Bread Study and Community Service

We have investigated bread!  Bread is everywhere.  Nearly every culture in the world eats some type of bread.   As we studied bread, we learned concepts and skills related to physical development, literacy, math, science, social studies, the arts, and technology.  We also developed thinking skills as we observed, investigated, asked questions, solved problems, made predictions, and tested our ideas.

We enjoyed making our own bread.  Making bread allows the children to demonstrate their knowledge of print by following a recipe.  Children see print in their homes, in their schools, on street signs, and elsewhere throughout their communities.  Knowledge of print and its uses includes understanding that print carries a message and that print is organized and read in particular ways.  Young children’s concepts about print are a good predictor of later reading, writing, and spelling ability.   Making our own bread also allowed them to compare and measure ingredients.  Preschool children understand that there are different ways of measuring.  They are beginning to recognize the attributes of length, height, width, capacity, and weight.   

One of the reasons I love teaching at St. James is the fact that I have the flexibility to allow a child to make breakfast for his friends. Colin, our guest chef, served chocolate chip waffles to his classmates and teachers……..priceless moment!  Who would not want this loving, nurturing and FUN environment for their child?  This is the prime example of building positive relationships with peers, which is so important in social-emotional development.

We celebrated our study of bread by taking a field trip to Be the Blessing Bakery.  The bakery is a program of the Randy Sams' Outreach Shelter. They provide jobs by employing individuals experiencing homelessness.  Cathy Smith, Bakery Program Director, taught our little ones the importance of wearing nets over their hair while cooking.  They were able to see how cupcakes are made and the ingredients used.  Each child took a turn at putting the batter into a muffin cup and then were able to decorate and eat their own creations!! 

 

Our community service project this fall was making decorations and cards for the Randy Sams Thanksgiving luncheon.  Both PreK classes joined together for this project.  Together we made 102 cards, and 130 placemats for the shelter.  Also, 216 tubes of toothpaste were generously donated by longtime St. James Day School supporter Andrew S. Curry, D.D.S.  Mrs. Jennifer Laurent, Executive Director of the Randy Sams Shelter, came to our classroom and talked to the children about the shelter, and picked up the decorations.

Tracy Jones
Happy Halloween!

Part of our community service in PreK is going to Opportunities, Inc., to sing halloween songs. These types of activities help with their social-emotional development.  The foundational skills for being a productive member of social and learning groups are established during the early childhood years, and they are important for early school success.  Children who are socially competent interpret social situations and match their behavior accordingly.  We have been practicing for about a month and the children did an outstanding job!

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After singing, we loaded up and headed over to the Curtis farm for a hayride, games, and lunch.  What a great way to establish and sustain positive relationships, and making and keeping friends.  Being able to establish caring relationships and to enter successfully into ongoing social interactions are essential skills for school and for success in life.  A very special thank you to the Curtis family for sharing their house with us.  The children had a great time!! 

After singing, we loaded up and headed over to the Curtis farm for a hayride, games, and lunch.  What a great way to establish and sustain positive relationships, and making and keeping friends.  Being able to establish caring relationships and to enter successfully into ongoing social interactions are essential skills for school and for success in life.  A very special thank you to the Curtis family for sharing their house with us.  The children had a great time!! 

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Tracy Jones
Ending of our pet study

What a great way to end our pet study by taking a field trip to DogPatch pet store!  I love being able to bring a study to life for the children.   They were able to pet a snake, puppies, iguana, rabbit, and a guinea pig.  A very special thank you to Mr. Braswell and his staff for letting us come into his store, and having lots of patience! In studying pets, we have learned concepts and skills in the areas of literacy, mathematics, science, social studies, the arts, and technology.  We developed thinking skills as we observed, investigated, asked questions, solved problems, made predictions, and tested our ideas.

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We focused on the letter T and number five this week.  We learned about Tom Tuttle using his timer and the sound it makes.  We added the words Tobi Lee, turtle, timer, and Townes to our word wall.  We made toothpick art, twizzler pets, and learned about the State of Texas.  We added telephones to our pet center, and built tall towers in the block center. 

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Piper’s dog Meggie, came for a morning visit, and Colin’s dog, Lovey, came for an afternoon visit dressed in a school uniform!

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In small group we worked with number cards.  The children were given cards with a numeral and its number word printed on one side.  They were instructed to use manipulatives to count out each quantity.  With this activity they are using number concepts and operations.  This is important because children’s understanding of counting, number symbols, and number operations are fundamental to their success with more complex mathematics.  To count well, children must learn one-to-one correspondence, i.e., that one number name is matched to a single object in a set being counted.

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Tracy Jones
Reading, Pets and P.E.

During library time on Monday, the 4th graders read to the class. Moments like this are one of the things that make me love St. James! Where else can you get this interaction with older peers? My class really looks up to the big kids and loves spending time with them. The simple act of having an older peer read to them is helping to establish and sustain positive relationships. The ability to enter successfully into ongoing social interactions is an important social skill. The preschooler who talks about friendships becomes a kindergartner who establishes and maintains relationships over time with special friends. Children’s ability to build positive relationships with peers affects their social competence, school adjustment, academic success, and mental health in adulthood.

We have had several pet visitors, and my little dog Holly, came for a visit on Friday. She is 13, and the children were so sweet and gentle with her. 

In PE this week we worked on our balancing skills. We are very fortunate to be able to participate in PE every day!! The children had to walk along a balance beam heel to toe and side to side. Balancing involves movement to help stabilize the body’s position when the person is not at rest. Children’s ability to balance affects their performance of gross-motor tasks. Appropriate instruction, practice, and safe materials and equipment are needed to help children improve their balancing skills.
 

savannah jarratt
Pet Study

We are studying pets! Why investigate pets? Pets are beloved parts of many families and classrooms. Young children love to watch their animal friends and imitate the animals’ movements, sounds, and expressions. Children will gather data, meet interesting people, explore a variety of materials used to care for pets, and create their own shelter or pet store. A study of pets also offers a meaningful way for children to use literacy, mathematics, the arts, and technology to investigate and represent their understanding of important concepts related to physical development, science, and social studies. 

PreK would like for you to meet our pet turtle, Sparkles. We voted on the name as a class, and had Sparkles, Sam, Rocket, and John to choose from. I took this opportunity to teach the children about tallying. I explained that tallying is a way to count. We discussed how tally marks look, and how to add up the totals for each name and then compare them. Children used number concepts and operations while doing this activity. Children’s understanding of counting, number symbols, and number operations are fundamental to their success with more complex mathematics. 

We have focused on the letter L and the number one this week. We talked about Leon the Lion, and the children came up with the words love, library, like and lion to add to our word wall. We learned what the number one looks like, what it’s name is, how to tally, and count it with counting sticks. We also learned that the number before it is zero and the number after it is two. 

The children worked on fine-motor strength and coordination by lacing. Hand and finger strength and control enable children to perform a variety of self-care tasks, such as eating, toileting, dressing, toothbrushing, and nose blowing. These skills give children the experience of doing things on their own and build confidence. PreK also took a walk over the campus picking up litter!

We made lemonade to enjoy at snack time. We gathered all of our ingredients and read the recipe chart together. Each child was given an opportunity to measure, pour, and mix ingredients. While the children enjoyed drinking the lemonade, we talked about where lemon trees grow and what’s inside a lemon, and that lemons are fruits. While doing this activity the children are listening to and understanding increasingly complex language. Children must be able to comprehend what they hear. Receptive language includes listening to, recognizing, and understanding the communication of others. To comprehend language, children must focus their attention and listen with a purpose.

savannah jarratt