Happy New Year from Hobson School!
Our January was filled with play and meaningful learning and too many snowflakes to count!
With the exception of having FOUR weather related closures, our three day classes (4 and 5 year olds) had a busy month in our classroom! Highlights included taking a walk in the woods, using different sized circles to create paper snowmen, and using pumps in the water table. We built all kinds of creations with recycled materials and colorful masking tape. We raced cars down ramps and engineered interesting obstacle courses with blocks. We shared lots of great books this month including two versions of “The Mitten”. We talked about the similarities and differences between the two stories. Some other books we read are “Snowmen At Night”, and “Stranger in the Woods”. We also took a field trip to the Jurica Nature Museum at Benedictine University.
The teachers have decided to store away the play dough and begin using clay in the classroom. Clay is an important natural medium for children to explore. Unlike play dough which is made from cooking materials (flour, salt, oil, water), clay is from the earth, an art medium that has been used for centuries. Writer of Earth’s Magic Mud, Kathleen Bailer, shares that, “because clay is from the Earth, playing and working with clay centers, grounds and connects children to the Earth. This connection is especially important when so many children are leading such scheduled, busy, indoor lives and are surrounded by plastic toys and electronic equipment. Using clay allows children’s hands to come in contact with the elements and forces that make up Earth: water, rock, ice and erosion.”
We will be starting with simply having the clay out on our clay boards and letting the children explore with their hands. Tools will be added as well as natural materials for the children to explore the clay with. If you want to know more about the importance of clay in the classroom check out the k-play.com website, it does an excellent job of describing the benefits of using clay in the classroom. We can’t wait to see what the children do!
In our two day classes (3 and 4 year olds), the children have made leaps in their growth and development since the beginning of the year! Both classes easily slipped back into the routine after a long winter break!
The 2 am class made a collaborative book based on Jan Brett’s The Mitten. They love to read it again and again as much as they enjoyed making it! Some children are beginning to show an interest in wiring their names in this class. Materials are available to accommodate and encourage these children, but for the uninterested, there is no hurry. Some children develop this interest earlier than others, and one thing we know for sure is that you can’t rush meaningful learning!
The 2pm class has been busy doing book reviews! Because the children of this class connect their classroom experiences to the books they’re reading, and inspired by their love of stickers and desire to express more of their opinions during gathering time, the Book Reviews were introduced. Our 3-year old version includes listening to a book and using stickers to “rate” the book on a post-it. To assist them in this concept, we began by asking for a favorite part and/or favorite illustration. This concrete representation of their opinions on a book is enjoyable to them, but also enables the children to work on many other skills. These skills include math, literacy, critical thinking, fine motor, and social emotional.
Our two year old families had fun this January as well! Highlights from PC this month included making soft squishy play dough from scratch and exploring some oozy gooey shiny paint that Mrs. Diesman concocted from corn syrup! Children really do learn by using all of their senses!