After a wonderful holiday break we have jumped right into a new study - Trees!
Trees are important for many reasons: They help us breathe, provide food, provide shelter, reduce soil erosion, and help reduce energy needs. Trees are everywhere around our campus, city and during this time of year they can even be found inside our homes.
So far we have talked about trees, compared our size to the size of many trees, taken a small tree hike, and collected different tree parts. In large group time we go through these tree parts and discuss them in multiple ways. We compare sizes of sticks, we count seeds, and we are even going to sort the tree parts (pre-math skills). I love bringing nature into the classroom and seeing how it benefits the children. One morning we even got to see a caterpillar who had hitched a ride on a seed one of the children had brought in for our collection. There's such a high level of curiosity in the children and they love hands on activities.
We have brought in reading by using a tree guide to look at the pictures of trees we don't have on our campus. We brought in animals and imaginary concepts by discussing a piece of a branch a beaver had chewed on. Next week we will have a visitor who will be discussing more on the role that trees play in the lives of animals. I can't wait to see what the children learn through this study!
This week we experienced the first day of December and it was a joy of mine to be able to start an advent study with the children. One of the things I love about St. James is the way we get to bring in the Bible for our study time. We sat in front of our Christmas tree with the lights on and discussed how Isaiah prophesied the coming of Christ, the light of the world. We sang this little light of mine and talked about how great it is to have light in the darkness. After reading out of the Bible and singing, we watercolored a candle to represent the light Jesus brought to the world. I am so excited to discuss more about this advent season with the children.
Along with starting a new study and starting our advent study we opened a new center this week. Our "Take a Break Center" is a safe area to go when we have overwhelming feelings. We read a book about anger and we discussed calming techniques. This center is a great way for us to explore how to regulate our own emotions, behaviors, and learn to take care of our own needs appropriately. This center even helps the children figured out what they need to do in order to return to the classroom...."Do they need to apologize to someone?" "Do they need to clean up a mess?" etc.
It's been so neat to see how we can mix the outside world, classroom environment, and the Bible to meet the objectives set out for our children's growth and development. During this weeks study we are meeting the following objectives:
- Social emotional objectives like participating cooperatively and constructively in group situations, balancing needs and rights of self and others.
- Language objectives like using language to express our thoughts and needs and expanding expressive vocabulary.
- Cognitive objectives like demonstrating positive approaches to learning, using classification skills and remembering and connecting experiences.
- Literacy like demonstrating phonological awareness (rhyme, alliteration), demonstrating knowledge of print and its uses, demonstrating emergent writing skills.
- Mathematics like using number concepts and operations, and comparing and measuring.
See you soon! Mrs. Sarah