Wet Paint Design

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The 4-day class did a really fun project this week for science.

Materials:

  • Water
  • Shallow pan
  • Cookie sheet with sides
  • tempura paint (thinned with water)
  • pipettes
  • construction paper
  • newspaper

Procedure:

Wet the paper thoroughly by dipping in the pan of water. Place the wet paper on the cookie sheet. Use pipette to drop colors onto wet paper. Put on newspaper to dry.

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Variations: Use different tools to apply paint such as an eyedropper, cotton swab, straw, feather, or twig.

Skills: Fine motor development. Observation of action reaction. Blending colors. Watching how the paint spreads on the wet paper.

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Investigation: Scented Foaming Paint

If you need some investigation pointers, look no further. The tot class are professionals. Follow these simple steps for success.

Step 1: If you don’t know what it is, look at it real close and smell it.

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Step 2: Poke it with whatever is nearby.

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Step 3: Try touching it with your hands.

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Step 4: Get your friend to also dig it out with her hands.

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Step 5: Paint with it.

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Try the recipe at home.

Tempura paint matched with a packet of the same color Koolaid. Sprinkle in the KoolAid and watch the magic happen. The magic is explained HERE.

 

Natural Genius

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In public schools, children are taught the Scientific Method in the 5th grade. But here at LCP, we have found that children are natural geniuses. The have an innate sense of discovery within them. They have the determination to work at something until they figure it out even at the age of two.

Here we have a frozen block of ice with a polar bear trapped inside.

Observation:

 

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Using their senses

 

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Trying to get him out with sand

 

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And some more sand.

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Didn’t work? How about water?

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How about 2 or 3 watering cans full of water?

 

 

 

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How about if I stand on it?

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‘Traveling Restaurants’ at Loomis Community Preschool

If you are in the neighborhood and have a hearty appetite, be sure to stop by Loomis Community Preschool during the 3/4 day class.

They are very serious about cooking, creating, and distributing their delicious meals.

The menu varies from “Healthy” Spaghetti to Meat and Carrot Soup. You can even find coffee for a mere “20..100…14,15,16 dollars.”

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Customers spotted the delicious buffet of choices from as far away as the swings.

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Once customers came and tried the delicious menu…

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they decided to try out their own traveling restaurants.

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Some decided to work in partnerships baking cakes

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While others worked side by side selling their own creations.IMG_7208

If you are hungry, be sure to stop by!

Annual Holiday Store at Loomis Community Preschool

Please join us for our

Annual Holiday Store

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December 7th 10am-1pm

Featuring:

-The Children’s Holiday Store

-Raffle

-Bake Sale

-Pictures with Santa

Let your child shop for homemade crafts for the whole family in the company of a friendly elf while you do your Christmas shopping at our raffle and bake sale.

 

Tickets for the Holiday Store are limited.

Call us 916-652-7842 to reserve your tickets

 

Loomis Community Preschool Tot Class

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September was an exciting month for this group of 2 year olds. They needed very little introduction to how things work at LCP as 5 of the 10 children in the class are the 2nd or 3rd sibling to come to Loomis Community Preschool. Those that were new to Loomis Community Preschool quickly learned the ropes and soon felt right at home. The first week at school they all got to work making collages, painting pictures, playing with play dough, and navigating the play yard.

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Even though at 2 years old most children engage in parallel play (playing alongside one another) they no doubt enjoy the opportunity to be around each other. They begin to watch each other and copy one another.

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They find ways to interact with one another such as placing their snack in a friends “trunk” while they are taking a ride.

They even defy the odds of developmental norms and sit and listen to an entire story.

 

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Loomis Community Preschool Graduation

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It seems like preschool graduation was just yesterday. We enjoyed class promotion/graduation ceremonies along with entertainment by Music Matt. He gave the kids opportunities to sing in the microphone and play the drums. The potluck was plentiful and the company wonderful as always.

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We were so happy to have Teacher Robannie join us with her bundle of love to pass out certificates to her students.

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As we look back on our graduation from a few months ago, we wish all LCP students a wonderful start to a new school year, where ever you may be.

Inspiration

In a previous post, I was thinking about the importance of seeing the world in news ways, from new perspectives, for both children and adults.  As a teacher, I am always grateful for ideas and inspiration that will help make our classroom more dynamic and engaging.  Here are some of the most recent results of my search for new ideas…

Magnet Wall

Thanks to the fundraising efforts of our families, we recently purchased a magnet wall set from the company Kodo Kids (http://www.kodokids.com/).  They create an awesome array of high quality products that encourage open-ended, play-based exploration.   One of our parents generously built the actual magnet wall for us–a piece of sheet metal backed with playwood, spray painted black, with a wooden frame.  The magnet set we purchased includes ramps, rings (to hold funnels and cups), and small “walls” (that help control the path of materials as they move down the ramps).  With this magnet wall system, children have the opportunity to explore and manipulate materials on a large, vertical space.  So far, children have experimented with both balls and water (and then the two together)…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The first few times we explored with the mag wall, I set up a few ramps systems to get children started.  But I love the fact that the children weren’t satisfied to stay with those set-ups for long, as they quickly discovered these moveable parts were meant to be manipulated again and again.  I am so excited to have this new activity as a permanent fixture on our playground!

Sensory Table

While researching new ideas for our sensory table, I came across the blog of an early childhood educator, Tom Bedard (http://tomsensori.blogspot.com/2012/12/horizontal-channels-version-50.html).  He has such creative ideas for augmenting the sensory table:  rather than just changing out the contents of the table, he uses cardboard, PVC, and other materials to manipulate the space and shape of the table itself.  Here was my first attempt to replicate his great ideas.  I used a large cardboard box that sat on top of the table, with cardboard walls taped inside to create channels, and another large box attached to create a ramp.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As the pictures show, the ramp was the most engaging aspect of this particular structure!  Thank you, patient parents, for endlessly sweeping up birdseed scattered across the floor!

Children were also fascinated by a watercolor mixing station in the sensory table, which included cups of liquid watercolors, eye droppers, plastic tubes, funnels and clear plastic egg cartons.  Just the simple change of adding two racks in the sensory tub, and a table next to the tub, invited children to explore the space in a new way.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Loose parts

Pintrest proved to be very helpful in my search, allowing me to see a wealth of ideas in one place.  (I am quite new to Pintrest, so these initial findings were very exciting and rewarding!)  Adding “loose parts” to the block room area was a popular concept; and, again, I am so impressed by all the creativity of early childhood teachers out there, not to mention grateful that they are sharing their ideas!  I tried out the addition of thin branches trimmed from a mulberry tree in my backyard, cut into about one foot in length, and cuttings from Teacher Sherry’s redwood tree.  We started with the sticks and branches in the block room, which inspired a camping theme.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once the campfire was built, children suddenly wanted to sing together.  We’d read, sung and acted out  “The Farmer in the Dell” at circle time,  so the Block room parent opened the book back up and led the children in a singalong.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The camping theme morphed to include our plastic animal set and a fishing expedition.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This particular activity proved to be a wonderful interplay between the children’s creativity and the attentive support of the working parent who responded to and encouraged their ideas.  For the adults in a play-based classroom, it’s a delicate balance between giving children space to engage their own ideas, creativity, problem-solving, and intuition and stepping in to offer needed guidance and support.  While children should indeed take the lead, the thoughtful support of attentive adults can guide children’s play to new levels of interest and engagement.

Pulleys & Pendulums

A book called More Than Magnets, by Sally Moomaw and Brenda Hieronymus,  is to thank for a variety of activity ideas based on pulleys and pendulums.

Children first experimented with using the pulleys to transport cans full of small objects (small plastic bears, stones, cube blocks, etc).  I appreciated how using the pulleys required teamwork and communication; as children became more familiar with the action of the pulleys, they were able to teach classmates just joining the activity.  Children then started a game of collecting a piece of “treasure” every time they pulled the bucket back over to their side.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The next adventure with pulleys added the exciting and messy element of paint.  I cut a plastic water bottle in half and filled a small squeeze bottle with watered down paint.  The top of the squeeze bottle (mostly) stayed  nestled in the narrow opening of the water bottle.  I punched holes in the cut side of the water bottle and tied it to the pulley rope.  As the children pulled the rope back and forth, it provided sufficient action to “shake” the paint from the squeeze bottles.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Children’s engagement with this activity included both quiet concentration on the action of the pulleys and giddy laughter at the satisfying splatter of paint!

As for the pendulum activity, we tried two variations with paint.  Both variations utilized long PVC pipes mounted in concrete, with a rope strung between them, as the frame.  In the first, paintbrushes were attached to string and hung from the rope; children could dip their brushes in paint and then swing the brushes back and forth.  In the second (and much messier!) variation, I again used a water bottle cut in half; but instead of a squeeze bottle, I nestled a small funnel in the spout of the water bottle, and children could scoop slightly watered-down paint into the funnel before sending the pendulum for a ride.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Needless to say, we needed a paper three times this size to contain the drips of paint!!

So that’s a little sampling of some of the new activities we tested out over the past few days and weeks.  I am so grateful for the creative ideas educators are sharing in books and blogs.  But most of all, I am so grateful to the parents of our school who support Teacher Sherry and me as we introduce these new, often messy, activities and implement them with energy, flexibility, and a great sense of humor.  None of this fun would be possible without all of you!  Thank you!!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Piles of red and pink paper scraps and a layer of glitter over the entire classroom…must be Valentine’s Day!  Children were busy with a variety of Valentine-themed activities.

They practiced fine motor skills as they cut out paper hearts for a heart garland, which we hung up for decoration.

 

 

Conversation hearts offered the opportunity to practice math skills such as sorting, counting, and graphing.

 

We not only had a Valentine exchange within our class, allowing each child to make a homemade card for a secret Valentine, but children also put great care into creating dozens of Valentines for our friends at the Senior L.I.F.E. Center.

 

And of course, we had to get messy!

 

Happy Valentine’s Day!  Here’s to putting our hearts into joyful play!

 

New perspectives…

The other day I took a few photos of two different play scenarios in the block room.  In one, children were invited to “build inside a hoop.”    We laid hula hoops around the block room carpet, and children could use wooden blocks to create a structure that fit inside a hoop.  These are two of the resulting structures:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the second play scenario, a group of girls were taking turns pretending they were pregnant (it’s on their minds– their teacher and a classmate’s mom are both pregnant).  The child “with a baby in her tummy” was attended diligently by a doctor, a friend, and a puppy.  A conversation ensued as to whether or not “it hurts to have a baby.”  (Two said yes, two said no.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I was thinking about these different ways children were creating and playing.  And while at first they seemed unrelated, I recognized that both demonstrated an important aspect of early childhood development:  the opportunity to take on new perspectives.  Indeed, when creating environments for children, we think about materials and activities that encourage children to think about the world in new ways.   In the block play, the perspective shift happened in the physical world, as children had a new way of thinking about their block building to make it fit inside the hoop (they built up and around rather than out).  In the dramatic play, the perspective shift happened on an emotional and imaginative level, as the girls pretended to take on the experience of grown-ups in their lives.  However it happens, it is always so fascinating to witness the ways in which children respond to new situations or ideas, piecing together information and knowledge from previous experiences with the unexpected or unfamiliar.

I suppose this idea of seeing the world in new ways resonates with me for a variety of reasons.  As it pertains, specifically, to my professional life and my role as a teacher, I find that I, too, am in need of a little shift in perspective.  It can be easy to feel stuck in a certain pattern or routine, or that I’m doing the same activities over and over again.  Repetition can be very important–children need the opportunity to try things over and over again as they work to master a new concept or skill.  And often our adult attention spans urge us to move on too quickly when children are still doing important work.  (And honestly, ooblick and shaving cream are ALWAYS engaging and fun!)  But it also feels like I’m overdue to infuse our classroom with a few things new, so that all of us–children, parents, and teachers–can feel that excitement that comes with a little shift in perspective.

I’ll let you know how it goes…