Monday, February 1, 2010

January at Wellspring

Penguins on Parade was a popular song to march and sing to this month as we learned about these winter animals. We began the work with a quick four question survey on penguin facts. Each child individually marked their answers to the true/false questions and an older child counted and recorded totals. During circle time we read aloud a non-fiction book listening for the answers. Our work reinforced the idea of educated guesses, individual voice, and counting with tally marks. It also taught all of us something new about these birds. Did you know they whistle?

The children acted out a number of stories this month, which is an important pre-reading and early reading skill. The Mitten provided some amusement in the cold days at the beginning of the month. Stone Soup was unique in that two versions of the story were explored on consecutive days. Several children discussed the similarities and differences between the stories. The stone hunt on the journey to the library gave many the purpose needed to make the .5 mile walk. All enjoyed making stone soup during the retelling and most enjoyed eating it. Jenna, the Peapack/Gladstone children’s librarian, presented an engaging program for us. The children enjoyed story time and acting out Book, Book, Book with puppets. Many children asked that we return to the library for another visit.

“I’ve got mail!” can be heard daily throughout the space as the children rush to check their mailboxes. Our young letter writers have been extremely busy sending pictures and notes to their classmates via their recently chosen mailboxes. Many parents have also been recipients of “mail” in their adult mailboxes. Next month we will expand this work by exploring the postal system and visiting the Far Hills Post Office.

The paddock space has fluxed from a winter wonderland to mud puddles fit for a pig to wallow in. Thanks for being aware of the changing weather and dressing your child for the conditions of the day. Many children look forward to skating on the rink created with the new sandbox tarp. As the ice melted and became covered in sand mid-month, one child figured out how to create a fresh layer for the morning play by adding more water that would freeze over night. Mother Nature cooperated with this experiment and skating continues.

The Primary children expressed interest in going to the Gladstone Market; hence our work with coins began. They are working to understand the value of different coins, make change, and purchase/sell items to each other. The children even created a puppet show that involved the audience purchasing things from the puppets.

The Primary children visited with our elderly neighbors at Bryan Manor in a community outreach project. They spent the afternoon getting to know the residents by asking questions and answering some too. As we prepared for the visit the children wrote and drew in their journals about an older person that is important to them. During our discussion about interacting with elders one child advised his classmates to “talk really loud so they can hear you.” This advice was used by all for a successful visit.

The last week of January we removed the blocks and babies from the space as part of our cleaning regimen and provided 8-9 cardboard boxes for creative play. By the end of the first day, these boxes were transformed into scenery and the building nook into a theater with seating for 24 and tickets for 2 plays. The boxes continue to morph into a variety of structures to the delight of all ages. It reminds me again of the power of simple objects to unleash the creativity of a child.


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