Friday, July 29, 2011

Lovely Lobsters



Happy Friday!


As promised here is the precious lobster we have been working on. As a mom, I've watched my own boys grown so quickly and realize the importance of capturing their small image in a variety of ways, hand prints and footprints are two of my favorite ways of creating a moment in time that lasts. I came across this project on http://funhandprintart.blogspot.com/2010/05/handprint-footprint-lobster-for-june.html. There were so many exceptional projects on this site that I can't wait to try!




As we wrap up July, it's a great time to reflect on all of the wonderful skills we have learned and been introduced to.




Letters: We have learned Ww, Xx, Yy, and Zz. The children enjoyed the last four letters of the alphabet and are looking forward to starting with Aa, when we return in August. For letter recognition and sound association we will begin using a program called Jolly Phonics. More details to follow soon.



Language: For Language we have really been focusing on developing our vocabulary, especially when we communicate our wants and needs with friends and adults. Manner words and a polite tone were a big focus this past month and will continue to be in the future as well.



Math: We continued our quest with color identification. The children made great progress with this skill during July. They were also introduced to the idea of "more and less." This tends to be one of the more difficult concepts to understand. We will continue to work on this in August and the months following. We also worked on counting and our numbers 1-5. The children love the rhymes we use to remember how form each number. One is fun!




Social Studies: Teamwork was the theme in July and the children did a great job with this! We made floor puzzles, created a pretend restaurant, built forts, and created towers all by working together, taking turns, and sharing. Of course our manner words were used a lot when doing these team based activities. Great progress in this area as well!




Science: We had an outstanding time exploring our ocean life unit. The children loved the variety of fish activities, literature selections, and the songs. This is a very musical group and all of the children enjoy singing and dancing. I hope to implement some musical instruments in the near future.




Gross Motor / P.E.: We completed our until on kickball this month. The children love any activity that has to do with a ball and this was no exception. I saw growth with the children's motor planning skills and their abilities to kick a moving ball. Teamwork was also utilized here and effectively and politely talking to others as well.




Fine Motor: Cutting, tracing, and strengthening the small muscles in the children's hands was the focus here. We are seeing definite improvement with cutting and tracing.




Character Trait: The character trait for July was to be respectful. All of the children did an exceptional job with this. The teamwork unit and language and vocabulary development were also utilized while we were learning what it means to be respectful.




To get a seek peek of what's to come in August, please visit the Curriculum Center.



We will be adding one new component to the curriculum in the future, starting in August. This will be a community service project each month. In August we will being this adventure by starting a recycling program and using the money we earn to sponsor an animal from the Gentle Barn. Specifc details will be sent home soon.




Have great weekend and an excellent first week in August! As always, please email me with any questions or concerns. achievepreschool@hotmail.com Thank you!



Thursday, July 28, 2011

Perfect Patterns

Yesterday when the children expressed their enthusiasm for creating patterns, I was thrilled and couldn't wait to plan some more activities for this skill. I was even more excited when several little friends asked if we could do more patterns today. Absolutely! A quick scan of the craft cupboard revealed the left over colored pasta we had used to make Mother's Day necklaces. Perfect! Now for some black construction paper and a little glue and voila...perfect patterns emerged! Of course we practiced our colors, counting, and fine motor skills too. I love spontaneous lessons!
We are wrapping up our ocean unit and will be completing our final lobster craft tomorrow. I may be a little biased, but these lobsters are precious. Several of you have asked for the words to tunes to all of our fish songs for the month. We will have a new page called The Song Spot, where all of the tunes and lyrics for the songs that have been taught will be located. I will also attempt to place a description for any hand movements that were used with each song.
Be sure to come back tomorrow! You will get to see the infamous lobsters and have a recap of the month of July, along with a preview of the fun to come in August!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Z is for zoo...






Happy Wednesday!






Today has been another busy and eventful day. There was a buzz of excitment in the air as we celebrated another birthday. It's our forth one this month! We all had a great time singing Happy Birthday and there may have been some homemade chocolate cake involved.




Above is a picture of our latest artistic venture, but this activity goes beyond the children just exhibiting their creative flair. Let me share all of the skills associated with our zoo pictures.




Sound/Symbol Relationship- The children have been exposed to and are beginning to understand that each letter we learn makes it's own special sound. This week we are focusing on the letter Zz and the /z/ sound. To reinforce this concept we have been talking a lot about the zoo.




Introductory Concepts of Print- At the top of their picture each child glued the question "Who lives in the zoo?" The purposed of this is to introduce the children to the concepts that letters in print create words, which have meaning.




Language Development and Vocabulary Building - To enhance the children's vocabulary we named each animal and discussed the location they had placed each animal on their paper (on, next to, under, over, beside). This was a great way to work on prepositions.





Color Identification- We identified the color of each animal and played a game to strengthen their color identification skills.





Sorting - Before we began to make our zoo picture, we sorted the foam stickers into groups by each type of animal. This led to playing another game relating to patterns.





Patterns - After sorting the animals into their different groups, the children were then asked to pick two different animals. Once they had picked their two favorite animals, I gave them four of each, for a total of eight. At this time we created a simple ABAB pattern using their two animals. For example, one child picked a giraffe and an elephant. So together we created the following pattern: giraffe, elephant, giraffe, elephant, giraffe, elephant, giraffe, elephant. The children loved this! We we definately be doing more patterns again soon!





Fine Motor - And last, but certainly not least, we worked on developing the small muscles in our friends little hands by having them peel the backing off of each sticker before they placed it on their papers.





What a great day!!! I wanted to take a second and thank you for all of the positive emails and feedback I have received. I know many of you have expressed the desire to want to make comments after each post but have been unable to do so unless you have a blogger account with Google. I am still researching the best option for how to correct this. I feel it's important to share your thoughts with everyone and would love to be able to have a dialog beyond email that can be shared with others. I will let you know as soon as I have this "kink" worked out.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

An Amazing Family Experience

So, today we are going to take a break from curriculum, projects, and activities because I have something I must share with you! Each weekend my family and I attempt to find new fun and educational activities, while spending quality time together. This past Sunday we spent some time at The Gentle Barn in Santa Clarita. I had heard from several of my mommy friends that it was a wonderful place to take children and they were absolutely right!


For those of you who are unfamiliar with The Gentle Barn, let me share a little bit about it. The Gentle Barn is wonderful place where abused and neglected animals have been brought and nursed back to health. Each animal has a story. Each story is tragic, except for the ending. The end of each animal's story is one of health, happiness, and healing from the they have spent with the wonderful volunteers and Gentle Barn family members.


They have approximately 130 animals at their location. All of the animals can be pet, groomed, and loved on. My boys (especially my husband) loved feeding the horses! The volunteers kindly taught us how to properly hold our hands, so that the horses could eat their yummy treats.





video



We also went to the top of the property where we met several pigs, chickens, turkeys, goats, and peacocks. This was where I fell in love! I'm unsure of his name, but he was enormous and had the loudest snore I have ever heard. ADORABLE!!!







video




The Gentle Barn is open to the public every Sunday from 10am-2pm. However, during the week they work with at risk teens and children with special needs. When I found out this bit of info, I loved the Gentle Barn even more. It is a wonderful place to show all people that we can heal from our hurts. Each animal was truly an amazing creature and my entire family left feeling uplifted and grateful for our time there.




I was also pleased to see our new animal friends chowing down delicious veggies (which are donated by Albertsons). And did I mention the Gentle Barn serves vegan pizza from their concession stand? The Gentle Barn could definitely be my new favorite place. What more could this girl possibly ask for?




The Gentle Barn was such an inspirational experience that I have decided to incorporate community service projects into our curriculum. Our first project will be to sponsor an animal from the Gentle Barn.




If you are interested in more information about this incredible place, please visit their website at http://www.thegentlebarn.org/ They also have a Facebook page and are on Twitter as well.




I highly recommend making a trip to The Gentle Barn! If you decide to go, you will have an awesome time and I can't wait to hear about your experience!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Creative Crabs...

Happy Monday Everyone!
I hope everyone had a relaxing and enjoyable weekend! This past week has been rough in the blogging arena. Technical difficulties, blog crashes, camera malfunctions..it's been enough to make a girl need a vacation! Whew! Well, even with all of the challenges I have faced this past week, I'm not giving up. I'm bound and determined to master the art of blogging and I appreciate you sticking in there with me.
The cute little guy above was actually made on Friday, but he was too cute not to share. He was created by the children painting their hands and using their hand prints to bring to life another one of our sea creatures from our ocean unit. We had a lot of fun with this activity. The children all giggled and were squirmy as the cool paint was brushed onto their little hands. They became excited as they attached Mr.Crab's eyes, but the most enjoyable part of all for our little preschool friends had to be the sand! Of course, we had to play with the sand first, which is a great sensory activity for our young friends. Overall, this activity was definitely one of the children's favorite in the ocean unit.
This week we will be wrapping up our ocean unit and finishing up the alphabet with the letter Zz. Today the children met Zach the Zebra. He collects zippers, loves to eat zucchini, and lives in the zoo. The children made their very own Zach the Zebra puppet that will be coming home today. We will also continue working on our colors and shapes. I hope everyone is having an outstanding Monday!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Y is for yellow...

Hello everyone!
Sorry for the couple of days of down time on the blog. I was having a few minor technical difficulties, but I think I have them all squared away now. So, without further delay, let's talk PRESCHOOL!
This week we are working on the letter Yy. So far we have learned the letter Yy song, looked for things that start with Yy, and played with yo-yos. Oh the fun we have had!
Today we sponge painted the letter Y using yellow paint. The children loved dipping the sponge into paint and then squishing it onto their paper. They giggled as the paint got all over their hands. It was a bit messy, but definitely super fun!
I can't wait for tomorrow and our next adventure! Have a great day!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Fabulous Fish...



Today we continued to work on our ocean unit and pulled in a great deal of learning, while we were having fun! We made fish using colored streamers, construction paper, and paper plates. We practiced our colors, worked on strengthening the small muscles in our hands, and had an all around great time doing it. This activity also gave us a excellent forum for using our polite manners when we asked our friends to share supplies, such as glue and paper. The children did a great job! The best part of the activity was when (without any prompting from me) they began to sing the song "I'm a Little Fish," while creating their fishy masterpieces. It was absolutely adorable!



I hope you have been enjoying the blog as much as I enjoy writing it. I'm still working out some details, as I'm a complete newbie when it comes to blogging, so I appreciate your patience. I received many positive comments and some awesome suggestions! Thank you for taking the time to share your feedback.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

"Squishy" Scissors


Squishy scissors...what are those?! Well let me share, actually let me RAVE about "squishy scissors." Being a Kindergarten teacher for years, I have probably been exposed to every single kind of safety scissors ever made. And let me tell you, I have never found a pair of scissors that I love for little hands, until now. We have talked quite a bit recently about how we are working on developing the children's fine motor skills by strengthening the small muscles in their hands. Well, cutting always tends to be difficult. Especially in the beginning when little hands are weak. The regular safety scissors are just that, safe. Safe for little ones, so that they will not cut themselves, but they are basically just a smaller less sharp version of adult scissors. They are not designed with the children's hand muscles in mind. However, FISKARS makes a pair of safety scissors that really addresses this need (pictured above). The two hands of the scissors are attached together and the children just need to squeeze to make the scissors work. Genius, I tell you, pure genius! We have made cutting a game where every time we squeeze the scissors to cut we say "squish." The children love their squishy scissors and so do I!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Fish Frenzy...




Today we had a fabulous day! We continued our ocean theme and also worked on the letter Xx and the number one. Today was the first day that the children practiced writing the number one all by themselves and let me just share they did a phenomenal job!! They were so proud of themselves. I really wish I could have recorded their squeals of delight as they wrote on their papers. They were happy, having fun, and incredibly proud of their latest accomplishment. It was great to be a part of that moment!




We have also been working on color identification. The children are doing great with this and have made a lot of progress. Today we worked on the color yellow. We made yellow collages and the little ones loved taking pictures out of magazines and gluing the pictures down onto their yellow papers.




Our big project this afternoon was to create an underwater scene using foam shapes and stickers. There was a great deal of learning taking place that the children were completely unaware of. All they knew is they having a great time, but I was well aware of all oCheck Spellingf the wonderful learning taking place in the room. Let me share..




This activity led to practicing counting (number of ocean animals in their picture), sorting (putting the ocean animals into different groups), color identification (identifying what color each animal was), and fine motor practice (taking the backing off of each sticker and placing it in their desired location). Look at all of this great learning taking place and they never even knew it! All they know is they had a great time and asked when we will be able to do it again! I love it was they have so much fun! Hope everyone is having a great Tuesday! We sure are!!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Rainbow Writing





Over the last several weeks you may have noticed the children have begun working on their fine motor skills by practicing how to trace lines, simple shapes, and recently letters and numbers. We have been developing this skill by using a technique called "Rainbow Writing." The children use a variety of different colored crayons to create a rainbow on their paper. The children repeat the same motions to write the letter Xx. The end result, a colorful letter that was created while the children were having fun practicing a crucial skill. You can see from the picture above, we worked on the letter Xx. They all did a great job! Happy Monday!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Whimsical Whales






Happy Friday, everyone! We have had a great week learning, growing, and playing! To go with our science unit on ocean life, we created some pretty amazing whales. The children loved each step of this project. They stuffed the bags, painted, and glued. Their favorite part was making and attaching the whale's spout. They each giggled when they watched their whale come to life.




We will continue with our ocean life unit next week, so there is more fun to come! Have a great weekend!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Weather Watchers








Circle Time is one of the children's most favorite times of the day. It has always been a fairly simple activity that included practicing the letter of the week, music time, and listening to a simple story. We recently introduced the job of flag monitor as we have started learning the Pledge of Allegiance. The children LOVE to do this and feel such a sense of pride when it is their turn hold the flag and lead their friends in this activity. Yesterday we added another helper to our Circle Time routine, the Weather Watcher. The Weather Watcher is responsible for checking the weather outside and sharing the information with their friends. We also learned the Weather Watcher song that the children sing while the Weather Watcher is looking outside, assessing the weather situation.




Weather Watcher



(Sung to the tune Frere Jacques)



Weather Watcher, Weather Watcher,



What do you see?



What do you see?



Come on back and tell us,



Come on back and tell us,



What you see,



What you see.




When the song is completed the Weather Watcher shares what type of weather they saw and then shows their friends the matching weather card (shown in the picture above). If the children at Circle Time agree with the Weather Watcher, they give him or her "thumbs up." If they disagree, the keep their hands in their lap and we discuss as a group what type of weather we have outside. As with leading the Pledge of Allegiance, the Weather Watcher is a great way to motivate all of the children to participate in Circle Time and it fills each child with a sense of pride and accomplishment when it is their turn to be the Weather Watcher! It's fun, exciting, and a great self-esteem building activity for our little ones.




*My son came home singing the Weather Watcher song when he was in Kindergarten, so I have no idea where it originally came from or who should get the appropriate credit for it. I am still researching the actual creator of the song, so for now, thanks Mrs. Brixey...

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Wonderful Watermelons!











Today we had a great day! Not only did we eat some watermelon, we also made our own torn paper watermelon. The kids had a blast! You may be wondering why they are tearing the paper instead of cutting it. Great question…Let me explain.


As little hands being to mature, it is important to help them develop the small muscles in their hands and fingers. Why is this important? Well, these same small muscles are used when the children hold crayons and eventually pencils. By doing activities that promote strengthening the small muscles in their hands, such as tearing paper, the children will begin to develop more fine motor control and have an easier time when they begin to write. Due to this, you will see and hear of the children participating in many different activities that promote fine motor development. Cutting is another skill that will help develop these muscles. We have been working on this as well. As a matter of fact, a post on our "squishy" scissors is in the making and will be up next week.


I hope you are enjoying the new blog. I realize it has only been a couple of days, but I am loving it! J


Also, several of you have stated that you had wanted to post a comment, but were unable to do so. I am currently researching why there has been an issue and will get back to you as soon as I have found an answer. In the meantime, always know you can send me an email anytime. achievepreschool@hotmail.com Happy Wednesday!











Monday, July 4, 2011

Winston the Wolf










Hello Everyone!



It's Ww week and today the children were introduced to our puppet for the week...Winston the Wolf. Below is the story the children heard about Winston. As you can see he loves the letter Ww.



"Winston the wolf loves to wiggle! He lives in the wilderness near the water. He likes to eat walnuts and watermelon and he also enjoys going on walks. His best friend is a Walrus named Walter. Together they have a wonderful time washing windows. So whenever you think of the letter Ww, remember our friend Winston the Wolf!





We also sang the Ww song.



W says /w/.


W says /w/.


Every letter makes a sound.


W says /w/.



It was a fabulous day! We had a wonderful time!












*wolf puppet pattern from www.abcteach.com








Friday, July 1, 2011

Welcome!


Welcome, welcome everyone! I am so glad you popped by to check out the new blog! This is something that I have been working on for a long time and I am so happy to finally see it becoming a reality.






As many of you know, along with taking exceptional care of your children, one of my biggest goals is to provide you with the most information possible about your child's activities each day. That is my main purpose in doing this blog. It is my intention to create a post each day about one our activities. It is my hope that along with the daily communication logs and our blog, that you will feel as though you were here with us, sharing in each moment of our preschool day. So come and join our adventure! We can't wait to have you spend time with us!









Please take a few moments to look around. Here on the home page is where I will post about our daily activities. On the right side of the blog, you will see a section titled "Pages." While a few of the pages are still under construction (Special Needs, The Story Sanctuary, and Business Solutions-Providers Playground), there are several others that are ready to go!





The "About Me" section, is just that...It's all about Miss Kim, my education, and qualifications. Everything you wanted to know and more.






The "Educational Philosophies" section highlights why I do what I do. Just in case you didn't know, I love my job and I want you to understand my reasoning for constructing my program as I have.









The "Daily Schedule" will show you what we do each day and when.






The "Curriculum Center" is block plan for the months of July-December. You will be able to see what the children will be learning each month (letters, language development, math, social studies, science, character trait of the month, and any holidays). If you have questions about any of the curriculum, please let me know and I'd be happy to clarify.









The "Meal Menu" section will provide you with a list of the meals and snacks that have been planned for the children each week.





Finally, the "Weekly Focus" will share what literature selection we will be working on. It will also list our song of the week and it will highlight what letter we will be working on.









The Special Needs, The Story Sanctuary, and Business Solution pages will be up and running soon.





As many of you know, Special Education is a passion of mine. As a mother of children that received special needs services shortly after birth, I know what an overwhelming experience it can be. It is my goal that I will be able to offer support to others, share what I have learned, and increase my knowledge base as well.




"The Story Sanctuary" page is something I chose to include for a variety of reasons. The main one being that it houses one of the biggest dreams in my heart, to become a published author. Over the last several years, I have begun writing children's stories. These are Christian based children's stories that have been created with the same set of characters that have a variety of adventures. If you are interested in reading some of these stories they will also be posted on my other blog http://www.thestorysanctuary.blogspot.com/ . I will let you know when that is up and running.








Finally, the "Business Solutions-Provider's Playground" is a place for daycare providers to come together to share ideas, gain new information, and find new ways to enhance their business.







Well, again, I thank for stopping by! Please feel free to share this blog with any friends, family members, neighbors, really anyone you know that might be interested in the information shared here.









Please leave a comment below, so I know you were here. It would mean a lot!