Saturday, September 13, 2014

Working Together and Helping Each Other: Week 2

This was our second week of working together and helping each other. The preschoolers are really starting to settle into the routine and we are having a lot of fun. Here is a recap of our daily activities. These activities are just one portion of our day. Most of the morning is spent making free choices around the classroom. These activities are to encourage the new group to become a community and to get to know the classroom. We have also been spending a lot of time outside enjoying the gorgeous fall weather. 

Monday: We played the Cooperation Island Game, which turned more into the Cooperation Boat Game (Islands seemed a little abstract for two year olds). They had so much fun dancing while the music was playing. When the music stopped they were a little hesitant to share a "boat" with friends, especially since some of them are newer friends. With a little inviting (and hugging) from each other, they found ways to make it work. A few friends decided that they were not quite comfortable to participate yet, but they seem to sit a little closer to the group each time. :)

Tuesday: We broke into two groups at the "circle" and "rectangle" tables. There was lots of materials available for loose parts exploration. These were newer materials and they were mostly exploring them by themselves. Maybe next time they will be interested in more collaboration. For now they at least practiced sharing materials and work space. The table time was also filled with a lot of rich language and conversations. 

Wednesday: We divided into three small groups. Each group had a different type of building blocks and a different teacher. The groups rotated through the three areas and were able to experiment and add to what the other groups had been working on. 

Thursday: We split into two groups to work together to make playdough. We all took turns adding the ingredients and mixing and stirring. After that they spent quite awhile at the table working with the new dough and talking with their friends. 

Friday: We sat together on the rug and sorted out all the counters by color! I was really surprised that everybody there that day new exactly what to do! After they were sorted by color we scrambled them back up and sorted out the pet counters from the bug counters, which was a little more tricky. One group took the pets to the table to build homes with the foam blocks. The other group stayed on the rug with the bug counters and the tree blocks. In their small groups they built homes and sorted out the bugs and pets by families (species). 

What a great week! I can't wait to see how everybody continues to fall into the rhythm this week. I am definitely seeing friendships budding and confidence growing! 

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Getting Started

For the month of September, I like to spend some time introducing the children to the materials, the classroom and each other. We will spend a lot of time working in groups of two, three, four and even as a whole group. This gives us a chance to practice sharing space and materials, as well as reinforcing the idea of cooperation and teamwork. 

For the first week, most of our activities were whole group activities. It was a short, but busy week.

On Tuesday we started "Working Together and Helping Each Other," by gathering in the block area. Everyone was invited to build onto a group structure. The children stayed for almost an hour. The main purpose of this activity was to share space, promote language, introduce block play and cleaning up. It probably looked like we were just playing.

On Wednesday, we gathered at the table to practice using glue sticks and creating collage. Most of the children were quick to join us. Some of the older children who have had plenty of practice, decided it was old news and went off to play elsewhere.

On Thursday, we worked together to build an enormous railroad. We used every piece we could find! A few of our friends, old and new have serious interest in trains, so there was a lot of time spent here after the track was complete.

Friday we gathered in the Dress up Area to explore all the materials there. We had so much fun dressing up in all the costumes that we didn't have any time for pictures. :) 

This week we are going to give our Cooperation Island Game another try. I am very interested to see the difference between this group and last year's group. This year the children are much younger and less familiar with each other.