September was a busy, fun-filled month! We began with learning classroom routines and expectations. During our class meeting times (large group learning experience) we focused on rhymes and rhythms, letters and their sounds, opposites and graphing information.
We are fortunate to have access to the Mother Goose Time curriculum through my blogger partnership with Experience Early Learning. Our program benefits greatly from this partnership and my professional skills are strengthened through monthly blogging assignments and reflective practices.
Our learning centers support the monthly theme so children have a variety of hands-on experiences. Science/nature, literacy, math, manipulatives, dramatic play, creative arts and building are open to the children an hour at a time. We want children to have time to explore, make a plan and carry it out. Learning becomes richer and more meaningful, with an increase in retention as well.
Twice a day we break into skill time groups. Mrs. Papes has the younger group of children. Children approaching kindergarten are in my group. Curriculum is individualized during this time, observations are noted and plans to adapt future learning sessions are created.
Our creative art area is guided by Mrs. Papes, who provides thought-provoking questions based on the featured photo or famous art piece reproduction. Children are encouraged to verbalize their observations on the featured work, noticing the colors, lines, movement or other general impressions. A variety of materials are provided and Mrs. Papes asks the children how they might use the materials in their own creation. Wonderful conversations ensue which allows children to connect the featured piece to prior knowledge.
It is important to seize unexpected learning opportunities also. Cameron and his family found a chrysalis attached to a milk weed plant and brought it to school so we could observe the final stages of the butterfly life cycle. This amazing experience culminated with the release of “Engine” in the beautiful gardens next to St. Mary church.
Other outdoor learning experiences included using a simple machine, a pulley. The children added wood chips and rocks to the bucket and discovered how much weight it could hold before the twine broke.
We will continue to document our classroom learning experiences through photos, work samples and commentary so be sure to check this blog often.