Water Music!

owen bowls

What could be more fun than playing in water on a hot summer day? Making music AND playing in water! I came across a video at Child’s Play Music and just had to try this with our children. We’re only on day two, but the activity is so open ended that I’m sure it will be out for the rest of the summer!

ellie glasses 1

bella squirt bottle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We began by rounding up all the colored plastic items we use for our light unit and put those in water tubs with some utensils including chopsticks and wooden spoons to use as strikers. The colors in the bright morning sun were beautiful and attracted the kids to the table.

green cups

owen pouring

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The children began exploring sounds by pouring water from different heights to hear loud and soft sounds as well as fast and slow sounds. They also learned about high and low sounds. They experimented making sounds with containers both above and below water. Comparisons were also made with filled and empty containers. Differences between metal, plastic, and wood sounds were also discovered.

group playing cups

owen lids

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Metal objects including pan lids and several sizes of mixing bowls were added to the table this morning. The children loved the sounds from the mixing bowls!

izzy

owen blue spoons

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m sure the children will make more discoveries about sound and water throughout the summer as we add other objects to the water center.

Little Pandas Preschool

Learning Chinese Characters at Preschool

3 part cards izzy

The preschool class is learning to read and write Chinese characters.   We’re beginning with numbers and then will progress to other simple characters.  A variety of methods are being used to facilitate learning.

The Montessori 3 part card method is being use to introduce the characters. Children are shown a whole card with a picture and the Chinese character beneath the picture. The whole cards are placed on the table and then matched with the corresponding pictures and characters.

3 part cards elijah

 

 

 

 

 

The iPad is being used as a tactile method to facilitate writing. Our Chinese teacher shows children the correct order in which to write the characters. Children then practice writing and can do the activity as many times as they want since the sheet can be erased and reused. Children’s work can then be shared with parents through email.

ipad 4 marcus

ipad 4 chase

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After completing the Montessori 3 part cards and the iPad exercises children are ready to write the characters on paper worksheets.

worksheet max

worksheet bella

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Little Pandas Preschool

A Whale of a Tale

Finished Bella

During January the children learned about cold climates and worked with the story “A Whale of a Tale” from Twenty Tellable Tales compiled by Margaret Read MacDonald.  This story originates from the Eskimos.  At the beginning of the month children looked at the globe to see where Eskimos live and then where they live.  Our class talked about weather and animals found in arctic climates.

Teachers told the story using flannelboard figures copied from prints in the book.  Children also learned Chinese vocabulary related to the story.

Flannel Board Figures

A winter painting was created to go along with the story.  Children were given a canvas on which to squirt dots of acrylic paint in cool colors to create a winter background.   

Paint Dots Group

Paint dots Marcus

The paints were then mixed to produce the background for the story figures to be printed onto.

Paint SpotsPainting 2

Misty-Jade and I made stamps from the story figures.  We traced the prints onto foam sheets, drew in the details, and then traced the details with an Exacto knife.

Story Figures 2Story Figures 3

 

 

Stamp pads were made using two layers of fabric interfacing cut into circles to fit inside a plastic picnic plate.  The fabric was soaked with water and then white acrylic paint was poured on top and spread out.

Stamp Pad

Set Up

Children stamped the figures onto their winter paintings.  After the paint dried the children applied a coat of Mod Podge diluted with water to the pictures.  Some irridescent glitter was sprinkled over the Mod Podge for snow.

Stamping

Last week the children retold the story during circle time using their pictures as a guide.   They were all able to include the Chinese vocabulary they had learned.

Finished MaxFinished IzzyFinished Elijah

Here is M’s rendition of the “Whale of a Tale!”

Little Pandas Preschool

Santa Handprints

8 finished hands

The children made Santa handprint ornaments to give to their parents for Christmas.  While searching the internet for gift ideas I came across two that we combined to make the finished product.  One site offered to make the Santas professionally from clay using a child’s handprint.  Then I found a recipe on Pinterest that uses cornstarch and baking soda to make a clay that looks like porcelain when it’s finished.  The clay was used to make beautiful Christmas ornaments, so I thought it would be perfect for the children’s gifts.

It took about two weeks to complete the project.  There was a lot of trial and error making the clay just right so that it wouldn’t crack while baking.  A few of the ornaments had to be made a couple times.  The teachers made the clay and then helped the children to press their hands into it.

1 kid print vivian

1 kid print ellie1 kid print izzy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Teachers cut the handprints out of the clay and then baked them for a couple hours before setting the prints out to dry.

2 unbaked handprint3 unbaked cutting out4 unbaked cut out

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s important that each child do as much of their own work as possible, so the toddlers painted their hands red.

5 painting tod seneca 25 painting tod owen 15 painting tod madelena 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The preschool class painted Santa’s hat.

6 painting red bella 16 painting red max 1

The beard was painted white, and then a teacher added the facial details.

7 painting white marcus 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The children and teachers are very pleased with the finished ornaments.

Little Pandas Preschool

December Activities

sensory tub

December has just begun and we’re all very busy!  The children have completed many activities already and there are so many more to do before Christmas vacation begins.

sensory group 2

 

 

 

 

 

The winter sensory tub (inspired by Teach Preschool) has been a big hit with all the children.  Even the adults can’t keep their hands out of it!  A tub was filled with plastic frosty snow.  Penguins and an iceberg from a game we have were added to the snow along with clear and blue acrylic ice cubes.  Some wood scoops and a couple wire Christmas ornaments were added.  The blue confetti snowflakes add some cool color to the tub.  We’ve had a couple incidents where the children have thrown the snow up to watch it fall, but who wouldn’t be tempted to do that?

pompom elijah 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The children continue to learn Chinese with Gao Laoshi and are beginning to learn to count to 20.  A couple felt Christmas trees were attached to the wall and velcroed pom poms  were set out in a dish.  This activity helps children to practice counting as well as learn Chinese color vocabulary.

chinese writing elijah 1

 

 

 

 

 

Gao Laoshi has started introducing some simple Chinese characters to the children.  They’re beginning to write numbers.

counting marcus 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Christmas shaped erasers have been set out at the math center for children to work on one-to-one correspondence.

popsicles max 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Colored craft sticks were also set out at the math table.  Velcro dots were attached to the ends on both sides so that the children can build geometric shapes  with them.

stones group 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A basket of clear and different shades of blue stones have been set out at the light table for children to build with.

fingerpaint groupfingerpaint seneca

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finger painting on foil was a new experience for all the kids.  They enjoyed seeing the shiny foil through the paint.

Little Pandas Preschool

Chinese Thanksgiving Vocabulary

During November the preschoolers  have been learning food related vocabulary with Gao, Laoshi.  Today they made a movie to show their parents.  The children were absolutely thrilled seeing themselves on video tape.

Here are some of the words the class learned this past month:

  • ji dan – eggs
  • ji tui – chicken drumstick
  • mian bao – bread
  • xiang jiao – banana
  • yu – fish
  • niu pai – beef
  • niu nai – milk
  • bing gan – crackers

Enjoy the video!

Little Pandas Preschool

Fall Votive Candle Holders

Many fall activities are happening in the preschool class.  Last week the children made beautiful votive candle holders for their families to use at Thanksgiving.  

Ball canning jars were painted with Mod Podge that was slightly thinned with some water.  This makes it easier for the children to paint the glue onto the jars.

The teachers cut leaves out of tissue paper in fall colors then the Children put them onto the jars.

Mod Podge was painted over the leaves.

I  love E’s focus and concentration.

Other fall activities include playing with pumpkin pie play dough, a turkey color matching activity at the light table, counting mini pumpkins while learning one t0 one correspondence, and learning Chinese food vocabulary with Gao Laoshi.  This week the preschool class will make pumpkin pies to share with their baby home friends and teachers.

Little Pandas Preschool

Halloween Silhouette Painting

Our preschool class made Halloween silhouette paintings last week.  The inspiration for this project can be found at That Artist Woman’s site.  Gail has many great ideas for elementary school art, many of which can be made doable with preschoolers.  This project took a week to complete.  A small piece was completed each day giving preschoolers ample time to do each step of the project well and not be overwhelmed with completing the entire project in one sitting.

We used water color paper that was taped to the table with blue painter’s tape to form a frame around the pictures.   The children used yellow and orange tempera paint cakes to paint the bottom third of the paper.

Red was added next.

Blue was added to the top of the paper.   The tempera paint cakes work like water colors and allow the colors to mix.  This was the first time I tried the paint cakes and love them!  I found a school supply store in Canada that carries 28 colors!  This is going to be my next purchase for the preschool.

The next day a contact paper mask was place over the top 3/4 of the picture.  The children painted the bottom 1/4 of the picture black.

Misty-Jade created black Halloween cut-outs for the children to paste over their paintings.   The pictures were then framed and put up on our new bulletin board.

 

This picture reminds me of the cyclone in the Wizard of Oz.

 

 

This was the first experience this group had using the tempera paint cakes.  Some of the children figured out how to make their paintings brighter by using less water and getting more paint onto the brush.

Little Pandas Preschool

Zoo Phonics Montessori Inspired Sand Paper Letters

Preschool is in full swing and the children are learning Zoo Phonics along with all the other activities they are engaged in.  Zoo Phonics letters are reviewed during circle time and then related activities are offered at the language arts table during center time.

I’ve been doing  some research about different early childhood programs and  have found some wonderful activities to do with kids.  One of the activities provided in Montessori programs is sand paper tracing letters.  I’m not really sure the idea originated with Montessori since I remember making them in one of my elementary education methods classes many years ago.  However, they are a staple teaching resource in Montessori programs.

The Zoo Phonics program teaches children lower case letters and their sounds using auditory, kinesthetic, and visual means.  The sand paper letters adds another sensory input for the child to learn the letters.  Children trace the letters with their finger while saying the letter’s sound.  Some sites I read state that children who use this method of learning letters also tend to develop good handwriting.

I found several sites that sell the sand paper letters, but I wanted some that support our Zoo Phonics curriculum so decided to make them.  The letters were printed, cut, then glued to a wood rectangle with a glue stick.  A Super Gel Pen Adhesive was used to trace the letters.  Red and blue sand was then sprinkled over the super glue.  A layer of Mod Podge was applied over the wood tile to hold the sand in place.  Montessori usually uses red for consonants and blue for vowels, so I used similar colors.  Zoo Phonics teaches children that vowels are the hardest workers, so children will begin to recognize vowels by the blue color.   All of the supplies to make the letters were purchased at Michaels.

Montessori uses moveable letters in their classroom in addition to the sand paper letters.  Moveable letters are individual letters Children use  to create words.  I’m making 6 sets of the sand paper letters which will also serve to be a moveable alphabet.  

Little Pandas Preschool

Preschoolers Create an iPad Book!

The preschool class is creating an iPad book which will be an ongoing project throughout the school year.   The book will include info from all the different topics the children will explore.

In September family pictures were added to the book.  Teachers ask children questions about the pictures in both English and Chinese.  These questions are typed onto the page and then the audio is recorded by the teachers.  Next the children’s recorded and type written responses are placed on the page.   The children can read the book during center time by touching the audio buttons.  It will also be shared with the group at circle time.

The iPad book can help children develop language skills as well as other concepts.      The audio buttons are placed next to the text, so the children will begin to understand that written words are related to spoken language.  They are also using the book to learn Chinese and I suspect the vocabulary retention rate will increase.

The possibilities for using the iPad book are endless!  This week pictures of the Halloween flannel board bats were added to the book.  The teachers and children then made recordings counting the bats in Chinese.   This helps to reinforce the concepts learned at circle time.  Pictures of classroom projects will be added to the book which will allow children to review previously learned material.  Children can also share important events in their lives such as birthdays, family vacations, and other events.

Another benefit the book offers is the one on one experience each child will receive while working with teachers.  This will allow the children to create closer bonds with teachers and at the same time may help teachers to understand where each child is developmentally and which skills may need extra practice.  It also has the potential of letting parents become more involved in their child’s classroom experience as they help their child choose pictures from home to share in the book.

We’re using Book Creator to write our book.  I’m sure as the year progresses we will find many creative ideas for our book.  I would love to see how other preschools are using the iPad in their classrooms.

Little Pandas Preschool