Monday, August 3, 2020

Fighting Germs in Preschool

How hard is it to get young children to understand they need to cover their cough, washing their hands, cover their sneeze, etc....               

 Pretty Tough!!
😖
I have seen many adults that don't know to cover their mouth with their elbow versus their hands.  If a cough or sneeze is covered with your hand, then you touch a door knob, a keyboard of a check-in computer, or anything else someone else touches, VOILA!  Instant spread of germs and/or sickness!


Our four year-olds do pretty well with covering their cough or sneezes using their elbows or into their shirt collar. They also do well with the whole Blow, Toss, Wash, and Dry routine - Blow your nose, Toss tissue in trash, Wash your hands, Dry them off and put paper towel in trash. 

The almost three year-olds do well with the Blow, Toss, Wash, and Dry routine.  They are working on covering with their elbow every time they sneeze or cough, or coughing or sneezing into the collar of their shirt.

One and younger two year-olds, NOPE!  They just don't quite get it yet.  So, when they get a cold it just spreads.  As hard as we try to glove up and wipe as fast as we can, they touch the snot from runny nose before we get there.  Then we run them to the bathroom to wash.
So, you can see why we are focusing on Healthy Habits this week.  😷






Sunday, November 3, 2019

Outdoor Classrooms in Action

Nature Explore in Family Child Care

Nature Explore is an organization that promotes research based outdoor classrooms.  The idea of an Outdoor Classroom is that children learn best when allowed to experience things fully while learning.  The old sitting in a classroom learning doesn't work well for many children.  I was one that was constantly moving something.  I remember one time being observed by the teachers while on stage for Pilgrims and Indians play. Being an American Indian I was barefoot.  Wiggling as usual they noticed my toes wiggling around the chair leg.  They were laughing and noting that the Indians would have to have shoes on.  While that is funny as a teacher, I still remember it to this day.  I was embarrassed.  Usually I could wiggle my toes for something to wiggle because it is less distracting than other things like tapping on a desk, moving all around, or whatever.  That silly story being said, children need to be free to move as they learn and not feel judged.  They need to experience different textures, smells, sights, and even tastes.  We have mint and thyme that can be tasted if they wish.  Usually they go for the mint.  



As a nature explore certified outdoor classroom the outdoor area needs to be set up as if it were an indoor classroom.  Not meaning with shelving dividing areas, or carpeting, but having defined spaces to work/play.  For instance, you can use natural things like trees or bushes or planting beds to define areas, or maybe edging of some sort.  We use trees that were already in our outdoor area and bushes and planting area to define areas.  We have two copses of trees, one little garden area that the children call the forest due to the snowdrop bushes, and natural boundaries.  In one copse of trees we have dump trucks and an extra pile of mulch for the children to explore, dump, pour and push around.  They are going to play with mulch anyway so I gave them an outlet.  It's much better than throwing mulch and landing in someone's eyes.  In the other copse of of trees we have our music area in it and branching out from it.  The big block area is on one side of the dump truck area because it is good to drive the trucks on the logs as well as stack them or stand on them, etc.  The block table for small and medium tree cookies is on the other side of the copse of trees.  So, the group of trees holds one things, and creates a boundary for two other things.  
Big logs to move are great for those that need extra sensory input.
Nature blocks add more challenge to building




















The climbing area is in the back of the playground with a wonderful climber designed and built by my husband, assisted by our son.  It has a rock climbing wall, stairs, and a tire climber all to access the platform on the top and a slide.  Prior to this we had a plastic climber with slides.  Now this has more possibilities for play and more children can play at one time.  It also has enough space underneath that we added drums and other music items to play and sometimes it becomes a store counter.  

The spaces you might include in a nature classroom, just like you might have in a regular classroom, would be a music/movement area, blocks or building area, nature art or art area, water area, mud kitchen area, a dramatic play area, a reading area.  I have been seeing some really cute little houses kind of like a bird house, but it is enclosed and is for storing books.  I'm not sure that would work in our damp Florida outside area, but it is a great idea. For our reading area we use a simple small blanket and a cloth bag of books just set out on a shady grassy area.  It doubles as a safe place (place to calm down when overwhelmed).  The building area was already mentioned,  and the music area briefly.  The "forest" area has snowdrop bushes that are quite beautiful to look at as they turn pretty pinks and whites on the tops of the leaves at the top.  They are just tall enough to be just over the children, and their stems/trunks are thin enough that they can make them sway if they wish.  The wind chimes from the music area are spread over to the forest area even though it is divided by the trike trail.  Also, we just added River Rock Stepping Stones Pavers through the forest area for more sensory fun and exploration. 

Previously we had a fancy mud kitchen that looked like a little kitchen.  However, the ants decided to make a nest inside the plywood on the sides.  Now we have two stumps holding up a cedar live edge plank so the bugs won't like it.  Additionally I poured polyurethane on the cedar plank to protect the wood from the sun.  The mud is in a simple plastic long low container so the kiddos can mix the dirt with water to make mud, mix it for pies, cakes, or whatever they desire for pretend play.  Put in a few sticks and it becomes a birthday cake to share. So many possibilities. The dishes are in another bin for storage.  Both bins can store underneath the plank.  The mud kitchen is adjacent to the fairy house/play house which is simply made from branches we found and wove together.  They are tied at strategic places.  We decorate the branches with yarn of multiple colors, which we get to redecorate periodically as squirrels like to take our yarn for their homes.


Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Goldilocks and The Three Bears - including multicultural adaptations

More fairytales this week, and social stories of course.  The definition (Merriam-Webster) of a fairy tale is:  a story (as for children) involving fantastic forces and beings (such as fairies, wizards, and goblins).  Also a story in which improbable events lead to a happy ending.   I would add, summing up the other sources, that the fantastic forces and beings could be talking animals, princesses, imaginary beings and lands, and sometimes involve magic. With that being said, there are fairy tales from long ago, and some more recent.  

This week we have four different Goldilocks and the Three Bears, two are retellings of the story.  The Three Snow Bears is an arctic retellings, and Leola and the Honey Bears is an African retelling.  You may notice that Goldilocks and the Three Bears on the left, and The Three Snow Bears are both by Jan Brett. 😍 Love her illustrations!  I just purchased The Three Snow Bears this past weekend at Sams Club.  Could not pass up a Jan Brett book!  I was very excited when I realized it was an arctic retelling of Goldilocks and the Three Bears (yes, I have a book problem).  Can't have too many Jan Brett books!

Moving on.......
So this week we are reading the many versions of Goldilocks, The Fisherman and His Wife (be happy with what you have), The Three Billy Goats Gruff, and The Three Little Pigs.  We began the week with Alice The Fairy by David Shannon.  If you have never read this book you really must make time!  It gets the children's in a pretending frame of mind and ready to role play as temporary fairies. 

Our social stories begin every morning with "I Can Be A Super Friend" and "Tucker Turtle".  It has brought it back to focusing more on what we want to see and being a Super Friend.  Our social stories during story time this week are:  Grumpy Gloria, Ruby The Copycat, No More Hitting for Little Hamster, and The Worst Day of My Life Ever.  

We began this week with a field trip a local county park.  The kids call it the tree park.  Many wonderful trees to play under making it feel like we were in a forest.  It made a perfect place to read a story that takes place in a forest. Who said story time has to be at a story time carpet?  Love being outside!
The children really enjoyed playing, climbing, running, swinging, and challenging themselves at this fun playground.  I was really impressed with the tenacity of the two year olds in particular.  They did not give up and kept climbing and sliding on the tallest slide.  I was at the top helping them to make the transition to the platform for safety.  I had to tell them I needed a break.  😉 All of the children kept climbing, challenging themselves to reach that rope that was a little tall for them, or to climb the rubbery ramp at that tough angle.  So proud of these children for being so persistent.  What a great approach to learning!   










We returned from the park just in time to have lunch then rest time.  Since snack follows rest time, we made "magic wands" from paper towels right after snack time.  They decorated for so long, then turned me into a frog among other things. 😁  

Obviously we didn't have time for centers on Monday.  Today was a typical day so we had centers to work in and enjoy.  The one and two year olds today sat with the three and four/five year olds for Grumpy Gloria (story length was right), but went to the reading area in the playroom with Papa Joe to read The Three Snow Bears in a more direct fashion and to point out things like "bears" or "dogs", and saying the words.  The three/four/five year olds have more open ended comprehension questions to give more opportunity for thought.  Also, I knew they would want more information on polar bears so I threw in a book about polar bears and one about tracks in the snow.  We also talked about being content with what we have as we read the story The Fisherman and His Wife.  





 Not many pictures I could use today.  Our centers were fishing for letters (laundry basket boat) to make words (just mason jar lids with a couple of lakeshore fishing pole magnets) and making words from our CVC words for the week, coloring a flounder and gluing both eyes on top, working with playdoh (squishing, rolling, squeezing, etc.), and putting pom poms on the snowman to add together and put the magnetic number to solve the equation.  We are still using the wheat berries as a sensory/math experience, counting how many scoops it takes to fill the little bucket.  Fishing for letters was probably the favorite for the day. 



One of the distractions for the day was BOB.  BOB arrived Monday night and after plugging him in did a little cleaning.  He cleans periodically, but was definitely turned off for rest time.  The children were amazed at this little robot cleaning the floor.  Wally is just not sure about him yet. 😆
Tomorrow - Wednesday - we will begin using our Goldilocks activities from Cassie @ 3Dinosaurs.com.  Tons of fun coming the rest of the week!
 

Monday, January 15, 2018

Nursery Rhymes and Fairy Tale Activities

Are nursery rhymes and fairy tales just that?  What can we learn from fairy tales by engaging preschoolers in activities related to them?    That is what we are going to find out this week.  Check back in for more about this.

Monday we will be using the story Jack and the Bean Stalk to learn about being responsible, having integrity, and not talking to strangers.  We have a felt story to use during storytelling, then the children can use it during centers to re-enact the story.  The centers we will use Monday are a beanstalk game using dice to help the children learn a few sight words.  We also have a sight word word/picture matching game, and a marshmallow counting activity and will probably have some warm cocoa later in the morning just for fun since it is so cold.  We are going to be talking about subitize and practicing subitizing.  I have a little "fairy play" small world play ready to go during the day, and some fun, easy, activities.  Check in again soon to see pictures of children completing the activities.
 Fine motor happening in early morning.  Lacing mittens, and tracing and coloring hot cocoa picture.
Even though they loved using marshmallows, this is the first time we have used a problem and used a manipulative to go with it.  Usually we talk about it, but not mainly working from problem.  It was a little tough for them to understand.  We will definitely be using more like this.  We will have some warm cocoa with Snack today to go along with the cocoa math problems. :)
They have enjoyed working with the fairy play items.  We have to use a timer to allow everyone to get a turn.  Guess it is a hit!  We have a logic puzzle called Camelot in which you have to find a way for one person to get to the other.  We played this the same.  They have to find a way for the fairies to get to the fairy queen.  Play with this has many more options.  They can use any of the different parts for them to build a way to the queen.  Also, J said "well they have wings" so we had to go with "what if they don't want to use their wings?"
 These first two pictures are from Monday when they were simplying exploring and play with it.
 These two pictures are from Tuesday where they were building a way for the fairies to get to the fairy queen.


I didn't get any pictures of the children playing the Beanstalk game yet today.  This is our first official week reading sigh words more instead of working on mainly letters.  I think they are ready for it, but it was a bit challenging for some of them.  We also used these word and picture cards as a matching game.  See the pictures and say them, then read the cards and match with the correct picture.  A little tough, but enjoyed the happy smiles when they accomplished their three words. 😁

Today we read The Elves and the Shoemaker, and The Little Old Woman's Shoe.  So we used Legos to measure how long each child's shoe was (non-standard measurement).


 
Add caption









Fighting Germs in Preschool

How hard is it to get young children to understand they need to cover their cough, washing their hands, cover their sneeze, etc....         ...