As we strive to press on and acknowledge Him who brings us the seasons, we are celebrating spring's arrival with all things rainy, sunny, muddy and wriggly. Splashing in puddles, digging for worms and watching for rainbows are some of the children's favorite activities these days, and we're loving all of it! Take a look at what we have been up to in the classroom over the past few weeks.
LITERACY: We are enjoying all of the reading that is going on in the classroom right now! Confidence is growing in many of our students as they start to master the skill of blending sounds together into words, and it's so fun to see. And for those who are not yet in their own personal "reading readiness window," they are enjoying stories, puzzles, games and activities that continue to expose them to letter names and sounds. This is a widely varied area of development for children at this age, so we continue to see many different levels of readiness. Our job is to meet each child where he or she is at the moment, encouraging and supporting along the way.
As we continue through our year of fairy tales, we have finished many different versions of Little Red Riding Hood, combining these stories with our study of safety and stranger awareness as well. Next we are moving on to The Three Little Pigs, both traditional and fractured versions. These are really fun stories, and the Kindergarten group will enjoy a day of building and experimenting with wind as we finish up this study.
MATH: There is a whole lot of math progress hitting the classroom lately! Most of the younger students are mastering the numerals and quantities up to nine, and many are beginning to correctly write the numerals as well. Many of the "middle-aged" students are now working with our beadstairs for addition work and for mastering the concept of equivalencies.The Kindergarten children have worked extensively with the gold bead material, focusing on place value up to 999 and have also enjoyed writing their own number sentences on the white boards.
We have introduced more shapes to the children, looking at quadrilaterals. They particularly enjoy saying the word parallelogram! Soon we will learn the names of the solid shapes, as well.
SCIENCE: Our invertebrate study is fully about worms right now as we spot them every time we are outside for recess. The Kindergarten boys even went to the trouble to build a worm hotel! Worms are truly fascinating animals and are vital to healthy soil and, therefore, vital to a healthy food supply, too. Of course, the most fun part of this study has been the freedom to talk about worm poop on a daily basis! Does your child remember what gardeners and scientists call it? (Castings!) Is your child able to tell you some worm facts?
The fun we are having with worms leads us right into our seed and plant study. This week each child will start some seeds in his or her own little greenhouse. Once the seeds begin to germinate, they will be planted in soil...some to go home and some to remain at school. This is always a fun activity as we watch dry, wrinkly seeds swell up and begin to sprout into living plants!
Now that the Kindergarten group is finishing up its project of making some beautiful world maps (on display in the classroom), the whole class will begin the ever-popular study of our solar system!
SOCIAL STUDIES AND MUSIC: As we prepare for our spring performance of Children Around the World, we are learning about what life is like for children from all over the globe. We are also enjoying learning a whole lot of new songs to sing for all of you! Please plan to join us on April 26 for this special program.
THINGS TO PONDER:
A Return to Gentleness
As we are currently studying gentleness in our Bible time, I can't help but be reminded of “Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood,” a wonderful show from my childhood. With the recent release of a documentary on Mr. Rogers, along with an upcoming movie about him, the show has been in the news again. When I think of Fred Rogers, I think of the perfect embodiment of the fruit of the spirit, gentleness, an attribute that is sorely lacking in our world today. Mr. Rogers was actually an ordained minister who chose a children’s television show as the vehicle for his ministry. Although he may seem slow and deliberate and old-fashioned in our current fast-paced, loud society, he was an unfailing example of gentleness. His show was quiet, calm and well-planned, rich in vocabulary and concepts. Each episode was crafted to encourage children to be kind, helpful, confident and creative. Unfortunately, we are raising children in a world that is anything but gentle; we see this in conversations and interactions and as we are bombarded by horrific news stories that remind us of just how broken our world is. As parents and as teachers we strive every day to model gentleness to the children and to encourage their gentle behavior and choices. Although we are not big proponents of screen time, we encourage you to consider allowing your children to watch some episodes of Mr. Rogers. They will be exposed to a true spirit of gentleness that will serve them well and, perhaps, help them contribute a little gentleness to our world.