them to a garden stake, and gave them to our Moms on Mother’s Day!  I have mine proudly displayed in our garden.

 

 

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We also used our chocolate play dough to create these beautiful nests with our safari limited birds and mini eggs.

 

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It has been so fun exploring flowers, plants, and seeds this spring!  Only a few more weeks of school, and soon summer will be upon us!


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Jack and the Beanstalk

 

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We spent the past week reading Jack and the Beanstalk and discussing seeds and beans!  The children absolutely loved the story of Jack and the Beanstalk and enjoyed hearing the many versions of the book. 

 

 

After reading Jack in the Beanstalk one day we decided to build our very own beanstalk in the classroom!  We taped 14 paper towel tubes together and got to painting!

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Then I took picture of the kids as they pretended to crawl up a beanstalk.  Once we painted our entire stalk we put it up to the ceiling and then we put everyone’s picture climbing up it!

 

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Each child colored their own “sprout house” and then we placed snap pea seeds inside of wet paper towels.  We hung up our sprout houses on the window and everyone got very excited when we saw our seeds actually sprouting!  We took notes and drew pictures in our learning journals of the changes in our seeds.  After reading books about seeds and their growth we labeled our pictures with these science words:

 

  1. Seed, Sprout, Root, Root Hairs, Soil, and Sun

 

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Today we painted flower pots and we will be bringing home our snap pea plants this week!

 

 

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We have been working on these puppet box theatres for the past two weeks.  Each child got to pick their favorite fairy tale and plan a puppet theatre inside their box.  It has been a long process for each child, with painting, planning, prepping, and choosing their design.  I am so proud of each child and how hard they have worked on their puppet theatre.  Above is a picture of a Little Red Riding Hood story box, and below is an example of The Three Little Pigs.

 

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Once each child has finished their puppet box, they will have the choice to act out their fairy tale in front of the class!

 

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Above is D painting his wheat garden for The Little Red Hen.

 

We have also been enjoying this beautiful weather with lots of walks and activities outside!

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We have walked down to the playground and visited the fountain a few times.

 

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We have also walked down the creek and community gardens a few times as well.  I have been trying to take everyone on one long walk a week.

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We got lucky at our last visit to the community gardens.  They had a huge rock pile that we got to climb and play in!

 

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There has also been a few rainy days, but that doesn’t stop us!

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And of course our mud kitchen got re-opened for the spring weather too.

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When we are at school, I have been trying to bring one or two big activities outside to enjoy.  We mixed up our own batch of sidewalk paint and got right to work decorating Crozet PlaySchool’s driveway.

 

 

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I am looking forward to our last few weeks of adventures as May approaches!


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One for the Record Books!

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We were invited to a beautiful farm to see some brand new baby lambs that were just born.  It was a beautiful spring morning, and such a wonderful way to kick off spring.  The picture above was the view from the top of the mountain!  We could see all of Crozet, and even pick out some of our houses!

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Claire and D making their way up the mountain.  It was quite a hike for our kids!

 

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Some of the brand new lambs were brand new, and hardly a day old!  Rachel had them behind a fence since they were just born. 

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It was amazing to see baby lambs so close and personal!

 

 

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Then we each got a turn to pet and hold (if we wanted to!) a baby lamb.  This lamb was a few days old, and so much bigger than the babies behind the fence.  We all couldn’t believe how much he had grown in just a short time.

 

 

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Claire snuggling up with the baby!

 

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Then we walked around the farm and got to see the large mama sheep.  They have such a unique look and so many variations in color. 

 

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Then we played around on a huge pile of manuar…

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After another steep climb we made our way to the very top of the mountain.  There was another gorgeous view!  We stopped for some snacks and kite flying.

 

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Group snack time with our friends from Roundhouse Preschool!

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Flying kites with little sisters!

 

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All in all it was the best field trip we have had yet!  We learned about lambs and spring and got to enjoy each other and some free time too!  Thank you Rachel for letting us visit your beautiful farm.


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March Madness

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We had so much fun on St. Patrick’s Day this year!  The kids came into the classroom to find that some little leprechaun vandals had left a mess in our classroom overnight.  There were gold coins, rainbow yarn, and green confetti all over the place.  Then some of the students noticed a clue located on our bookshelf. 

 

We worked together, read the clues, and used our thinking skills to determine where to go next!

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We ended up finding chocolate coins and treasure hidden in our trashcan!  The leprechauns sure know how to be tricky!

 

During our morning meeting we had a “lucky hunt” around the classroom.  Each child was given a hunt paper and had to find golden coins hidden around the classroom.  Then they had to race back and try to fill up the lucky hunt papers as quickly as possible.  This was so much fun that we played it a few times!

 

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We also found some very green gak in the art room on St. Patrick’s Day.  Gak is still a favorite in our classroom, and we loved sticking the gak full of coins, shamrocks, and green gems.

 

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In March we opened a new construction area in the classroom.  It included our golf tees and foam board, with real hammers and goggles.  This is such a great activity for everyone in the class.  Holding up the hammers and pounding them into the board is great muscle building for our arms and hands.  Also getting the chance to use real tools is enticing and empowering for children.

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New in our construction area were vests, hard hats, and all our construction vehicles.  The vests and hats have become a permenant part of our dramatic play area of the room.

 

 

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We played with pasta, tubs, scoops, and bowls in one of the sensory tubs.

 

 

 

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After reading Goldilocks and the Three Bears a bunch of times we got to act out the story using the sensory tub.  I filled the tub with oatmeal, added three bears and a goldilocks.  Then I put the furniture from our doll house to act out the beds and chairs.  They always know just what to do when they see these activities around the classroom.

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Last year we spent a great deal of time discussing rainbows, colors, and color mixing.  I still did a few projects that included rainbows this spring.  We painted rainbows on a large sheet of paper.  Before they started painting I put a rainbow piece of contact paper on their sheet.  Once their paintings dried, I peeled off the contact paper to reveal an opposite rainbow picture.  They were very confused about the process, but once they saw me peel off the contact paper the whole idea made more sense to them!

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We also finger painted rainbows with our glitter filled paints.  Each child decided if they wanted their rainbow to run across the paper or in an arch.  After our rainbows dried we taped rainbow yarn to the bottom of the paper and turned it into a windsock.  They loved taking them outside and seeing them blow in the wind.

 

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This winter was filled with a lot of snowy days, and we have loved adding the addition of yoga into our monthly routines.  The children are quickly picking up on the poses, terms, and the breathing elements of yoga.  They are so flexible and can quickly move from one position to the next.  I am in awe of their attitude to embrace new ideas and jump into yoga feet first!  We will continue to have Ms. Kay visit us throughout the spring too!

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Ms. Kay begins each lesson with an affirmation that we repeat a few times before an after our yoga exercises.  Then she guides the yoga session by reading a book that usually has animals in the story.  Each animal leads the children to the next pose they are going to encounter.

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Moose ears and breathing right to left

 

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Whale pose: laying on belly and lifting arms and legs

 

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Wolf pose:  downward dog with a leg lift to be the wolf’s tail wagging. 

 

Ms. Kay is so creative, and makes yoga fun for the kids!


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“Egg”stravagant Spring Time

Our bird study blended right into a big discussion all about “eggs”.  We talked about eggs, we painted eggs, we played with eggs, and of course there was some discussion of the Easter bunny too!

 

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R joined our class for the last few months of school, and she has blended right in with the group perfectly!  She is full of excitement, and art projects seem to be her passion right now.  She enjoyed this contact paper project I presented on the easel.  I cut out shapes and provided the outline along with cellophane paper to fill in the shape.  The result was just beautiful in the art room.

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This art project is great for fine motor development, and using an easel for preschool art actually has many benefits.  Another wonderful blog that I read frequently, Small Potatoes, describes 5 wonderful benefits of easel art in this blog post.  This blog is a wonderful resource for play tips, sensory activities, and art inspiration at home.

Table Invitations:

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One week children found this on the classroom tables.  These are actually little drink glasses from the dollar store.  I turned them upside down and wrote upper case and lower case letters on the glasses.  Children matched the lower case letter to the uppercase letter on the light table. 

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I love providing unique materials that engage the kids in new ways.  This is a long bath mat turned upside down.  Children had to use the tongs to move the marbles from the bowl to balance on the suction cups of the bath mat!

 

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Exploring Sense of “Self”:  I presented this table invitation to encourage students to learn to draw themselves.  I have been doing small mini lessons with the Handwriting Without Tears program to encourage self portraits and develop their ability to draw their bodies and faces.  They have come a long way since the beginning of the year!  I love seeing their self portraits, and the details they choose to include…

 

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Play Dough:

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We explored some lovely spring colors with our play dough last month!  I made a large batch and then split it into purple, pink and blue.  On the play dough tray I provided spring gems in bright colors, flower gems, and then an assortment of cookie cutters including sheep, bunnies, and eggs.

 

Learning Trays: 

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Our learning trays this month have been filled with all sorts of different interests.  The picture above shows a counting tray I created.  Using small play dough cakes, I would place a number in the play dough and the child would match the correct number of matchsticks to the number.

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This was a fun egg and sound guessing game.  I filled plastic eggs with different loose parts from around the house.  The child would shake the egg and try to guess what was inside based on the sound of the egg.  Some of the items were easy to distinguish like the pennies and paper clips, and some were more difficult like the plastic tags and links.

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R is exploring a learning tray of fettuccini pasta and a small colander.  This would be a quick and easy exploration to set up while you are trying to cook dinner!

 

 

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I printed out each child’s name and they placed an assortment of stickers overtop of their letters.  It was great fine motor and letter practice!

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We played with this learning tray a few times as a whole class, and then I put in on the shelf for individual exploration.  Each child would crack open an egg to find a letter inside.  Then they matched their letter to the ABC sheet provided.  Just adding the opening of the egg created so much excitement to a simple letter puzzle!

 

Sensory Play:

 

 

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Our Easter Sensory Bin:  green Easter grass, eggs large and small, bunnies, and carrots.

 

 

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This water sensory tub was a huge hit for most of the week!  I created it using the liquid watercolors, gutters cut in half, a second tub to catch water, funnels and cups.  They loved watching the water splash, move, and fill up again and again.  In the picture above M and L are pouring the water while L is entranced by it sliding down the gutters!

 

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Both age groups were super involved with this water activity.  It will be repeated again I am sure!

Dramatic Play:

 

 

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For some wonderful spring themed dramatic play I created a “Flower Shop” for the kids.  I provided a shelf filled with cups, pots, and loose flowers, a store front, cash register, money, paper and pens for note taking.  This was a busy flower shop, and the children enjoyed making flower arrangements for each other.

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Process Art:

 

 

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This past month the children created a wonderful group art project using a very large sheet of contact paper.  I laid the paper out on the table and provided lots of spring colors to stick anyplace they wanted.  The results were so pretty, and I love seeing it hanging on our doorway everyday.

 

 

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I drew a bunch of blank eggs on the chalk board wall and waited to see if they would fill in the eggs with different designs!

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One of my favorite projects this past month was a super sized egg!  I got the idea from Fun at Home With Kids’ blog about a big Easter Egg.  I changed our eggs slightly and provided the textured rolling pins for the students to make large scale designs for their eggs.  Here is L in the middle of making her Very Large Egg!

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The children painted wooden eggs with our liquid watercolors, we added them to the Easter Sensory bin and played hide and seek with the eggs outside.  The hide and seek game was such a great way to reinforce colors, counting, and more and less than. While we were playing I would hear,

“We need one more blue”

“There aren’t any pink eggs in the carton, help me find them”

“Only one more egg left!”

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We paper mached paper eggs with tissue paper and modge podge!

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I had so much extra tissue paper we used some to do some bleeding tissue paper art work!

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And just for fun we made Easter bunnies using Easter colored marshmallows.  They got to eat a few marshmallows when they finished their bunny too!

 

That just about covers all of our “Egg”stravagant Spring exploring!