Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Darling Dogs...

It's letter Dd week and I'm just delighted to share these darling dogs! We have been having a blast so far! Yesterday we used hearts to create these dogs. Aren't they adorable? I can see marked improvement with the children's fine motor skills as they use the glue and grasp small pieces of paper. It is so exciting to watch these little people grow and develop right before your eyes.

Today ends our last day of August. WOW, September already? Yikes, it will be the holidays before we blink. We have had a great month of learning, growing, sharing, and changing. Let me give you a little recap on what we have done.

This month we learned the letters Aa, Bb, and Cc. The children did great with this. It's so exciting to see them beginning to recognize these letters in print when I'm reading stories or writing words. What's even more wonderful is when they also tell me the sound each letter makes. They are all doing fantastic and I am proud of each and every one of them!

For August, we continued with vocabulary development and also talked about prepositions. The children did great as we worked on describing words to enhance their expressive language. For prepositions, we played games with stuffed animals and placed them on, over, under, and in a variety of objects.

For math we covered several concepts. We continued working on color identification. All of the children have become very proficient with this and they enjoyed the games we played to reinforce this skill. We also continued practicing counting from 1 to 10 and number identification for the numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5. The children love the number rhymes we recite to help us remember how to form each one properly.

Social Studies:
In August we learned about families. We talked about where we live, who is in our family, and we listened to a number of stories about being a part of a family. Everyone enjoyed talking about who is in their family. A few of them even shared how old mommy and daddy are. Don't worry, I'll never tell! They did ask me how old I am. I told them to guess. Most of them think I'm about 17. That works for me!

Healthy foods were are focus this month. We discussed fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and also how sugar may taste good, but it is not good for our bodies. While they were all disappointed to hear this, I must say they were rather enthusiastic about several of my new veggie creations I shared at lunch. Most of these were vegan, but described as YUMMY!!!

Gross Motor / P.E.
Jump rope was our focus for physical education. I always love doing this unit with preschoolers. You can see them trying to motor plan when to jump and how high, so that they do not step on the rope. It is adorable to watch! We will continue working on this skill and I look forward to seeing how their motor planning skills progress.

Fine Motor:
We have been working on tracing simple shapes such as squares, circles, triangles, and rectangles. A great deal of progress has been with this. The children see their accomplishments too. Squeals of excitement could be heard followed by the words "I DID IT!!"' I'm so proud of them!

Character Trait:
For the month of August we worked on having good manners. I'm happy to report that I am hearing "please" and "thank you" much more consistently from our little friends. We also worked on "excuse me" and the appropriate times to use this phrase.

Community Service Project:
This is our first month doing a community service project and I have to say it was FANTASTIC!!! We adopted Daisy the chicken from The Gentle Barn and started a recycling program to earn money to assist with her care. We needed $5 to help support her and guess what? We did it! We earned $5.17. I sent in the $5 today and we will carry over the .17 for September and Daisy's care. Thank you for assisting to make this project a success. We will begin a new community service project in September, while continuing our recycling program. Details will be sent home soon.

Well, once again, thank you for all of your support! I love your little ones and it is a blessing every day for me to have the opportunity to be a part of their lives.

As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please let me know! Thank you!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Crazy Cats!

Today's project was super simple, but so much fun! As we continued with letter Cc, we made these cute and crazy cats. The children loved picking the bright colors for their whiskars. Of all of the projects we have done together, this definately ranks in my top 10 favorites for being adorable! And this, ladies and gentlemen is why I love my job! Thank you for your continued support of our program. I feel blessed to be a part of each child's life, every single day.

I also wanted to take a moment and thank you for your donations for our recycling program. All funds obtained from the recyclables will be donated to Daisy the chicken from the Gentle Barn. We will be making our first trip to recycling lot this weekend and I will post an update on the progress of our goal of raising $5 for Daisy.

Have a great day!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Creativity and Corn on the Cob...

It's Cc week here at Achieve Preschool! Today we explored with textures and paint. In honor of the letter Cc and our Healthy Foods unit, we used a great vegetable to do some painting. Each child was given a raw piece of corn on the cob. We began the activity with some vocabulary building. I asked the children to use their senses (feel, look, smell, and taste) the corn. Each time they used of one their senses they generated a word to describe the corn. We came up with a great list of adjectives.

According to the little ones, corn is...yellow, cold, hard, bumpy, and (my favorite) scary. I'm not quite sure how we came up with scary. I promise I wasn't trying to give them one of my infamous vegan creations. Never the less, the children did an outstanding job describing what they observed about the corn. At this point you may be wondering if the above describing activity is important. My response to this is YES!!! More than most people realize. Let me explain a bit.

Vocabulary development is extremely important for every day conversation and effective communication, but it is also crucial when it comes to the children's ability to express themselves in writing. The California Educational Standards are very rigorous. Expectations are extremely high and when the children enter Kindergarten it will absolutely be their advantage to be able to verbally express themselves using a variety of different adjectives. This skill will hopefully carry over into their writing abilities as they progress through elementary school. We are just trying to build good and effective educational habits early!

After we discussed the corn then the texture fun began! We dipped the corn into different colors and rolled it around on the paper to create the corn on the cob print paintings. Some children loved the squishy feel of the paint, others were quick to finish and clean their hands. But overall everyone had a great time! Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Numbers, Numbers Everywhere...

Hello Everyone! I hope you are having a great Tuesday! I wanted to share a engaging project that we just completed today. For the last several months we have been working on the numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. We have worked on number identification (naming each number), number sense (how many items are needed to represent a specific number), rote counting (1, 2, 3, 4, 5), counting objects (touching each object as they are counting), and we have also started practicing forming each number. We began with the numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5. When I taught Kindergarten, one of my team mates introduced me to a series of adorable rhymes to assist the children in learning how to properly form each number. Below are the rhymes we used for the numbers

#1 One is fun!

#2 Around and back on a railroad track.

#3 Around a tree and around a tree, that's the way to make a three.

#4 Down and over and down some more, that's the way to make a four.

#5 Fat old five goes down and around. Put a hat on top.

#6 You roll a hoop and make a loop.

#7 Across the sky and down from heaven, that's the way to make a seven.

#8 You make an "S" but do not wait. You go back up and close the gate.

#9 Around with a line to make a nine.

#10 One is fun and a zero and you're done. Now you have a ten.

When introducing how to form each number the rhyme is first introduced. For example, number one, is basically a straight line down. We practice making a number one in the air while saying the rhyme (One is fun!). Next I model how to write each number, using proper formation (always starting at the top), and saying the rhyme as well. The children LOVE this!!

Today we made flashcards for numbers 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10. We glued beans over each number to give the children a tactile experience. and it was great fine motor practice. The rhyme for each number has also been attached to the back of each card, just in case your little one forgets how it goes. We practice our numbers (counting, identification, and proper formation) every day during circle time. I hope you enjoy the new flashcards!

Proper formation is critcal and we want to develop good habits early, especially when it comes to number and letter formation. Below is a link that demonstrates how to properly form the numbers mentioned above.


As always, if you have any questions, please let me know! achievepreschool@hotmail.com

Friday, August 19, 2011

Beautiful Bees...

Last week we worked on the letter Bb here at Achieve Preschool! And boy, did we have a great time! We sorted buttons, tossed balloons, blew bubbles, and ate blueberries. These were all fun and enjoyable, but my absolute favorite was this little guy pictured above. Meet Benjamin the Bee, complete with a stinger and all! The children really enjoyed making our paper bag whales during our fish until, so I decided to modify the activity and created this bee to help in our celebration of our letter of the week.

While of course, he was fun to make, we also worked on many important skills. The children utilized their fine motor skills while stuffing the bag, painting, gluing on his eyes, attaching his wings and antenna, and drawing his smile. We also practiced our color identification and counting skills as they added his stripes. So much fun!

This week we have moved on to the letter Cc. Keep checking back to see what fun creation we will come up with!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Jolly Phonics

Hello Everyone! I apologize for not blogging this past week. We have finally settled in after our vacation (truthfully Miss Kim had to recover from camping) and then we have been preparing for both of my boys to start school this week. Both my Kindergartner and second grader LOVE school this year. YAY!!! I can't not even begin to explain what a huge relief this is. Now let's share some exciting things that have been taking place at Achieve Preschool...

Above, you see our two most recent letters that we have learned. Next to each letter I have included a small puppet, similar to the one the children each made and took home. Let me explain the significance of these fun manipulatives.

As I mentioned before, I have recently started using a modified version of a program called Jolly Phonics. I used this program when I taught Kindergarten and loved it for a variety of reasons. First, Jolly Phonics uses a varies of modalities when approaching children's learning. They do this because there are different types of learners. Some children learn by hearing things (auditory learners). Some children need to see things in order to learn concepts (visual learner). Other learn by doing or touching (tactile learners). Due to the fact that children have different strengths as to how they learn, Jolly Phonics has created a program that addresses each modality (auditory, visual, and tactile ), so that no matter what learning style your child possess, their needs will be addressed.

I have modified the program to be used with our preschoolers in the following ways. I will be using the program in alphabetical order. The children are very familiar with the ABC song and I want them to feel comfortable knowing what is coming next. Jolly phonics goes out of order so that children can begin to blend and read words sooner. My goal is to expose the younger children (2yrs-3yrs) to the concept that each letter makes a sound. With the older children (3rs-4yrs), I want them to not only understand that each letter makes a sound, but I want them to internalize what sounds each letter makes. At this point, they will be extremely well prepared for the Kindergarten curriculum.

Jolly Phonics has a hand motion that is associated with each letter sound. For the letter Aa and the /a/ sound, Jolly Phonics has the children use two fingers crawling up their opposite arm. This simulates an ant crawling. As the children do the "ant motion" they make the sound /a/, /a/, /a/. We also attached the ant motion to our Aa song:

Aa says /a/,

Aa says /a/,

Every letter makes a sound,

Aa says /a/.

We also made an ant stick puppet to reinforce this concept. By singing (auditory), looking at the puppet and hand motions (visual), and creating the puppet and using the ant actions (tactile) all of the learning styles are addressed and hopefully the children will begin to internalize these concepts.

We have also worked on the letter Bb. The action for Bb involves pretending to hold a baseball bat and making the /b/ sound while swinging at a pretend ball. Again, we created a popsicle stick puppet and adding the hand motion to our Bb song.

The children have really enjoyed this new phonics program. Please feel free to provide your feedback! Next week we move on to the letter Cc. I can't wait!!!

If you would like to visit the Jolly Phonics Website, it is http://jollylearning.co.uk/

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Introducing DAISY...

Hello Everyone!

I hope you all had a great week! I wanted to take a moment to share an exciting new component of our program here at Achieve Preschool! Please, don't worry, we are not establishing a petting zoo, but I would like to take a moment to introduce you to Daisy. She is a chicken who is going to be a part of our first community service project.

While academics are an important part of what we do here, there is much more to your child's education than just learning their letters, shapes, colors, and numbers. The social and emotional component of their education is just as important. To meet this need, along with our Character Trait that we focus on each month, we will be adding a community service project. These projects, while fun and engaging, also serve another purpose. It is my goal to introduce the children to becoming productive and supportive members of their community while helping those around them.

For anyone following the blog, you are aware of the wonderful experience my family and I had at the Gentle Barn located in Santa Clarita. If you missed this post, please check out "An Amazing Family Experience." After having spent time here, seeing the animals first hand and witnessing the healing these animals have received, Daisy a chicken from the Gentle Barn will be a part of our first community service project. Let me explain what we will be doing for our project for August.

Please meet Daisy http://www.gentlebarn.org/virtual_barn.php . She is a chicken that needs some love and compassion. Achieve Preschool will be sponsoring Daisy for $5 per month, so that she will continue to receive the love, care, and food that has helped with her rehabilitation. We will earn the $5 for Daisy by beginning a recycling program. It is my hope that by establishing the recycling program and having the children help to earn the money for Daisy, we will begin on an exciting road of compassion and helping to care for others in need.

Starting tomorrow, there will be a bin located by the front door. If you would like to have your child participate with this project, please have them deposit any aluminum cans or plastic bottles that they would like to recycle to help earn money to care for Daisy. I will keep you posted as to our progress towards our goal of earning $5 per month.

As always, I thank you for your continued support. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free talk to me, call me, or email me at achievepreschool@hotmail.com .