As Time Goes By

It is amazing how much each child has changed over the span of a school year! We started the year with a group of children that did not know each other and now those children are great friends. It seems like just yesterday we were starting our Beginning of the Year unit and learning about the school rules. Now we are at the end of the school year.

As I look back I marvel at how each child enjoyed all our activities from each unit.  Each unit was full of hands on activities that encouraged class participation and increased social and physical development. All of the guest speakers, nature walks, fashion parade, holiday celebrations and the programs helped your child to become confident individuals. Watching the class learn letters and numbers is wonderful and important, but even more important is watching the class learn to share, take turns, follow instructions, work as a group, and be kind to each other.

As time goes by the sky is the limit for this class and their  future is bright at St. James Day School!

Tracy Jones
Reduce, Reuse and Recycle

Many items that we throw away can be reused or recycled. Paper, plastic, metal, and glass are filling our landfills and polluting our oceans. The past few weeks we  learned how to help our earth and use our classification skills at the same time. I asked our parents to bring in household items that could be recycled. It did not take long for our recycling tubs to be filled with plastic water bottles, metal cans, newspapers, and paper products. We had a blast with our classifying games! I put two hula hoops on the floor and I gathered several items for sorting. I filled one hula hoop with plastic and one with paper products, then I asked the class to determine my sorting rule.  After the class watched me sort a few times, it was their time to shine! We determined that we could classify big and small plastic bottles or paper and metal products.

After we sorted and classified, it was time for a few story problems. We were able to use our water bottles for simple addition , subtraction, and early division principles. Each child could not wait for their turn to act out a story problem. I created a math story problem and the children would act out the problems and solve them during circle time.

One problem for everyone is litter! I used a poem to explain the meaning of litter. Poems and rhymes enhance your child’s language development. The name of our poem was Litter Monster. The Litter Monster threw trash on the ground and made a mess everywhere he went. As the children listened to the poem they were able to understand increased complex language. After the poem we looked for a Litter Monster on our campus . We took a trash walk and we searched all around our woodland campus for litter. This class gathered trash and helped to keep our campus beautiful.

It is very important to teach children that some items can’t be recycled and things we can’t recycle need to be put in a trash can.

Art is explored in this class everyday, and I used this unit to teach the children about our earth. I pulled up pictures of the earth in outer space and the children were amazed! After we saw the pictures and looked at the globe in our class it was time to paint. Each child painted with green and blue paint to create their own earth. After the paint was dry the children had to tear forest green paper to place on their earth. We learned that the green paint represented the land and the blue paint represented the bodies of water that are on the earth. As we used mixed mediums for this project, your child was  building fine motor skills that will aid them in the future as they learn to write. We are very excited about our spring program and we can’t wait to show our parents our skills in math and language. Stay tuned as we continue on this exciting unit!

Tracy Jones

We are rolling right along with the ball unit! Our topics the past couple of weeks involved people who use balls, and the materials that make up balls. Construction crews use balls for demolition, and people use balls for sports and entertainment.  I took the class on a virtual field trip to a construction site to watch a steel wrecking ball demolish a building! We learned that people use balls for work and for play. One of the highlights of this unit was watching Mr. McWilliams juggle tennis balls for the class. We watched him juggle two balls and then three. I love to have parents in the classroom to share their talents. After we watched and learned about juggling, Mr. McWilliams gave each child their very own ball. A special thank you to our special visitor.      

A few of our favorite balls were made of plastic, rubber, and bubbles.  I used this unit to increase our gross motor skills with a balance activity. Each child had to balance a plastic ball on a wand. Balance and coordination activities helps each child to develop self-regulation for daily tasks.  Attention and concentration were maintained for a specific task during this game.

Mrs. Nicole let us borrow her reaction ball for a great class activity! Our reaction ball was made of rubber and it had knots all around it. As your child dropped the ball, it reacted differently every time. The reaction ball may bounce to the left or right. As we moved to catch the reaction ball we improved our eye-hand coordination and our reaction time.

Spring is a wonderful time of year for a science lesson!

I ordered caterpillars a few weeks ago and we have watched and waited for butterflies to emerge. We learned about the wonderful metamorphosis that occurs during the lifecycle of a butterfly. We learned that a metamorphosis takes place during the process from an immature form to an adult form in two or more distinct stages. It was wonderful to watch the miracle of nature.

Susannah Joyce

The ball unit has this class bouncing for joy! The past few weeks we have discussed types of balls that roll, bounce, and forces that make balls move. When it comes to bouncing a ball, we learned that balls made of air or rubber bounce the best.  We determined that heavy balls like a bowling ball are solid and have no space for air. One of our favorite balls was a bowling ball, which I used to teach a math lesson. I believe that each child must have a hands on experience to fully grasp the concepts of mathematics.  Each child had a blast as they counted the pins that were knocked down.

After they counted the pins that were knocked down they had to find the corresponding number card. The children worked in groups of two during this fabulous activity! On our way back from the library, we noticed a tetherball pole. The children had fun taking turns with the ball! This game was a great way to instill the value of taking a turn.  Each child was full of excitement as they played together.

After all of our ball fun, it was time for a little geometry. One of my favorite geometry lessons involves play-doh! We had a great time with the play-doh as we played a game with impressions. I showed the children four items and then I had them close their eyes. I picked one item and made a impression with it in the play-doh , then it was time for my students to guess which item I used to form the impression. The children had to choose between a paperclip, quarter, dime and a button. After I played, “Guess What,” with each child, it was time for them to make their own impressions. This lesson involved geometry as we matched shapes of the same size and orientation. We also used algebra as we identified objects as the same or different.

We ended the week bouncing for joy as we used bouncy balls to make patterns with colored balls. The class was thrilled to make AB, and ABC patterns!

Susannah Joyce

Buildings, Valentine’s Day, Grandparents’ Day and The Tooth Fairy , what a wonderful month! Our last topic had this class asking , “What happens inside of buildings?”  We closed our building unit with a tour of the rooms in our preschool building. The class toured classrooms, counted windows and doors, and discussed the features that make up our preschool. We discovered that each of our classrooms has four square windows and every  classroom has a closet that the teachers use for storing supplies. Mrs. Lisa let us in on a little puppet show fun in her class, and we were thrilled to see the exercise equipment in Mrs. Tracy’s room. A special thank you to my coworkers for letting us come in and explore each class. I can’t stress enough how important it is that your child is in an environment where the teachers help each other with studies.

Our Valentine Party was full of fun! We also had a chance to practice a little name recognition as we searched for our friend’s names and placed their valentines in their boxes. A special thank you to Mrs. McWilliams , she was our room mom for February and she furnished each child with a canvas and paints to form a masterpiece.

The Tooth Fairy stopped in for a visit! We were thrilled to learn how to care for our teeth. We learned to brush our teeth twice a day. Every special event is a learning opportunity as we classified and sorted foods that are good or bad for our teeth.  Our music class with Mrs. Tipton had each child hitting the bongo drums. We learned that the larger drum makes a different sound than the smaller drum.

We used our sensory motor skills in the block area as we built bridges. Each child had to reach for, grasp, and move blocks to form narrow and wide bridges. We had to problem solve, guess, and check to see if our cars and trucks would fit onto our bridges. We determined that our large truck would have to have a wide bridge.

One of our activities this week had this class searching the alphabet. We played Same Sound Sort. I placed items in a container that started with the same letter. I called the children up and they had to take the item out of the container and tell me the letter that the item started with. The snowman and the shamrock were big hits with our letter S. This game was fun because the children could not see what item they were pulling out until they had it in their hands.

I was very proud of my students during our Grandparents’ Day celebration. It was wonderful to watch the children sing for their grandparents! I was thrilled to meet everyone and I was very proud of the class. I know every grandparent was thrilled to come into the classroom and see all of our beautiful work, and I know the children were proud of their canvas paintings that went up for auction. Our next unit will have us bouncing for joy, as we learn about balls!

Susannah Joyce