Monday, September 28, 2009

Yes, Bubbles Anyone??

It seems like bubbles are the music that calms the beast... Did you ever give water, soap and something to make bubbles with to a little kid... it is magic!! I have been reading some of my favorite blogs and it seems they all have something about bubbles, I took their advice and put out a tray with a bowl, water cup, soap & a hand mixer!! It seems to be pretty popular, especially when a child needs a little a time alone or apart from the other kids. It seems to calm them... they kind of zone out while they twirl that hand mixer, watching the bubbles they create. I love watching them do this work. I can always sense when a child needs the calming effects of a water activity and help steer them to that work, and after they are finished they have a renewed sense of themselves. I love water and bubbles!!! Thanks to all the blogs out there who helped steer me to this activity!!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Week in Review

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We had a great week this week!! We had some yucky weather, but always found time to go outside and run around for a little while. We get muddy and dirty but we definitely had lots of fun.

We went to the nature area and picked out our tree to study the season's with. We explored apples & appleseed's. Learning about Johnny "Appleseed" Chapman was fun too!! The kids loved exploring the sensory table. We put in cornstarch, cinnamon & all spice. It smelled wonderful in our room and the kids loved making apple pies, apple cakes, & apple creations... didn't matter what it looked like, it was an apple-something.

The older-infants/toddlers spent some time with the preschoolers during "quiet work" time. They got to use some of the materials they don't usually get to play with... paint, markers, cornstarch... they had a blast!! They can't focus for very long, but boy when they do there is no stopping them. If they aren't done yet, forget it. They will sit there until THEY are good and ready to move on. Then when THEY are ready to move on... that's it!! Paint everywhere between the art table to the bathroom, move over kids... N & M coming through!! It was fun to observe and I am so glad they had so much fun!!!

Paint was our focus this week... we used it in a lot of projects and the kids are beginning to get used to it. It's slimy and some of the kids don't want to touch it, so we provided bushes, q-tips, and spoons to paint with... but thankfully they all ended up at least trying to use their hands and fingers when they made the apples for the apple trees!! I was very impressed!!

I think it was a great week... We will be visiting a farm next week, so we will be learning about farms, farm animals, & friendship!! I will provide some more open-ended activities where the kids can explore lots of different materials. Now... again... off to bed for me!!! I have a busy day tomorrow ;)

Friday, September 25, 2009

Nature, Autumn, Trees

Autumn is upon us!! I have talked about seasons with the kids, read books about the seasons, we do a weather chart everyday, where we talk about clothing, temperature, & climate... but the Season's are always elusive. I haven't found a concrete way of getting them to understand that there are 4 seasons, even if our winter is not really winter in my book :)...
So... my neighbor, Tracy, student taught last year and the teacher she worked with had this great idea to "adopt" a tree for the year. They pick one out, look at it, touch it, discuss & analyze it, photograph it, & draw it. I decided that this may be just the right thing for us. We have a small nature area in our community, within walking distance, where we can go and SEE first hand how the season's effect "our" tree. Since it was the first day of Autumn this past week, it was a perfect day to start.

Here is OUR tree... Very large, lots of leaves, & we can all get under it and make lots of wonderful memories there.

Hum... what could that green stuff be? Let's go find out....

We all decided to lie down on our backs and take a different look at our tree... What do you see??
Em: "Lot's of leaves"
B: "Yeah, I see leaves and branches"
R: "No, sticks. I see sticks and leaves"
It was nice to get a different perspective of something, that even at such a young age we take for granted the beauty of.

Here they are celebrating their tree... How exciting!
We continued talking about Autumn, how we think Our tree will change and why. We made our first of, I hope, many drawings of our tree. Next week, we will begin gathering the more factual information about our tree. What kind is it, how old do we think it is, what does it need to grow, etc... The kids are very excited to be outside, learn about this new tree, and about all the different things they find at the nature area. I am hoping this will help them to start getting acquainted with seasons... So when they go off to Kindergarten they can really start to make those connections that we have been paving the way for. I can't believe how big & smart they are becoming... but that's for another day!!! More photo's from our week later in the weekend... now off to bed!!!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Open Ended Activities

We have really been lucky to have some great people in our lives who donate some of the greatest stuff. My husbands Aunt Mary Ann sent me two boxes of craft materials that she wasn't using anymore and inside (among many wonderful things) was the biggest treat... Curious Bones!! I have never heard of them before, but they are great. The two that she sent were Under the Sea Creatures and Insect Creatures. I put them all in the Sensory Table and left it out to use at Quiet Work Time. It took a little while and a few, "What do we do with it?" but after a few of my own, "What do you want to do with it?" and "Whatever you want to do with it." The kids began picking the pieces up and exploring. We have a treasure in our classroom. The kids have really become creative at making some interesting and fun creations. Some are Under the Sea ideas, Insect Creatures, but most are just creations that are fun and exciting to show to friends and make up stories about. Thanks Aunt Mary Ann!!!

A Whatcha Macallit

Does any one know what this thing is called?? I went to TeriKidz Consignment sale on Sunday and found one of these on the table and thought... "Ah, for 2 bucks, the kids might like it in the Science Center" Well... Low and Behold they LOVED it. We have been using it every minute we get. We touch it, shake it, rub our hands on the pegs, push the pegs, put our faces in it, our hands, feet, knees... airplanes, Thomas the Train, you name it... we have probably tried to see what it looks like within the pegs. I thought it would be a good open-ended experiment for the kids, and even the school agers love it. The Before Schoolers come in and quietly go to the Math/Science Center and sit with it until more kids come and eventually a whole crowd is watching, calling out things that could be done and waiting for their turn. After school is the same, but they have to wait for the preschoolers to wake up... then they all watch to see if they can be the first one to get to it. It think it was a good purchase... even if it only lasts us this week before it breaks from the loving wear and tear of a popular daycare item... I know I got my money's worth already!!!


Monday, September 14, 2009

The Best Consignment Sale in Town!!

If you are looking for a great Consignment Sale in the Mooresville, NC area, I have one for you!!!
The Teri Kidz Consignment Sale is starting September 21st!! Below you will find the link to the best consignment sale around... you will find the best clothes, the greatest toys and everything in between. We outfit the kids for the school year, find toys for the daycare, and even sometimes find toys in such good condition we can wrap them up for Christmas (don't tell the kids please :)!)
But that is how good they check over their items they sell. It is also shows that they care enough that we get a good product... for a great price!!! Thanks Teri!!!

So head on over to Teri's website and find out all you need to know and see you there!!!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Week of 9/7/09

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow: Week of September 7th
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We had a really great week. We are getting back into the swing of working as a group and really learning and not just free playing all day :)

Although we love the open ended concept of our classroom... the kids love being able to take out work of their choice, art materials as they feel the need, & sitting with their friends at the book nook when they want... it seemed like we didn't have enough work on the shelf for the kids to be occupied for the whole "work" period. Beth and I decided to put our heads together and get some of our creative juices flowing. So we spent about 5 hours cleaning out the toys and work we aren't using or don't seem to be very interesting and putting out work that will meet our needs better.

We added a lot of math trays this week. The kids seem to be really interested in the concept of More & Less. So we have decided to add mostly counting trays to see if they have mastered the skills needed to move on to the next step. We will do some simple More or Less activities as a whole group at circle time.

We are doing B & F this week. So we bought a Beta Fish and an African dwarf Frog for the classroom. I want a bunny rabbit very badly, but I'm just not sure I can take that responsibility on right now. So we thought a Fish and Frog would be perfect. So this week we will work out a name for our new friends and graph and vote on the names. I am excited to introduce this concept, as we haven't done it at school as a formal lesson yet. We "vote" lots of times at lunch, who wants juice or milk for lunch, most hands win. The kids will "vote" twice most of the time... they just love raising their hands still at this point.

We added the Toddler Sensory table this past week. We added shredded paper, just to get the Toddlers used to it. Vacuuming up the paper was a lot easier than having sand or water every where. We will gradually work up to that. I have been on-line looking for some interesting sensory table options for the 1yr old/2yr old crowd. I want to introduce them to some interesting tactile experiences, but don't want to always use food or the boring shredded paper. So, if anyone has some ideas... I'd love to hear them. We thought about a little water and fish for this week... or some flour. I think they both would be fun for them. We will continue to search for the perfect sensory experiences for them... I'll let you know when we find them :)

We are still working out our Art area. I have always had paint, playdoh, crayons, water colors, etc... available all the time. It seems it has been quite messy lately, like the kids won't put things away properly, or use quite right. We will be going over some rules and lesson's on handling the work and putting things away properly when done. I work in a Good Shepherd Catechist class on Sundays, and I watched as the teacher went over all the rules today. She pain stakingly went through getting out the rugs, mats/trays, interrupting, and putting material away. She talked about not taking work off the shelf that you didn't have a lesson on and how to respectfully watch another child or teacher do a work. It was nice to have the refresher, I guess because I have these kids all year, I forget that when we make that transition into our "School Year" I need to go over all those rules again. I hope it helps the kids. I know they want to do the right thing and get upset when they feel like they haven't.

Have a great week!!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Start of a New Year

We had a great first couple of weeks. I took some photos of everything we did, then I realize I can't put 129 photos on the blog. I want to because we do so many great things... we finished putting our Red Hearts together with a hand print that we took the middle and ring finger and put them down so it looks like the hands are saying "I Love You" in Sign Language. We read "The Kissing Hand" by Audrey Penn. We thought this would be a great bulletin board (which I must get a photo for here) and it was.
We also made our own pizza, a school bus, did some transfer activities, easel painting, and that is just a few things :)
We spent a lot of time learning about our centers, how to use equipment, pulling material out and putting it away, and most of all... how to be a great friend. We know this will be a great year and the kids will have lots of fun... not even realize they are learning as much as they will be.

Mylo loves the Montessori activities

What 14 month old wouldn't love the easel??

The new listening center is a popular place!!

We have added the computer center into the mix... we have begun letting the kids use educational software for a short time during work time.

I love that the School Agers love the little guys... they love to play with them and the little ones love waiting for the kids to come home from school!! It is great to see their faces when they see the kids round the corner after they get off the bus.
I will have some more photos as we go along... I came home from traveling this weekend and wasn't able to organize as I want to... I'll get there :)

A Sleeping Child

A Sleeping Child

Our Little N has settled in nicely here at Kozy Kids!! He loves being like the "big" kids and sleeping on His Cot!! He finishes his lunch, puts his cup up on the counter, walks into the playroom over to his cot and settles in for a nice afternoon nap. We usually have to get him up to change his diaper, but he gives us a great big smile and comes with us and then back to the cot and a much needed rest. As you can see... A Sleeping Child is a Wonderful, Beautiful Moment.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Spin Art

We did this great Spin Art activity with the kids during our summer week... sorry I don't remember where I got the idea from, I do know I got it from a blog... maybe 1+1+1=1... not sure... anyway...
I decided to leave the activity out for the preschoolers to take a shot at it during center time, well they did a GREAT job!! They loved it and I loved that they had fun... well... something I learned... you MUST clean it out after each time. We forgot and we had a stinky, moldy mess!! It was just ONE day... I can't believe it, it was only one day and we forgot to rinse it out before everyone left, how it became such a mess, who know :) Well, now we know...

I am just glad they had fun...