It doesn't seem possible that we only have three months of school left! This school year has been one of stretching and growth, in so many ways...including the growth of two families who are expecting babies in the coming weeks! We have been thrilled to watch everything the children are accomplishing in the classroom, and we look forward to helping them continue their good work in the remaining months.
100th Day Celebration: We will celebrate the 100th day of school on Tuesday, March 31st, with games and craft projects. The children are welcome to bring 100 of something to show to the class on that day. It could be four groups of 25 or two groups of 50 or ten groups of ten or 100 different things...whatever gets to 100! It is totally optional to bring something in to school for this, and please don’t go shopping for anything. Feel free to help your child look around the house for items to bring and show. Or perhaps your he or she would like to make 100 polka dots/x’s/hearts/etc. on a piece of paper. That counts, too!
Classroom Notes: Here are some of the things we have been working on:
Literacy: We continue to work on the concept of rhyming. This is a difficult concept, but the children are making good progress with it. We have used many songs, books and puzzles to help develop this literacy skill. As we recognized Dr. Seuss' birthday, we enjoyed many of his stories that clearly reinforce the idea of rhyming. There's A Wocket In My Pocket was the class favorite! We are also working on the concepts of “identical” and “similar” as we work with our set of art reproductions and other classroom activities. The children are doing very well with this!
As we finished our study of various Goldilocks books, the children performed a dramatic reenactment of this classic tale. They did great! Almost every child participated, and we were treated to an Oscar-worthy performance by Alan…as Goldilocks! They have asked to do it again, so we will try to fit that in this week.
Math: We have continued developing concepts introduced earlier in the year, such as place value, odd/even, sorting and classifying by attribute. We will soon begin studying the concept of ordinal numbers. Many of the children have also been working on the idea of “counting on” in addition using a number line. This is used to reinforce the process used in addition, not memorization. As we prepare for our 100th Day of School party, we will also continue to reinforce the idea of counting in groups of ten, and how that is represented in numerals.
Science: Our Kindergarten children have completed their beautiful continent maps that are now on display in the classroom. Well done! They have also begun a unit on simple machines, beginning this past week with inclined planes and levers. The lever we used to build a catapult on Friday was very efficient at flinging ping pong balls all over the tennis courts! Soon our class studies will take us from the tiny promise within a seed, as we study plants, to the vastness of creation, as we study the solar system. We also have now begun a study of health and wellness, starting with the importance of sleep. Look for a small “homework” assignment to come home this week!
Social Studies: We are finishing up our time with Asia this week and preparing to move on to Australia. This is always a popular continent to study! We will also spend some time learning about different people in our own community: police officers, fire fighters, librarians, doctors, etc. This will lead up to a class favorite…Hat Day! (date TBD)
Music: This week we will begin studying Mozart’s opera The Magic Flute. We will read brief scene descriptions and then listen to a shortened piece of music to accompany that scene. This is a great way for the children to hear the instruments we studied earlier in the year and to be exposed to one of our world’s greatest composers.
As we begin our study of health and wellness, focusing on sleep, exercise and nutrition, we encourage you to consider the following sobering facts that show we are, literally, facing a health crisis for our children:
*75% of children get fewer than 20 minutes of vigorous exercise per day.
*1 in 5 American 4-year-olds is obese, putting them at greater risk of diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and depression.
*Children are averaging 30-40 hours PER WEEK of screen time.
*We have the first generation of children who will have a shorter life expectancy than their parents.
These are frightening statistics to us as teachers and as parents, but the good news is, there is a remedy: EXERCISE! Children should get 60 minutes a day of structured physical activity (PE classes, sports teams, school activities, etc.) and at least 60 minutes of unstructured physical activity (bike riding, playing tag, swimming, etc.) This sounds like a lot, but the great thing is, it can be cumulative. If you play tag for 10 minutes after school, your child has a 20 minutes swim lesson, and you go for a 10-minute walk after dinner, you already have 40 minutes toward that goal! And it doesn’t all have to be vigorous exercise; spending some time stretching and working on balance counts too. To make it even easier, while the children are at Little Lambs, they get at least 30 minutes of physical activity each morning, so you can be even closer to that 2-hour goal. It really is very simple to sneak a little extra exercise into each day. When we practice our Bible verses, the children say the verse while doing various activities, such as jumping jacks, hopping on one foot, balancing on tip toes, spinning in a circle, etc. At home, if your child is helping to put his or her folded laundry away, leave the laundry basket a few rooms away so your child needs to take some extra steps with each trip. See if your child can hop like a rabbit while putting his toys away.
In addition to overall physical health, exercise also brings the benefit of making children better learners. The more their bodies are engaged, the better they can absorb and retain information. Studies have shown that when students are allowed time for vigorous physical activity before a test, test scores go up. The more children actively use their bodies during the school day, the better they are able to learn.
Exercise doesn’t need to be regimented or overwhelming; it just needs to become habit. We have been blessed with healthy children who are very capable and are eager to play. Our hope is that, with good habits, they will all stay that way!