Dress for the Weather

Just a reminder for all of the families out there with young children.  You probably already know this information, but I always like reminders.

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*Remember that small, young children warm up quickly indoors and cool off even quicker outdoors.  Keep your child bundled from head to toe literally.  

  • Have your young child wear a warm hat to prevent heat loss from the top of their heads
  • ear muffs to protect their little ears from the cold
  • mittens to keep their tiny hands and fingers warm
  • a child size scarf around their necks to prevent the cool air from getting inside their shirts
  • a warm coat to keep their body heat in
  • and thick warm socks for their feet.
  • rain-boots or other boots that are well insulated and have good traction will also prevent heat loss from their feet.
  •  Also make sure their shirts and pants are thicker for these colder months.  The outerwear is great, but regular clothes should not be the same as what they wear during the summer months.
  • When your young child comes back indoors make sure all of the outdoor warm clothes come off so the indoor heat can reach their bodies and they can acclimate to the warmer indoor environment.  

*Also make sure to hydrate your young child.  We often forget to drink as much water as we do in the warmer months.  Children need to keep hydrated year round, so make sure you encourage them to drink water, juice, milk and yes, hot cocoa! 🙂

 

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

Play Based Learning

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Cars and Blocks! 🙂  A three year old child decided that cars and blocks go nicely together and so began construction of a large one story building and some nice parking spots for cars.  And some cars park upside down. 

2008-01-01 12.34.42  I absolutely love how this child decided the parking spots should be on tall polls!  What do you think, is this the future of parking?  Maybe when cars fly like on the “Jetsons”? 🙂  Again mathematics and yes, physics are happening here.  This child put those cars on the pulls many times because gravity and balance claimed them.  Finally with much persistence they stayed put.  

2008-01-08 12.32.22 Moving along from cars and blocks, we find that using scissors to cut play dough is a great way to practice proper form and to strengthen our fine motor skills. This child follows a normal developmental pattern of going back and forth between using two hands to open and close the scissors and using one hand to cut and one to hold the object needing cutting.  As a mentor and guide in this situation, I modeled it once and let her try.  I encouraged her to keep trying when she felt it was too hard.  And she did wonderfully on her own! 🙂  The next time we used scissors for paper and for play dough she allowed me to model it once and she tried it until she felt satisfied.  

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

 

Come join us at The Marigold School of Early Learning!  We would love to play with new friends and together plan many exciting and new projects!

Following the Interest of a Child

Before we went on winter break I captured these pictures from the morning preschool sessions. 🙂

 

2015-12-08 08.08.34 Using puzzle pieces and a small wooden bowl I set up a provocation for the morning. 🙂

2015-12-08 08.08.50  Here is  a small example of emergent curriculum.  I based this provocation off of what I saw happening in class.  The week before a three year old child used dominoes and cars to create pictures, so I thought why not try the same idea using puzzle pieces.  Again, I do not expect and am not crushed if a child does not take interest in a provocation, it is a learning process for both myself and the students.

2008-01-07 13.12.45  What ended up happening is the puzzle pieces were moved to a piece of fabric in the Reading Corner and buttons were added to the bowl.  And that is when a child’s imagination took over! 🙂  The puzzle pieces and buttons became cat food!  And as I was documenting this emergent process I also observed a strong interest in cats.  This particular child has a pet cat, so no surprise with the interest.  This is leading me to adding a few more cat books to our Reading Corner and non-fiction ones as well.  

school pics 023  Here is an example of  little bear and a cat book.  Since interest in cat behavior is showing up in play so strongly, I am going to incorporate facts about cats and see what types of provocations I can set up to entice young children’s interests in cats or other animals.  The content areas that will be covered will include literacy, art, and science.  How interested the children are in the topic will determine how deep we go into the content areas, but I can tell you from years of experience that when young children are interested in a topic, deep and meaningful learning experiences are the result.  And the wonderful thing about it is that is all stems from the children and is not topics forced onto them by the Teacher. 🙂

Heidi Scott, BA & MIT

The Marigold School of Early Learning

Provocation and a Child’s Interest

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I’ve talked before about how young children sometimes will be curious about a provocation or not.  I’ve also talked about how using the materials you have is a great way to incorporate recycling into your curriculum.  Above I had set up a small provocation using boxes, blocks and wooden dolls, our fairies.  And I used a piece of fabric to place them all onto.  I had no idea if this would be an interest or not, but I tried anyway.  

It turned out that one of my students chose to remove the blocks from the table and take them to the construction/ block interest area to build with.  The boxes, dolls and fabric were all left behind.  So I decided to follow this child and put the boxes and dolls in the construction/ block area too.  At first block building dominated and no interaction with the dolls took place.  However, just as I was about to give up on my provocation entirely, this student decided the dolls needed furniture. 🙂

2008-01-01 12.27.51  It turns out that the provocation wasn’t a fail as I thought it was.  This child made it her own and took it in the direction she wanted.  She moved the blocks to an area she could build, then she used the blocks to make furniture for the dolls.  She explored, constructed and planned using her own timing and ideas.  I mentioned the word “planned” second because often times young minds construct first and formulate ideas and plans as they go.  Constructing knowledge as they engage in hands-on projects enables their young minds to experiment with the many ideas running through their heads.

Sometimes it can be very difficult as a Teacher to sit back and wait.  Sometimes it is important to follow the child’s lead and then step back again.  Waiting, watching and listening are all part of  the documentation process and of being a Teacher, Mentor and Facilitator.

100_8294  As this child started to story tell about the dolls/ fairies she used our wooden tool bench, tools, and alphabet puzzle pieces and incorporated them into her story.  This child was also integrating the content areas such as mathematics when building, for example, measuring, comparing sizes, shapes and balancing each block.  She also entered into literacy development when she started story telling. Allowing young children to express their individual ideas and creative thoughts is all a part of a strong learning foundation.  This simple example is what enables children to take risks with their learning as they grow older.  We want children to have confidence and the ability to make difficult decisions as they grow into adulthood and become responsible citizens.  It all starts in the early years of development.

Heidi Scott, BA & MIT 🙂

The Marigold School of Early Learning

Fabic Pieces and Interest Areas

The Marigold School of Early Learning is a morning preschool for young minds aged three to five years.  School resumes the week of January 4th through 8th, 2016.  We are ready to jump into learning fun at 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., so come join us so you can enjoy learning too! 🙂

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Using fabric pieces, interest areas can move about the school or be more visible to young children’s eyes.  When I first bought the fabric scraps I knew I would use them for something, I just didn’t know exactly what. And then it hit me!  Portable interest areas or provocations with a similar concept to movable centers.  

In the Construction/ Block Interest area there is a rather busy carpet.  Some children actually do use the roads on the carpet while most do not.  So since it was such a busy background I put down one piece of fabric and moved the lacing cards to the Construction/Block Interest area.  The lacing cards were more visible and it freed up our table for play dough fun! 🙂

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We also found that the same piece of fabric could be used as a table cloth on our kitchen table.  So it turned out I had plenty of uses for my pile of fabric scraps. 🙂  Not only did using the fabric for multiple things work, we discovered how easy it can be to gather materials and put them in their proper place when they are on fabric that can be easily and quickly turned into a makeshift bag.  Of course we made sure all four corners were up and tied together before moving the materials.

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Setting up a provocation using fabric and other materials sparks a young child’s mind into thinking along creative pathways.  Using the materials in endless ways keep the children expanding their thoughts and understandings too.  Fabric is large, small, soft, smooth, rough or bumpy.  Fabric is portable not static and can be used in many different ways to enhance quality learning for young minds.  Children experience color, texture, patterns, size differences and the many uses that come from having fabric as an educational tool. 🙂

100_8468 This child used puzzle pieces and buttons as cat food.  We put down a piece of fabric in the reading corner.

100_8481  Back to the Construction/ Block area we used another piece of fabric to use blocks and mini checkers for sandwiches.  And yes, this was a three year old child’s idea.

100_8524  Another day we used blocks, wooden bowls, geo shape blocks and other fun items to make a picnic!  The imagination of a child never stops and the wonderful part of all of this is the endless learning that is unfolding!

Come join The Marigold School of Early Learning if you want your 3-5 year old child to experience the joy of learning through inquiry, exploration, discoveries and many more developmentally appropriate learning opportunities! 🙂 

100_8527  An unopened canned soup made it’s way onto our picnic area! This is all the creative work of a three year old child! 🙂

 

Heidi Scott, BA and MIT

Halloween Tour!

100_8205  The Marigold School of Early learning is having a tour on Halloween!  Please join us between 3:00-6:00 p.m. for an up close look at the preschool and treat bags!

100_8217  I love teaching young children and if you are looking for a small play-based environment for your child aged three to five years please come and see us rain or shine!

100_8214 You are welcome to come and visit between the hours of 3:00 and 6:00 Halloween Night!

100_8122  Artistic expression is a large part of the curriculum, yet so is constructing, dramatic play and science exploration!  Eight young minds can come each morning at 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m to wonder, question, explore and create!

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I look forward to meeting you all  and wish everyone a safe and happy Halloween!

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

Oak Trees

100_8126 Oak trees are so pretty, but sometimes they will react to bees trying to infest the branches to make their nests.  The infestation causes the tree to form galls.  In the picture to your right are two oak leaves and one example of a gall.  For those of you who have oak trees galls are something you may want to get rid of, but for the purposes of education I wanted to explore this as a provocation for young minds.

100_8129 Here is a close up of a gall from an oak tree.  Notice the cream color with darker brown spots.  Galls are a great way to teach children about how not all plant life is meant for insects and how insects can hurt a tree.  For young children I would start out with stories about the specific tree or plant life I want the children to explore.  This may not be an interest to the children yet, but once we visit the topic in very well may become a huge interest.  To learn more about the tree I would encourage discussions around the topic.  Next I would set up a project approach with the children.  This way the children are partners with me, the Teacher, and will be engaged in the whole process of learning about galls without this being a Teacher driven and directed project.  The children will plan each step of the project with the Teacher; we are partners in learning.

100_8130  For a project approach, like other first steps in provocations there are many questions.  So the children and I will ask questions about what a gall is and how it is formed and why does it grow?  I will write down all of the children’s questions and all of my questions.  Next I want the children to not only be exposed to the books that tell us all about oak trees, but I want pictures of healthy and unhealthy oak trees.  Oak tree pictures with no galls and ones with galls.  Having a real gall and leaves for the children to touch and feel and examine is always my preferences for young concrete minds.  From our initial discussion the children and I will go back and forth with more inquiries, explorations and ideas to express understanding in different ways.  In other words we will use all of our materials  and interest areas to explore this scientific topic.

100_8134  One way in which the children will construct knowledge about this subject is by drawing their own version of a gall.  So I’ve set up one provocation allowing for only one child at a time to examine and draw the gall if she/ he chooses to.  For a project approach other areas of interest are set up with more information about oat trees, so the rest of the class is engaged in different investigations of oak trees and the formation of galls.  With projects their are aspects that children will engage in together as a whole group, in two’s as a team or as individuals.  All aspects will come together as a whole in the end.  Depending on how in depth the children wish to go with this scientific inquiry, we may end up doing a culminating event in which we not only show the process from start to finish and all of the in between, but all of our reflections as well.  We may be able to display our findings and put together an event for families to come and learn about galls too! 🙂

100_8131  One thing to always remember is that no matter what content is explored and used throughout the project, the children are the ones leading the way with their interests.  As the Teacher I am a support, facilitator and partner in this project.  I am not giving direct instruction and telling the students what they need to know about oak trees and galls.  I am the one providing rich scientific literature and a variety of resources for the children to explore this subject thoroughly.   I don’t want children to skim the surface of subjects, I want them to dig deep and actually learn about the world we all live in by constructing knowledge together.  I want to prepare and strengthen the foundation for all future learning.  Young minds are capable of deep understanding if only given the chance and faith from the adults around them. 🙂

Investigate the formation of galls on your own and see what information you find!  Share the types of plant explorations you’ve investigated with your young minds!  I would love to read all about your experiences too! 🙂

 

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

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