Our question this week was, “What are buildings made of?” We examined samples of flooring and each child shared with the class the characteristics. This allowed the students to learn the social rules of communicating. As each child spoke, we had to listen, be a polite audience, take turns, and speak so the listener understands. Some of the characteristics said were soft, hard, smooth, and flexible.
We also discussed, how other materials are used to build things. Using plastic cups and popsicle sticks, I asked the boys and girls to build a bridge like the one in our book The Three Billy Goats Gruff. Each child built a bridge to get the goats to the other side. You would have thought it was Christmas morning. They were so excited! Children solve problems by using available resources and materials to overcome obstacles and achieve goals. Positive evaluative feedback from adults helps children persist with difficult tasks.
After each child presented their bridge, we used the popsicle sticks to make stick letters. A young child's alphabet knowledge, especially their ability to rapidly name letters in random order, is a strong predictor of later reading, writing, and spelling ability.
Working on our fine motor skills, the boys and girls used sandpaper to make the wood smooth. As each student develops physically, they master increasingly sophisticated tasks and are able to meet more of their own physical needs, such as dressing themselves.
Another activity the children love to do is play in our sensory bin. Sensory bins are more than just fun, they’re an important part of any early childhood learning experience. When children can see, smell, touch, and even hear something, the learning experience is more meaningful to them, and therefore more effective. Sensory bins let a child explore, discover and create play using practical life skills (dumping, filling, scooping, measuring.) Through the use of sensory bins, valuable play skills are learned.
This week will be our last week to study buildings. We will be moving on to our recycling unit. I can’t wait for you to see the activities I’ve planned.