More than just a strawberry

At age two, learning begins with real life experiences. Well actually, for all preschool age children learning begins with real life experiences but for a  two year old, real life experiences are a critical part of bringing authentic meaning into the learning and skill building process..

More than just a strawberry by Teach Preschool

My daughter has the most energy when it comes to giving my grandsons real life experiences. I like to tag along and take pictures and help out where I can. Today, we made our way to the strawberry patch…

More that just a strawberry by Teach Preschool

Kai already knew what a strawberry was but now he had the chance to see first hand and for the first time how a strawberry grows and how to pick it off the vine…

More that just a strawberry by Teach Preschool

And while picking strawberries, we were able to use words like “pick, pull, stem, leaf” and other words related to strawberries and the strawberry patch. As my grandson would pick a strawberry, he would immediately want to “open it” meaning take off the stem so he could eat it…

More that just a strawberry by Teach Preschool

And of course, a two year old is going to want to eat more than he actually puts in the box but we did manage to fill the box with enough strawberries to bring home for later…

More than just a strawberry by Teach Preschool

After we got home from the strawberry patch, mom got busy fixing dinner while I took Kai over to the classroom to make a paper strawberry…

More than just a strawberry by Teach Preschool

A paper strawberry isn’t nearly as interesting as a real strawberry but because we now had a connection to a real experience with strawberries, it was a good opportunity to introduce the concept of making something he now had an an immediate experience with…

More than just a strawberry by Teach Preschool

As I shared in my previous post, Kai has also already explored the use of glue just a bit. As soon as he saw the glue bottle go out on the table, he knew that he was going to get to squeeze that bottle and make the glue come out. I invited Kai to help me make a strawberry. As a reminder, I brought a few of our real strawberries over to the classroom with us to look at and talk about (and eat) as we made our paper strawberry…

More than just a strawberry by Teach Preschool

I showed Kai how to flip the paper over and pat it really good so the strawberry and the stem would stick to the white paper. I can tell you that each of these skills from dripping glue on the paper; flipping the paper over; patting the paper down; understanding that the glue will make the paper stick together; and painting fingerprints on the strawberry doesn’t have a lot of meaning to Kai yet but using the trip to the strawberry patch gave us the interest needed to “make a strawberry” which then allowed me to introduce these different skills and each of these processes will begin to make sense over time…

More than just a strawberry by Teach Preschool

And after we completed our strawberry, Kai knew that he had made it himself and mommy (or I) had a fun keepsake to save from our day at the strawberry patch…

More than just a strawberry by Teach Preschool

If I were to tell you the moral of this story, it would be to make sure you connect real life experiences with the ideas you plan for your classroom. It is for this reason, as a teacher, it is a good idea to find out what kinds of things children are doing at home. Did anyone go to the zoo lately? Did anyone go to the strawberry patch? As you can find out what types of experiences your students have spent time on with their families, then you can build on those experiences in the classroom too…

More than just a strawberry by Teach Preschool

Available on Amazon

Links to Grow On

Read and it and cook it  from Teach Preschool

Fourth of July Strawberries from Kids Activities Blog

Strawberry Week from Brenna Phillips

Tips for having a classroom visitor come to your preschool

We had our first “official” classroom visitor come to preschool last week.. Our visitor was Coyote Chris from Silly Safari and he came with a bunch of little critters – boy did our kids love it!…

Where will the visitor present and where will the children sit?

Since I had seen Chris share his critters before, I already knew how to prepare for Chris’s arrival.  First, I set out chairs for the children to sit in rather than having them sit on the floor.  Because Chris would be bringing animals, I wanted to be sure the children had a specific place to sit. I knew if they sat in chairs, they would be less likely to scoot closer and closer to Chris while he shared the animals. The chairs provided a boundary, if you will, for Chris to easily and safely share his animals with us…

Know what the visitor plans to bring and do…

I also knew that Chris would have lots of unique animals to pull out in front of the children.  It is a good idea to discuss with the children what to expect and what they should do (or not do) while the visitor is present. If you don’t know what the visitor is planning to talk about, bring, or do – be sure to ask your visitor some good questions ahead of time so you and your students are prepared…

Know how long the visitor will stay…

You want to know exactly what time the visitor will be arriving and approximately how long his presentation will be. This will help you know if you need to adjust your schedule for things like snack time or center time…

Know if the visitor has experience talking to young children

Chris speaks to early childhood groups all the time and he does a terrific job keeping children engaged and keeping things moving along. If your visitor is not skilled at speaking with preschoolers, chances are you will have to help him or her out. It is a good idea to get references from other programs, like yours, on the visitor if they are available. If references are not available, then be sure to ask the visitor what kind of experience he or she has in presenting or talking to young children…

Don’t make the children participate

A visitor can sometimes make young children a little uncomfortable at first. In this case, Chris was immediately liked by the children but some of his critters were a little less inviting.  Some of our children did not wish to touch the animals and we respected their wishes. Don’t coax or make a child do something out of their comfort zone when a visitor arrives. If a child wishes to be just an observer, rather than a participant, then let that be okay. On the other hand, we had other children that were more than happy to hold or pet the animals Chris brought with him…

Know how much the visitor will charge and have a check ready…

Chris makes a living out of visiting schools and sharing his animals, so naturally, his visit was not free. Make sure you are ready to pay the visitor before he or she leaves. Confirm the amount, time, and date of the visit before hand…

Do you need a permission slip?

And in some cases, you may need to send home permission slips informing parents of your visitor and making sure that there isn’t any reason a child should not take part in the presentation. Perhaps there is an allergy, or extreme fear of animals, or other issue. By sending home a permission slip, the parent can decide if they want their child to participate or not in the presentation…

Will you charge the parents a fee?

I know some childcare programs pass the cost of the visitor along to the parents. A visitor such as this is viewed just like a field trip would be viewed, only it would be referred to as an in-house field trip.  If you plan to pass the cost along to parents, then be sure to include that information in your permission form plenty early so parents have time to prepare…

Our first visitor was a great success! My students loved the animals and Chris did a wonderful job keeping his presentation fun, engaging, and age appropriate.  I hope you enjoyed our visitor today too and learned something in the process…

By | January 16th, 2012|Categories: Quick Tips for Preschool Teachers|Tags: , , , |9 Comments

Why reindeer should not go to preschool

Reindeer should not go to preschool…

Because they don’t know how to play…

They are fuzzy and smelly…

And they chew on our clothes…

And are a big distraction all day!

But the most important reason…

Is the mess they make on the floor…

So no matter what the season…

Don’t let a reindeer come in your preschool door!

LOL – we loved having the reindeer come and visit us at preschool today! Thank you Silly Safari for the very special treat!

Have an in-house field trip in your preschool

In-house field trips are a great alternative for programs who are unable to take their children on out of school field trips.

I happened by the school the day animal safari came for a visit. Because the animal folks came into the school, they were prepared to show the children each animal and in most cases, the children were allowed to touch the animals.

One of the nice things about an in-house field trip is that your students will be given special attention and more time to be engaged in the activity or presentation.

There are lots of ideas for in-house field trips you can consider. Some may cost money and others can be free. You just have to see who or what is in your community and ask.

Ideas to consider include…

  • Paid visitors such as story tellers, crafters, magicians, musicians, or animal handlers.
  • Community visitors such as a policeman, fireman, chef, or dentist.
  • Local groups such as your local high school cheerleaders, band members, or basketball team might come in to put on a little demonstration or offer up a little 1/2 hour coaching session.
  • Parents also can make great visitors as they bring in items or food from home to share their culture or career.

Be sure that your visitor…

  • Gives you a plan of events or presentation before coming.
  • Knows how to gear the presentation towards very young children.
  • Defines the expected length of the visit or presentation.
  • Is aware of the number of children you have that will be attending the presentation or event.
  • The amount of space they will need for the presentation or event.
  • The exact cost (if you are paying them) that they will be charging. Some charge per child.

Field Trip Notes

When our school has an in-house field trip, a permission note is sent out just like any other field trip. This is so parents will be informed of the event and be able to give a heads up to teachers if there are any concerns for such things as allergies or fear of animals.

Cost

In many cases, the parents pay a small fee to help offset the cost of an in-house field trip as well. Many times, parents would rather pay for a visitor to come to the school rather than pay for the children to be taken outside of the school.

Scheduling

Plan far enough in advance in scheduling. Visitors can get booked up and you will want them to come as an extention of your learning objectives. For example, if you are having a special emphasis on sports, this would be a good time to bring in a basket ball player!

By | August 27th, 2010|Categories: Fieldtrips|Tags: |0 Comments