Sunflowers and Weekend Reading

IMG_3344A sunflower painting provocation provided to the children this week during small groups.

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The NY Times has had some interesting articles on early childhood education over the past couple of weeks. Have you seen these?

The Building Blocks of a High Quality Pre-K — Love that this opinion piece gives concrete examples of what high-quality play-based early childhood looks like.

Quality of Words, Not Quantity, is Crucial to Language Skills 

And, from NPR, on children and screen time.

fine motor development

eye dropper art | via provocations and play

I get so much inspiration from other programs’ walls! When I went to the training by Julianne Wurm last weekend, I noticed so much great documentation on the hosting school’s walls, including one display focusing on finger strength, showing different opportunities for the children to develop these muscles. I loved this not only to make children’s learning visible for them, and to acknowledge the persistence that is often necessary for these tasks, but also to showcase the importance of fine motor development to our community.

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I also loved this excerpt from Developmentally Appropriate Practice: “Teachers and parents sometimes push preschoolers in the technical skills of handwriting (e.g. forming letters with precision) before the children have sufficient fine motor development for such exactness. At this age, the focus should be not on children’s handwriting, but on their emergent writing – that is, their learning to express themselves; to use writing for various purposes; and to become familiar with letters and words, print conventions, and other aspects of written language (p. 164).”

painting in the snow

Sorry for the radio silence, friends (I’m trying to stop calling everybody that after reading It’s OK Not to Share last year, but it’s an old-ECE trait ingrained inside of me).  I’m co-teaching a new inclusion model this year (which has, for the most part, been amazing) and working on my work-life balance (which has not yet been as successful :) Can I make it up to you all with a wonderful, easy activity that brings the best of the season indoors?

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Our school has a “stay indoors if lower than 32” policy that makes me incredibly sad most days (and want to write a large grant for wellies, waterproof jackets, gloves, hats and scarves for all). But today, with the help of a huge parachute and snow and watercolors, it wasn’t so bad. I put neon watercolors and eye droppers out next to a sensory table full of snow.

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“It looks like a rainbow”

“When I put it all right here, the snow goes down.”

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The kids decided to put the table outside when they were done to see if it would melt or stay the same (we knew it would melt indoors after a few readings of The Snowy Day), and it was still pretty snowy this afternoon, so we’ll see if this is a continued process tomorrow, or if it’s ran its course.