Craft stick road!

Craft sticks come in handy for so many fun projects!  Using them in the below provocation was nice to see, because I never know how a child will respond to a provocation.  I set up a piece of cloth to place the craft sticks onto and set out some fairies to catch the eye.  Then I waited to see if this was something that would be of interest or not.

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Sure enough my little student took to this right away!  The sticks were lined up and blocks were added along with a wide door.  Yes, if you were thinking, garage, you are right!  The fairies were moved up and out of the way because a moving tool car was headed inside!  We discovered that the rode was not stable and did move quite a bit, however, a moving road gave my student information about surfaces.  Roads should not jiggle and move about when a car is driving on top of them.  So the first words I heard were, “it’s not working!”.  We then had a discussion about why the road was moving and how we could make the road more stable.  We also discovered that with a little extra care, the tool car could drive on the road.  There had to be some acceptance that he road would move some.

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Children should be allowed to experiment in ways that are designed for discoveries.  This child is learning about gravity, stability, and movement through play.  Yes, this started out  as a simple provocation I set up to see what this child would do.  And I was happy to see my provocation gave way for a more complex form of play. I must also say that it would not have mattered to me if this child had not been inspired by this provocation.  Provocations are not meant to be things that a child has to engage in, they are set up to inspire and catch the attention of children with interests along the lines of the provocation topic.  This child has many different interests and all are equally important in the learning journey.  The school is set up and designed specifically for learning.

100_8830 The power of play in quality programs makes a huge impact on kindergarten and school readiness.

We do not need direct instruction and worksheets in early childhood learning environments in order for young children to learn and be ready for kindergarten.  We need learning environments that enable young children to do what they do naturally and developmentally, that is to have curiosity and be able to test their ideas.  Curiosity, questions, hands on ways to apply ideas, discoveries and integration of different content areas are all a natural and developmentally appropriate way for young minds to form strong foundations for all future brain development.   

Heidi Scott, BA & MIT  

The Marigold School of Early Learning

 

Creativity in Play

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Making use of the morning sunshine and warmer weather this past week, gave us an opportunity to bring some art expression outdoors.  I love being able to bring our art materials outside to use because it enables children to create in not only a different space, but one in which the natural light and fresh air can inspire and open the mind for more creativity.

Also being outdoors enabled me to set up a simple provocation with sticks.  I like to show young children that using natural materials found all around, can be of great use as well as conventional art tools.  Using materials that children do not often use to make pictures with is another way to open their minds and create new brain pathways for learning.  It all goes back to forming building blocks for a strong base for all future learning.

101_0314   101_0313  Tools never stop surprising us!  We found that if you put the flat shapes onto the screws and hold them with your fingers,  and turn them about, they become flying insects.  We made dragon flies and different kinds of butterflies!  Give it a try yourself!  We were able to dramatize and began a great dialogue between the bugs and the beginnings of a story emerged.  Integrating content areas into play happens naturally and purposefully.  Never take for granted the power of “play”.

101_0129  Cork shapes came in real handy this week!  I found these on sale super cheap and thought what a great addition to the program they would make.  And they were a hit!  It’s funny, because Einsteins’ gravitational theory has just popped into the news as being a great discovery of truth and when I looked at the pictures on-line, I noticed the concept of “round”.  The circles were the biggest hit followed second by the stars.  Space exploration may be next on our list.

101_0219  I have always incorporated sign language letters with teaching the alphabet and I love that there are so many wonderful ways to incorporate literacy into early learning.  Just as I did with the sand letters, I have set this provocation up for my class.  I am always thrilled when a child takes interest without my prompting.  This card with all of the letters signed has been of great use!  Signing reinforces and helps young concrete minds grasp the abstract concept of both letters and numbers.  Little fairies help attract a child’s eyes to the area as well.

101_0406  Tempera painting was super fun this week!  Painting is a must and a staple in the program.  The color and shape exploration along with the creativity and imagination really make painting a super charged learning experience.  Don’t be afraid of children getting messy.  Being messy is part of being a child and part of kinesthetically exploring and experiencing learning.  And you may be surprised because not all children get messy when they paint. Some preschool aged children are actually more coordinated in that arena than kindergarten or first grade children.  So please do not automatically think that young children are too uncoordinated to be neat. Genetics and environment play a huge role in this factor.

100_8035  The Marigold School of Early Learning is enrolling all this year, so please schedule a tour if you have a young three, four or five year old child and want a warm, natural and developmentally appropriate first learning experience for your child.  I am an experienced Teacher having taught for eighteen years.  I have a Bachelor’s in Human Development with a Focus on Early Childhood Education and a Master’s In Teaching.  Feel free to email or call any time.

Thank you for reading my blogs and have a wonderful day!

 

 

 

 

The Marigold School of Early Learning

100_9737  Outdoor exploration brought upon the discovery of fresh green moss from our lilac tree.  Small hands pulled piece after piece off the bark and quickly pushed the bundles into the bag.  Once inside those same small hands squished, pushed and continued the sensory experience started outdoors.  Nature is literally at our fingertips, so use what you have because an abundance of learning is within your reach.

101_0198  Provocations are set up with the intent to draw a child’s eye and watch what learning may occur.   As a three-year-old child looked at the picture, she immediately counted each stick individually; she did not notice the grouping.  How the child counted the sticks is how emergent curriculum develops.  Young children tell us what they understand and that gives me, the Teacher insight as to how to challenge them and further develop curriculum that supports their cognitive growth and development.

101_0250   An older box that gave me a flower years ago became our sensory box filled with a smaller box, a jar, a plastic cup, a wooden bowl, dried peas and rocks, and a few other items to inspire curiosity.  Recycle, reuse and save on resources each time you consider what you already have may be just the right usable learning tool or storage space.

  100_9997 Discovering that the sensory materials are layered with multiple textures and shapes inspired counting, sorting and shape exploration.  Standard shapes are not all of the shapes we learn about from our environments.  Kinesthetic/tactile learning experiences enrich young minds as they question and explore with their senses and discover knowledge.

   100_8570 Support young children’s need for sensory experiences by always having a wonderful tool as a staple, such as play-dough.  Pair it with dominoes and we have another item that can be used in a different way to enrich the learning journey.  We made holes by using the dominoes as stamps, buried the dominoes and counted the dots with no direct influence to do so.  A provocation is a piece of emergent curriculum tied directly to the interests of young minds.  Allow children to question, explore, experiment, manipulate, discover and create.  As a Teacher, I can support, assist, model, question and suggest.  All my efforts go towards furthering the cognitive development in young preschool aged minds.

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A fist full of vibrant colors is used in multiple ways, first to draw with all together, and second to continue sensory exploration of the concept “round”. Small details such as these make up the many building blocks of a strong foundation for future learning and school readiness.

2008-01-08 12.32.36  A child can delight in using a familiar sensory tool to explore and learn about scissors.  Play-dough is a safe way for young hands to use their sensory perception to fully grasp the meaning of how to cut with proper form.  Modeling safe use of this tool enables young minds and hands to continue exploring and experimenting with minimal frustrations.

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Rich, vibrant and lovely colors are a part of all early learning environments, and making your own water color paints is another way to use materials you may already have.  Painting is a strong staple and allows young children to color experiment, express feelings, ideas, thoughts and eventually real life experiences and made up stories.  Once again content areas are integrated into the fabric of all learning with an emergent program.

101_0277  If you want more opaque colors try incorporating another staple, tempera paint.  Experimenting with Valentine’s Day colors was not only enjoyable, but this child found how easy it can be to paint number ones across the paper! Pieces of artwork young hands and minds have created are packed with rich information about where the child is on the developmental continuum. Recognize the time, effort, energy and emotions young children put into their creative endeavors. Give them tools that allow them to be versatile with their creativity and you will discover how talented each child really is at this young age.

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Taking some time to follow the theory of “Loose Parts and Intelligent Play Things”, buttons and craft sticks have been a necessary part of the kitchen area for three months now.  Children’s imaginations are colorful, detailed and uninhibited, so provide materials that each can experiment with.  You will discover how unbiased and intelligent young children are when you allow the imagination to flow.

100_8789 Trains are of interest in this picture, and stacking trees to be taken to homes is important in this child’s mind.  Balance, motion, weight and the texture of surfaces were all aspects being investigated.  Transferring ideas from one tool to another is a sign of true learning, when understanding is emerging.  Questions and more questions pop into young minds once the wheels of understanding are being formed.

.100_9280 Colorful counters and buttons make an appearance in the kitchen pans.  Imagination leads children through open doors and windows.  Knock down the invisible road blocks for young children and allow them to use the tools they have in their environment to explore and discover learning!

100_9165 Lining up both rectangles and squares enabled this child to not only attempt a straight line, but to compare and contrast the shape differences and similarities.  Block play is essential and will grow with the child as his/ her mind expands and requires more challenges.

100_8807  Large motor and fine motor muscles at work here with oil pastels.  Incorporating different art mediums for young children to use allows more brain connections to be made about color and texture.  There are differences when drawing with crayon, markers and other art tools.  Those differences are sometimes small and sometimes large, and children notice them.  Appreciate young children’s need for art expression.  Artistic intelligence is a vehicle for all learning.

100_9370  Tools are for both girls and boys, just as blocks and cars are.  Do not let gender stereotypes prevent a child from learning.  All children should have the opportunity to explore and learn about the things we all use in our lives or use in our careers as adults.  Children have an innate and insatiable desire to understand, so make sure you put your daughters next to you as you do your son’s, when doing handy work with household tools.  (Of course make sure they are only next to you when it is safe for them.) 🙂

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I invite you to think about your young child’s first school experiences and email or call me for a tour.  Your young child will have an opportunity to grow and learn in a small home like environment where everything is designed for their specific needs.  Kindergarten readiness and being prepared for K-12 education is understandably on your mind, so allow your child to be ready with a program that supports the natural developmental path children take as they come to understand this world and their place in it.

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Email or call when you would like a tour. The Marigold School of Early Learning is a morning school that runs for the maximum of four hours Monday through Friday.  Why a four hour program instead of a two and a half or three hour program?  Because your child will benefit more from a program that enables plenty of time for exploration, inquiry and discovery within a play-based environment.   With a small class of no more that eight young students aged three to five M-F, your child will have more opportunities for one on one Teacher time, be able to gain vital social skills and an emergent curriculum will enable your child to learn at his or her own pace.  Come join our small community and grow with us!

Heidi Scott is an experienced Teacher with a Bachelor’s in Human Development with a Focus on Early Childhood Education and a Master’s Degree In Teaching grades preschool through eighth grade.

Take  a journey through my web site and Facebook page to learn more about my small school.  I look forward to meeting you all and building a strong community of early learners.

A Window into Early Literacy Development

Take a moment to peer into our window of early learning here at The Marigold School of Early Learning!  

Drawing is early writing.  Every time a young child of three, four and five picks up a crayon or pen they begin to draw their thoughts, ideas and feelings.  The “scribbles” we often see, and many have dismissed, is really a very important stage of early literacy development for all young children.  Support young minds by allowing them to have access to crayons, oil pastels, pens, markers, colored pencils, chalk and much more!  Allow art to be the medium in which a young mind can express feelings, understandings and curiosity.

100_8642   100_8277  The first two pictures you see are of a three year old child using crayons and oil pastels to express thoughts, ideas and feelings.  Joy is the one emotion that for sure comes to mind.

100_9593  100_8807  The next two pictures show not only vibrant color, but two hands in motion as “scribbles” are being created with excitement!  The one on the far left is more controlled with large round circles where the oil pastel did not leave the page until a color change was desired.  Large and fine motor skills are used along with hand and eye coordination skills.
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Experimentation with drawing occurs every time a child picks up a crayon and expresses his/ her feelings and thoughts.  Using two different art mediums helped this young child return to a project which caused the child to be more thoughtful about what she wanted to draw and the colors she wished to use.  Each drawing/ writing is unique to this child and unique in itself.  These early literacy works are examples of the varying thoughts and emotions running through the child’s mind as she was drawing/ writing.

    100_9508 100_9189  Writing on small, medium, large and even  shapes of paper or different textures of paper can help to stimulate internal motivation to draw/ write.  Different textures of writing surfaces give the child a chance to observe, feel and sense how to adjust his/ her fine motor movements in order for the drawing/ writing to come out the way they would like or close to it.  Many times there is no clear idea of what the drawing is, or if it is of an object, person, animal or place.  Only when the child has a clear idea of those things or if we, the adults have asked or suggested, does the child give thought to the concept of their drawing/ writing being something specific.

100_9849  100_9850  The two pictures to the left are clearly flowers.  This was a wonderful day in which I set up a provocation of a yellow rose along with paper and oil pastels.  The child decided on her own to compare the colors she wanted to use with the flower and the stem before she began to draw the actual flower.  From scribbles, to a clear and specific object!  This did not happen over night, but the right circumstances presented themselves to this child and she felt the need to create two lovely representations of the yellow rose.  The picture to the far left shows how she followed the path way the petals of a rose follow, and that is in a circular pattern.  The attention to detail came directly from a three year old child with no prompting from me, her Teacher.  

100_8627  101_0108 As children develop through the early literacy stage, which takes years, not months, days, or weeks to accomplish, scribbles become recognizable objects, and more interest is shown for actual writing and understanding letter symbols.  This child chose to explore the sand letters after I had put them away, thinking she was not interested.  Sand letters are a great tactile sensory experience and support the child’s journey to understanding what a letter symbol is and how it functions in the process of writing and reading.  Having multiple mediums for children to express the desire to scribble/ write is important.  I’m not a super fan of these little magnet sketch boards, yet they are the very thing this child loves to write on!  So providing things that children choose and enjoy using while learning is important to pay attention to.

101_0113   100_9774  Do not be afraid to allow young three, four and five year old children to use pens.  Young hands do very well with thin writing tools.  Leave the chubby markers and fat crayons for the youngest people who are still grasping and pinching.  Preschool aged children do not need direct instruction that is meant for k-12 school aged children.  So over use of the underdeveloped muscles in the wrists do not have a chance to happen when children can choose when to use these tools and how to use them.  As a Teacher, facilitator, mentor and support, my job is to model how I write properly, not force a child to do as I do.  Model how to write during “teachable moments”.   Teachable moments are times when you notice the child is interested in what you are doing and saying.  I don’t go over board with modeling or suggesting.  I observe the child as I model and suggest to gauge how interested or not interested he/ she is.  So always be aware that as a Teacher, you are not on stage addressing empty minds and simply filling them with your words and actions.  As a Teacher you are reading the behaviors, body language, and words of your students.  How much information and when to offer it to a child depends on how much interest that child has.  As a Teacher I am there for the child, to help him/ her learn at their own speed through the developmental journey.

I invite you to prepare your child for kindergarten readiness and for life long learning.  When you are ready to take the step into preschool life, please feel free to email or call me.  I would be happy to give you a tour of my small school and answer any questions you have on your mind about your child’s first school experiences.  

The Marigold School of Early Learning is a morning preschool designed specifically for young children ages three to five.  There are only eight spaces available each day because a small class size enables me to give your child the best early education possible. A play-based emergent curriculum inspired by the Reggio Emilia Approach to Education allows me to dive deeper into developing a curriculum tailored to your child’s specific needs.  So rest assured, your child’s educations is very important to me as well as you. 

Please share!

Heidi Scott, BA & MIT    The Marigold School of Early Learning! 🙂

 

 

 

Green Apple Cinnamon Play dough

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Apple cinnamon play dough not only smells good, but this batch turned out super smooth and very malleable! Notice the above picture is of a young child starting with a medium sized flat circle of dough and then following it are three small ones with the last being super large.  This child started each piece by rolling each into a ball and then using both elbows, flat hands and her stomach to smash the dough flat.  Comparing the size difference between circles was not a Teacher directed provocation.  This child chose on her own to compare the sizes of the five circles she made herself.  Each time a child creates or constructs he/ she is cognitively and physically forming knowledge about that object and shape.  The young mind takes into account the smell, color, texture and how this medium changes and in what ways.  What better way to really understand shapes than to actually create them from a material designed just for young hands and minds.
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The next day apple cinnamon play dough was of great interest again, but more use was made with the adjoining craft sticks.  This time following a similar theme as above, this child chose to line up the sticks side by side. Comparing the same size and shape of each stick was the purpose.  And it was entirely the child’s idea.  Compare and contrast is also a concept that neatly fits into shape building.  Children explore the world around them by using tactile senses, eyesight, hearing, and movement as well as oral and sign language.  The whole child is engaged and the whole mind constructs the building blocks necessary for further academic learning.

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Small hands formed the letter “O”.  This “O” is for now a representation of my name.  Yes, it is not a letter in my name, but it is a start!  Emergent curriculum happens when young minds show internal interest and motivation to understand.  My job is to make sure to support and draw out the knowledge from within and add to it as we go through our preschool journey.

 

Heidi Scott, The Marigold School of Early Learning