A Glimpse Into Pre-K Life at SJDS!

I can not believe that this is the last blog for this school year.  Big changes take place with social-emotional development in Pre-K. Part of my job as a teacher is to help students flourish through building relationships with others and interacting in groups.  My main goal is to create an environment in which children feel safe so they can participate actively in daily routines and experiences through hands-on learning. St. James is my passion and I absolutely love working at a school where religion is openly talked about and taught.  Looking through pictures of this year brought a huge smile to my face. We have laughed, cried, and shared many things together. We truly are a family!! I will miss this class, but look forward to seeing them on campus in August!

The slideshow is a glimpse into our Pre-K year…….enjoy!!

Tracy Jones
Tastings and Talent Show

We had a taste testing party to determine what were our favorite breads.  We tasted garlic bread, pita bread, Hawaiian rolls, cornbread, muffins, cinnamon raisin and blueberry bagels, croissants, biscuits, and vanilla brioche.  We voted after every tasting, tallied our answers, and the winners with a three-way tie were cinnamon raisin bagels, Hawaiian rolls, and the vanilla brioche!  

The PreK classes rocked their talent show.  I am so very proud of all the hard work the children put into this show.  There were moving parts, lines, and just walking up and introducing themselves to a gym full of people is amazing, but it's just what we do at St. James Day School. Thanks to all the parents who took time to decorate, it was absolutely beautiful.  

Tracy Jones
Bread and Easter Activities

Why are we investigating bread in PreK?  Bread is everywhere! Nearly every culture in the world eats some type of bread.  From a very young age, children may be offered a variety of types of breads at meals.

A study of bread provides children with an opportunity to learn how bread is made, the kinds of bread we eat, who works with bread, and how and when we eat bread.  

A study of bread encourages children to explore a familiar topic and allows them to gather information, solve problems, imagine, and think symbolically.  Children will explore different types of breads, investigate their characteristics, and learn how bread is made and served.

The children love having flour in our sensory bin!  Our homeliving center has transformed into Best Bread & Bistro.  I put out a loaf of bread and cookie cutters and you would have thought it was Christmas morning!!

We painted bread and toasted it for a snack.  Each child was given a piece of bread. I poured milk into four cups and added red, blue, green, and yellow food coloring.  The children had to take a paintbrush (unused) and paint designs on their bread. We toasted it in the toaster and they thought this was the coolest activity ever.

We made playdough! Activities like this are not only fun, but helps them understand comparison and measurement.  They understand that there are different ways of measuring. They are beginning to recognize the attributes of capacity (how much something holds).

We gathered the ingredients and measuring tools.  We read the recipe together and talked about which tools were needed to measure each ingredient.  We took a class vote and tallied our answers to see what color the playdough would be and blue won.  Each child was given a chance to measure, pour, scoop, or mix the ingredients.

The children sorted and graphed jelly beans!  We enjoyed a visit from the Easter bunny, had a blast hunting eggs despite the weather and enjoyed a great lunch. I am so thankful to be working at a school where religion is such a daily part of what we do.

Tracy Jones
Field trip, Measuring and Outdoor literacy activity

We took a field trip to The Shipping Post to celebrate the closing of our box study.  The children got to see first hand how to pack a box for shipping. Hannah, showed them how to put a box together, use special packing tape, measure correctly, and to top off the box with peanuts.  They were able to look at the different sizes of boxes and each child was given a piece of bubble wrap! A very special thank you to The Shipping Post and Hannah for taking time out of their busy day to show us around and allow us to come into their place of business.

We took two boxes out of our box store for an estimation and measurement activity using our linking cubes.  Young children frequently compare measurement as they interact. Young children experiment first by lining up objects, then they can begin to connect number to length as they use nonstandard measurement tools, e.g., links, blocks, rods.  

Mrs. Lisa and I took the PreK classes outdoors with sidewalk chalk for a letter and number review.  We called out the letter and number and they had to write it on the sidewalk. I was so pleased with how well they did and they thought this activity was so much fun!!  Activities like this are enhancing their knowledge of the alphabet. Young children’s alphabet knowledge, especially their ability to rapidly name letters and numerals in random order, is a strong predictor of later reading, writing, and spelling ability.

Tracy Jones
Box Study

Why are we investigating boxes in PreK?  Boxes are endlessly fascinating to young children.  Perhaps more than any other toy or game, boxes have the power to hold children’s attention and spark their imagination in astonishing ways.  Open-ended and plain, the humble cardboard box is so full of possibilities that most children cannot resist bending it to their will. For example, in the hands of a young child, a large appliance box has unlimited potential as a castle, a multilevel garage, a pirate’s ship, an ice cream shop, and a race car.  It takes children on amazing adventures and enables them to explore imaginary worlds.

A study of boxes builds on children’s natural curiosity and promotes important skills as children gather information, learn about the world around them, and solve problems.  Children will explore many types of boxes, investigate how they are made, observe people using them in different ways, and learn about the tools and equipment people use to move them.  

Our focus question this week was what can we do with boxes?  We had two teams (boys and girls) and each team had to take the boxes and come up with their very own creation.  The girls quickly decided upon a house with a chimney and each girl had their very own car to park in the garage!  The boys came together and decided to build The Tortuga from the Wild Kratts!! I thought each group worked together as a team and did a fabulous job.  

We did a cooperative painting using a TV box that was given to us.  Each child picked the color of paint they wanted to use and squirted it on paper taped to the box.  They had to all hold the box as I dropped balls onto the paper and figure out how to make the balls roll into the paint and around the paper.  This activity was SO. MUCH. FUN. The laughter that they shared while working together was contagious!

Both of these activities are teaching the children how important it is to establish and sustain positive relationships. Being able to establish caring relationships and to enter successfully into ongoing social interactions are essential skills for school and for success in life.  Play is an important context for developing close relationships. Creative learning activities such as fantasy play, block play, and open-ended art activities provide opportunities for children to build positive relationships with peers.

Tracy Jones