Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Co-op Preschool: My body and clothes

We had a fantastic class today!

Arrival Free Play:  Having a few activities seems to help focus the group and it certainly makes clean up much easier for us when we are hosting.  Today we had trucks, coloring and play dough.

Snack Time:

Circle Time:  We are working to extend our circle time as our kids have a slightly longer attention span.


Book: Have You Seen by New Blue Socks?  This was a cute story with a nice rhythm to it.  It's amazing to listen to the kids answer questions about the book or relate it to their lives.  Our preschoolers are growing up!

Next, we played a fun game of "I Spy" where we identified different articles of clothing our friends were wearing.

We played head shoulders knees and toes.

Then we had an opportunity to practice our public speaking!  We did a show and tell with a favorite article of clothing!  Mr. Griffin asked each child what color their item was and where they put it on their body.

Activity 1: Paper Dolls.  This was a fun activity and for some of our kids is was their first time using scissors!  We colored our dolls and then cut them out (with help).  Finally we glued their clothes onto them.

Activity 2: Felt Man This was a great activity for practicing taking turns and cooperation.  We also talked about where each body part went.  When we were done putting it up, we took it back down again.

Shaving Cream sensory activity and drawing.  This is an activity I remember from early grade school and I thought the kids would love it.  I wanted to do it last year, but I was still worried our kids would eat it (one of our siblings still tried!)  It was a fun way to explore a new material and our tables are very clean now!

Closing Circle Time.

We had a great class!  Our hosting is over for the year, but I'm excited to see what our friends have to share with us in the coming months.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Coop Preschool Week 3: My Friends!

This was our third of fifth week of hosting co-op for the year.  This weeks lesson was about Friends!

The most critical component to success seems to be parent involvement, so I decided to post my plans the day before so everyone would know what to expect at class.

In an effort to contain the chaos of having between 6 and 15 toddlers in our house, we decided to limit 'arrival' play options to coloring and blocks today.

We had a fairly small group, but both went well and the kids seemed to have fun.  I'm amazed at how much better they are getting at coloring!!

For snack, we had veggie sticks and cuties.  

For circle time we sang our name song again and then I read the book Friends by Helme Heine
It's a cute story about a mouse, a pig and a rooster who are friends.  I think our group is just getting old enough to start understanding stories, so after I read I asked the kids a few questions.  It was a smaller group, and I liked having the chance to speak to them individually.  I can't imagine being a teacher with a class of 30 or whatever insane number they have sometimes.  Ek!

Activity 1: I was really excited about our first activity.  I cut out pictures of each of our preschool friends along with their names.  The kids took turns sticking them on the board.  We talked about the persons and then added their name.  For our age group, I told them what the name was and they stuck it next to the friend.  It was really adorable.  I had planned to divide our class into two groups (since we had a small group, I didn't).  But I think it was a good plan.  This activity would have been nearly impossible with 9 kids.  Before class, I also had a lot of fun with Colin and the pictures.  "Lily has black hair, that's different than mine, but look Jacob has hair like mine!"  

Activity 2: Friendship paintings

Okay, so this actually was just painting.  My original plan was to have each child make a hand print and then ask a friend to make a hand print, but we haven't painted yet this year, so we just painted!  We love painting!

Activity 3: Friendship Bracelets.  

I was a little concerned if this would be a bit advanced, but everyone did great! We threaded beads onto lace to make friendship jewelry.  I love beading because you can do so much with it, hand/eye coordination, patterns, colors, concentration.  

Activity 4: Chalk Writing- I cancelled this activity.  It rained last night and it was just too muggy and wet to go back outside.

We only had 3 kids by closing circle, so it was a bit more casual.

Overall it was a great class!

Monday, September 14, 2015

Co Op Preschool: Circle Time Board

One of the ideas we had to help organize our preschool circle time was a circle timeboard.  Since our preschool moves from house to house, we needed something easy to move and easy to use.

As I said, the main purpose of the board is to provide structure and familiarity to our circle time and it's done a great job of doing that.  During our first year we brain stormed what to include, and in the end our board looked like this:

Our board had the following sections:

1. The Alphabet
2. Number of the day
3. Month
4. Day of the week
5. Weather Wheel
6. Agenda
7. Birthdays

Our Circle board woked out really well last year.  One of our moms created it on a three section card board display board (like this one) It traveled dutifully from house to house, but by the end of class, it was looking a bit worse for wear.

So before we started up again this year, it was time for an update!

We never used the alphabet and the J and W had gone missing, so unfortunately our letters had to go.  Rather than replacing them, I thought it would be nice to have our name on the board.

We always meet on the same day of the week, and we didn't really focus on dates/months, so those sections didn't stay.  I added an erasable section for letter of the day and number of the day.  (I used my new laminator!).  I also laminated a sheet of paper to use as our "Agenda".

The weather wheel wa a huge hit, so I laminated the arrows that were kind of suffering and left it intact.  Living in beautiful Southern Califoria the wather is pretty much always sunny and warm/hot, but the kids love looking out the window and talking about the weather.  Whenever my son plays school (which he does pretty constantly when the preschool supplies are at our house!) the first thing he talks about is the weather.  It's pretty cute.

I love having a focal point for class.  I can see this idea being able to grow if we did decide to homeschool our kids.  In the meantime, it's a great way to have a consistant start to class while giving each parent room to be creative with their classes.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Little Ladera Learners: My Family!

This was our second week.  Overall, I'd say it was much smoother and calmer than the first week.

Arrival: In an effort to contain chaos, we limited arrival activities to blocks, playdoh and trucks.

Snack:  String Cheese and Dried Peas

Circle Time: Mr. Gavin talked about our last names, our families, and read us a book called "Just like my dad"

Activity 1: Coloring my family name (last name):

Activity 2: Revisiting the Letter Board
Unforutnatley, it was a bit too hot, although participation was much better!

Activity 3: My family tree

The kids pasted the tree onto paper and the parents helped them draw leaves with the members of their families on them.  Some kids colored the people in their family, as well!

Closing Circle.

Overall a successful class, although we ended a bit ahead of schedule, so I may tried a 4th activity next week.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

I read "the book" and here's my review.

Bedtime was getting bad.  It was mostly the big boy bed transition, but mommy was getting desperate when my neighbor mentioned a book that was supposed to get your kids to fall asleep...
The Rabbit Who Wants to Fall Asleep: A New Way of Getting Children to Sleep

The Rabbit Who Wants to Fall Asleep by Carl-Johan Foressen Ehrlin.

Apparently the book has caused quite a stir,but my decision to try it was simple.  We like books. I need sleep.  It wasn't expensive.

If you ever done any type of self hypnosis or guided meditation, nothing about the book will surprise you.  It's basically a guided meditation into sleep with a loose storyline about a Rabbit who wants to fall asleep.  You do have to kind of get over the weirdness of reading it, but since I am willing to make up songs and dances to get my kids dressed instead of arguing, I didn't really struggle with this.

Some aspects of the book were confusing and distracting to my 2 year old.  "Wait, I'm in the book?  Why am I with the rabbit?  Where is he, I don't see him here!"  I just gave him short, calm answers and kept reading.  I had to stop a few times to remind him that he had to stay laying comfortably in his bed. (I think I said it a few too many times since now he always tells me that he's laying 'comforably in his bed' whenever he lies down.

The first time I read it to my son, he had to pull out all of the stops to stay awake for the entire book and he crashed when I finished.  I've read it twice since and both times he feel asleep before the book ended.  It's nothing something I'd want to do every day (it's long and boring and frankly, I prefer to read him other books, most of the time!) but it's a great resource.  I'm hoping it will help with the upcoming paci transition!

Thursday, September 3, 2015

First day of Co-op Preschool!

It's School Time again!!  If you didn't read my last year's posts, we do a parent led co-op preschool in our neighborhood.  We meet once a week to give our at home kids some of the exposures and experiences they would have in a preschool or day care/group care setting.

I used the same schedule as last year.

Activity 1
Physical Activity
Activity 2

I tried something new with our circle time and did a welcome name song.  We sang "Where is (name)?" to the tune of Frere Jacques.  It was a little long, but I loved how excited each child seemed to be at the mention of their name.  We also practiced keeping a beat with percussion instruments.

Our updated circle time board has a spot for number and letter of the day, but we mostly just reviewed the weather and agenda and I started to lose the group, so off to our first activity!

Activity 1: Name Tracing!

My son is just learning to hold a pen and has tons of interest in tracing.  I made tracing sheets with each child's name.  I recently bought a laminator (I bought the AmazonBasics Thermal Laminator, it's not a new school year with out a new office tool!)  so I laminated each sheet and we used white board markers.  I love having different materials/pens/colors for Colin to practicing writing with and I know he'll need lots of practice writing his name,so it was perfect!  

Activity 2: Alphabet Hunt!

Toddler provided for scale! :) 

To break up our inside activities, I wrote a huge alphabet on my back patio.  Not everyone participated, but those that did ran around finding the letters in their names or other letters they recognized.  It should hold up pretty well on our patio, one of the few benefits of the draught, I suppose, so we can keep playing!

It was funny with my son, when he was looking at the letters upside down (like in the photo) he would turn his head sideways to decide what they were, I think it's a good sign that's hes starting to recognize the letters since he knew they were upside down, right?

Activity 3: First/Final Day Interview

For our last activity, I printed double sided sheets with a 1st day/final day of school interview.

preschool interview form first day of school questions
My plan is to keep these safely tucked away with our school supplies and then pull them back out and finish them at the end of the year.

I'm not sure if it was the extra child (we have 9 this year instead of 8), the siblings being older, or just first day excitement, but that was about all we could take!   I cut our closing circle short (much to Colin's frustration ("Why didn't you read the whole book, Mommy?? There are more words in there!")

Looking forward to another year of learning with our friends!