Friday, October 28, 2011

Sensory Play

1:My boat is going down

2:Ice cream yellow ice cream

3:All water going down.

4:I filled my tray.

Preschool children learn through their five senses. As early childhood educators and parents it is our responsibility to create an environment where they can have ample opportunity to explore with their senses.  Sensory exploration is really important for children's social /emotional development. Children will learn better from their daily hands-on experiences, not just from academic lectures.

 Sensory exploration will give them opportunity to develop their fine motor skills needed for writing -they will learn to balance when they hold something.  Pouring and measuring will give them scientific and mathematics knowledge.  Playing with a group will help them to learn about problem solving and negotiate between each other. When they feel the the texture, smell or hear, they will learn to express their experiences with their verbal language and gesture. 

 These are messy activities and it may take some extra work to clean up,  but these are enjoyable and valuable educational moments for our preschool children. They enjoy playing with the water, sand and with the pine cones and more -so please give them opportunity to explore the world with hands-on activities.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

So Many Leaves

1:"I put my leaves on the sand"

2: "What a mess"

3:When M was cleaning the leaves, L wanted to help her.

4:S was so busy dumping all the leaves .

5:I found so many leaves.

Reflection:  Fall is the season for the children to explore the world differently.  Weather is gloomy and tricky as well.  Maple leaves were turning green to yellow and lastly red, and then time to fall down.  We wanted to encourage the children to have the sensory experience with the natural objects. We collected plenty of multicolored maple leaves and set them in our outdoor play area.  Most of the children were so excited to play with the leaves.  Some of them were enjoying to throw them, some of them were just touching them with their hands, and some of them wanted to hear the sounds of the crispy leaves when pressed with their shoes.  There were various types of dump trucks, dust pan and wheel barrow for their play with  as well. M decided to use the dust pan to clean all the leaves.

When A spread all the leaves on the ground-She just said--"Oh no what a mess" -.Two more children were join her to help the cleaning activity for a long time.  S chose the wheel barrow and gently picked lots of leaves in it and dumped the leaves out on the water table.  I was amazed to observe their perseverance and teamwork skills. They were calm when others were throwing the leaves, somehow they understood that those who were throwing the leaves were younger then them and were exploring the activity in their on way. Children were engaged with this activity for the entire outdoor time without any interruption.

B.C Early Learning Frame work :
Understand fairness both for themselves and others: When children were playing with the fall leaves Younger children were enjoying to throw the leaves on the ground. Although some of the children were cleaning the leaves, they still continued their cleaning activity with lots of patience.  Alhamdulillah it was nice to observe that children were helping each othe to clean and dump all the leaves.

Develop a sense of wonder for natural environments: There were various shapes and colored maple leaves we provided for their free play.  Children were touching the leaves, dumping, throwing, spreading and cleaning.  They were creative and independent using the natural material.  They had lots of time and various types of material as well to interact with the objects.

Positive Behaviour

Some useful tips for our parents :

1. Children do as you do. Your child watches you to get clues on how to behave in the world. You’re her role model, so use your own behaviour to guide her. What you do is often much more important than what you say. If you want your child to say ‘please’, say it yourself. If you don’t want your child to raise her voice, speak quietly and gently yourself.
2. Show your child how you feel. Tell him honestly how his behaviour affects you. This will help him see his her own feelings in yours, like a mirror. This is called empathy. By the age of three, children can show real empathy. So you might say, ‘I’m getting upset because there is so much noise I can’t talk on the phone’. When you start the sentence with ‘I’, it gives your child the chance to see things from your perspective.
3. Catch her being ‘good’. This simply means that when your child is behaving in a way you like, you can give her some positive feedback. For example, ‘Wow, you are playing so nicely. I really like the way you are keeping all the blocks on the table’. This works better than waiting for the blocks to come crashing to the floor before you take notice and bark, ‘Hey, stop that’. This positive feedback is sometimes called ‘descriptive praise’. Try to say six positive comments (praise and encouragement) for every negative comment (criticisms and reprimands). The 6-1 ratio keeps things in balance. Remember that if children have a choice only between no attention or negative attention, they will seek out negative attention.
4. Get down to your child’s level. Kneeling or squatting down next to children is a very powerful tool for communicating positively with them. Getting close allows you to tune in to what they might be feeling or thinking. It also helps them focus on what you are saying or asking for. If you are close to your child and have his attention, there is no need to make him look at you.
5. ‘I hear you.’ Active listening is another tool for helping young children cope with their emotions. They tend to get frustrated a lot, especially if they can’t express themselves well enough verbally. When you repeat back to them what you think they might be feeling, it helps to relieve some of their tension. It also makes them feel respected and comforted. It can diffuse many potential temper tantrums.
6. Keep promises. Stick to agreements. When you follow through on your promises, good or bad, your child learns to trust and respect you. So when you promise to go for a walk after she picks up her toys, make sure you have your walking shoes handy. When you say you will leave the library if she doesn’t stop running around, be prepared to leave straight away. No need to make a fuss about it – the more matter of fact, the better. This helps your child feel more secure, because it creates a consistent and predictable environment.
7. Reduce temptation. Your glasses look like so much fun to play with – it’s hard for children to remember not to touch. Reduce the chance for innocent but costly exploration by keeping that stuff out of sight.
8. Choose your battles. Before you get involved in anything your child is doing – especially to say ‘no’ or ‘stop’ – ask yourself if it really matters. By keeping instructions, requests and negative feedback to a minimum, you create less opportunity for conflict and bad feelings. Rules are important, but use them only when it’s really important.
9. Whining: be strong. Kids don’t want to be annoying. By giving in when they’re whinging for something, we train them to do it more – even if we don’t mean to. ‘No’ means ‘no’, not maybe, so don’t say it unless you mean it. If you say ‘no’ and then give in, children will be whine even more the next time, hoping to get lucky again.
10. Keep it simple and positive. If you can give clear instructions in simple terms, your child will know what is expected of him. (‘Please hold my hand when we cross the road.’) Stating things in a positive way gets their heads thinking in the right direction. For example, ‘Please shut the gate’ is better than ‘Don't leave the gate open’.
11. Responsibility and consequences. As children get older, you can give them more responsibility for their own behaviour. You can also give them the chance to experience the natural consequences of that behaviour. You don’t have to be the bad guy all the time. For example, if your child forgot to put her lunch box in her bag, she will go hungry at lunch time. It is her hunger and her consequence. It won’t hurt her to go hungry just that one time. Sometimes, with the best intentions, we do so much for our children that we don’t allow them to learn for themselves. At other times you need to provide consequences for unacceptable or dangerous behaviour. For these times, it is best to ensure that you have explained the consequences and that your children have agreed to them in advance.
12. Say it once and move on. It is surprising how much your child is listening even though he might not have the social maturity to tell you. Nagging and criticising is boring for you and doesn’t work. Your child will just end up tuning you out and wonder why you get more upset. If you want to give him one last chance to cooperate, remind him of the consequences for not cooperating. Then start counting to three.
13. Make your child feel important. Children love it when they can contribute to the family. Start introducing some simple chores or things that she can do to play her own important part in helping the household. This will make her feel important and she’ll take pride in helping out. If you can give your child lots of practice doing a chore, she will get better at it and will keep trying harder. Safe chores help children feel responsible, build their self-esteem and help you out too.
14. Prepare for challenging situations. There are times when looking after your child and doing things you need to do will be tricky. If you think about these challenging situations in advance, you can plan around your child’s needs. Give him a five-minute warning before you need him to change activities. Talk to him about why you need his cooperation. Then he is prepared for what you expect.
15. Maintain a sense of humour. Another way of diffusing tension and possible conflict is to use humour and fun. You can pretend to become the menacing tickle monster or make animal noises. But humour at your child’s expense won't help. Young children are easily hurt by parental ‘teasing’. Humour that has you both laughing is great.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

It's Like a Jungle

Children were using all the farm animals and wild animal on the floor with the farm and all wooden block for a week. I got a gift from my friends, wrapped with all the green paper grass and a beautiful wooden frame.  I thought it would be great if I can add it for my preschool children to explore. I spread all the grass in our beautiful clear water table and put the wooden frame with crystal marbles and the crocodile and duck.

 I assumed that children will have fun and be involved with this activity for a long time. I was astonished to observe how very excited and creative they can be with only this little added material. At the beginning they all wanted to explore the grass with their senses. I was amazed to hear all the vocabulary from the children.  One of the child said-"oh not its too soft." Another one ,"its like a noodle." Some of them were sharing that they have grass in their backyards. They wanted to feed grass to the cow. Some of them helped the animals to drink water from the pond(wooden box).They all were interacting with the material for more then 20 minutes. 

Later, some children decided to move the grass beside our glass window.We are blessed to have a beautiful natural scenario to look at from our classroom window.  When children placed some grasses and wild animals with blue marvels, it was looking amazing. I was so full of joy to notice our young people's wondrous creativity. One child told me "sister Fatima -It's like a jungle -I make a jungle."  Other children join there and shared their idea about what happens in the jungle.  What kind of animal they saw-.  

Preschool children do not need expensive material to be engaged- they can have fun and learning with any simple material around us.  Recycling things, few colorful scarves or just some leaves and acorn can be their best friend.  The learning and possibilities are endless, alhamdulillah. 

B.C Early Learning Frame Work:

Feel valued for and explore their own strategies for their learning: Children were having uninterrupted play time. We always focus on children's interests. We always give time to the children to accomplish their activity. It is really upsetting for the children when they are deeply engage with an activity and adults interrupt their learning to make them join another activity. They have their own style of playing, as an adult we need to create the environment where they can explore and invent -so that they will feel respected.

Build, create, and designing different materials and techniques:  Children had the opportunity to explore and creative with the material. They were using the grass in the water table and then they wanted to place it besides the window. Some of them spread it on the floor as well. After their exploration, they used the broom and brush to sweep the floor. They are our designers, helpers and sometimes little coordinators as well. They give us clues about what we need to provide for their activity- in order to build their development and meet their educational needs. 

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Dear Mom and Dad

Dear Mom and Dad, 
It may not look like much, but my scribbles are very important!  Scribbling is the first step in learning to write, 
and I am developing the muscles I will need to hold a pencil! 
Sometimes a scribble is not just a scribble! 
Your Child

Stages of Art Development:

Stage One:  Manipulative 
Random attempts to manipulate various materials – scribbling, thick sweeps of paint strokes, pounding and squeezing of clay.  Typically seen in children under 4 years, with focus on experiential and tactile. 

Stage Two:  Patterning/Design
Typically develops by age 4, experimentation with beginning to master materials. Children discovering lines, shapes, dots, spaces, and patterns. 

Stage Three:  Naming/Symbolic
Children able to make models or pictures representing things, often with object in mind as they begin the process.

Stage Four:  Representation
Develops around age 5 or 6, with children’s art actually resembling objects represented.  Initially many details missing, with more detail as skill level and motor control develop. 

Open-ended Art:
(Open-ended art is about the experience of creating and exploring the material, not just the end product.)

1.   Provides a means of communication and  
2.   Serves as an emotional release 
3.   Heightens aesthetic awareness and sensitivity 
4.   Develops and promotes creative thinking 
5.   Develops an appreciation for individuality 
6.   Serves as a balance in classroom activities 
7.   Assists in the development of physical 
8.   Strengthens self-concept and self confidence 
9.   Increases self understanding 
10. Enhances the ability to visualize 
11. Helps develop fine motor skills 
12. Provides opportunities for problem-  
      solving and decision making 
13. Provides insight and assists the adult in  
      understanding the child 
14. Develops self-help skills 
15. Illustrates cause and effect

Friday, October 7, 2011

News Letter

Assalmualikum dear parents

Mashaallah, September has gone so quickly and the children have done very well. We were focusing on hand-washing, following the schedule with transitions rhymes and developing the self help skills, for example: How to put on their own jacket and shoes etc. Alhamdulliah, most of the children are doing fine and adjusting well to our classroom routine. It is amazing to observe the children having a lot of enjoyment with us.

 During our group time we introduced books, felt stories, finger plays and various types of movement. Our classroom has science, art, dramatic and math activity as well. Our program is not theme based –we were focusing on children’s interests –based on their interest, we were continuing with the nature (farm/wild animals, fall leaves and various types of art activities.

EID UL ADHA and Hajj is coming Inshallaah –so this coming month they will be learn about Hajj and Eid ul adha. We will still continue the daily life dua (what to say before you eat, etc.) and other activity as well. We have learned and will continue to learn many new things.

Parents- please remember to sign your child in and out every day, it is required by licensing.

October is sure to bring a lot of fun insha’allah, we look forward to an exciting month.

Thank you,



Sprouts of Iman

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Look I Found a Heart --

Its not grass--cows eat grass only

I have orange and red leaf --so many lines

Look I found a heart

                                                   My cow is sick--I need to give some leaves

Reflection: I collected some maple leaves from my neighborhood--all leaves are aesthetically beautiful-some of them are deep red, some are green and yellow, and some are mixed with various colors and shapes. I thought it was a good idea to add it for my preschool to do their science experiment. The room already has been set with wild and domestic animals--adding fall leaves can make this more interesting for the children. I set the table with maple leaves, magnifying glasses and also with pine cones-so that they have opportunity to compare whether it is soft or hard, smooth or rough texture.

When I invited the children to investigate, I told them where I found the leaves and what the name of the leaves are. They started to share their experience about what they saw when they were outside--One of the child said--I saw lots of yellow leaves--I want to take it --I said you will walk with your mummy, maybe take a basket and collect some leaves .Two children took the magnifying glasses and describing what they have seen.

It was so amazing for me to observe when one child brought a cow on the science table from another corner of the class room, following that child another child also chose a giraffe--They were feeding the animal and sharing their ideas about how to take care of their animals. One suggested how to do the treatment because the cow was sick and the medicine was leaves(We had just read the story "the hungry caterpillar"). All of them were sharing thier thoughts, concern and their imagination about  how does the leaf look like.  Which leaf they really like.

Some simple leaves brought so many new vocabulary words and excitement in our preschool!

1: Exploration and creativity: Our science table was filled with various sizes and colors of maple leaves and with some magnifying glasses.Children brought animal onto the table and it was a social and dramatic experience for me to observe . They were creative and enhanced their imagination with animals and taking care of them. Some of them were thinking that cows need grass not leaves, at the same time another child was thinking the cow is sick --it may eat leaf to be cured .

2: Feel valued for and explore their own strategies for learning:  Children were exploring the material without any interruption. Adults were present there for scaffolding as needed. Sometimes teachers helped children to expand their vocabulary and language skills. Sometimes teachers guided children for their safety. Children were using all the materials and chose their own style to play with it.