Partners In Learning Blog Team

Partners In Learning Blog Team
Blog Team

Monday, March 30, 2015

Eggs-cellent Learning

When the seasons start to change and the sun is warming up our souls, many start to think of spring time holidays.
 With our center being a model for multiculturalism and diversity, our class brings in the excitement of these holidays with a study of eggs. This study starts our month long journey into of how things grow, where they grow from and many more questions about growth, changes, and life cycles.  We start very basic and work towards more complex thinking concepts. Here are some simple ideas to start your child out on some "eggs-cellent" learning opportunities.

So grab up several dozen plastic eggs from that store that's always cheaper than a buck and you're ready to get started.

In this activity, the child has to match the number symbol on one half of the egg to the correct amount of dots on the opposite half of the egg. If you want to add a little more, add plastic refrigerator magnets for them to place inside the egg as well. (Total cost of learning activity: $2)

For this activity, we found these great cake pans with lids to that same cheap store to use for egg rolling art. Take a plastic egg and fill with just a little sand or rice then tape it shut with duct tape. Add your piece of paper to the cake pan then several drops of paint. Replace the lid then let the shaking begin. Have your child shake the pan in several directions...try using positional words like right to left, forward to back, in to out, and up to down. Great way to build vocabulary while doing art.

Do you have a child that loves sensory or water play? Try adding rice/oatmeal/grits to a plastic shoe box then add several eggs, some little chick colored Pom poms, small plastic animals that come from eggs (butterflies, bugs, frogs, lizards, snakes, etc.) and a small scoop. Let them tell you all about the animals, the eggs, or whatever their hearts desire. Or add eggs, scoops, animals, and a few rubber ducks (personal favorite) to bath time or as we have in our class, an under the bed storage container, to have some great water sensory time.

Worried about those math expectations....try using those plastic eggs as a measuring tool. When children enter primary school, they often think that items must be measured with a standard unit of measurement like ruler, tape measure, etc. Great reminder about standard and non-standard units of measurement. Even eggs can be used to measure themselves, a friend, or anything around the house.

Even see those cute little styrofoam eggs in "that store" and wonder who has time to do anything with those??? Well now you do!!! Take a simple muffin tin, place the corresponding colors of the eggs in the bottom of each section then let the sorting begin. Why is it so important to sort? Only young children need to sort....not!!!  
Sorting helps children to learn about placement values, numbers, fine motor skills and more. What is all of that stuff you say? Think placement value in math equations and the counting of money. Fine motor skills include holding the pencil, writing with a pencil, using scissors, brushing your teeth or hair.  Amazing to think that this simple starter activity could lead to many daily life fuctions later on.

Do you have an extra egg carton laying around? You will after you dye all those eggs. Then recycle or up cycle it to make a number or alphabet game. Grab some ping pong balls (maybe two) from "that store"-usually in the toy section.  Write numbers or letters on them then write the corresponding dots or letter inside the egg carton. Here we placed the number on the ball then number of dots inside the egg carton. Trying writing the upper case letter on the "ping pong egg" and the lower case in the carton. Cheap activity and you can take it on the go as well. Think a quiet activity for the synagogue or chapel or that spring wedding.

We hope that you can find some ways to use these activities and have "eggs-cellento" opportunities for learning with splashes of fun to boot.

Have a "Springy" week and we'll see you next week for more learning make it take it sessions!!!
Ms. Gen. And Ms. Kelly

Sunday, March 22, 2015

United Way Day of Caring

We have a new playground object for the children to explore and read in. Thanks to the kind people who help with the United Way Day of Caring Project. We are so thankful for this new addition for our children, and teachers!

When you first look at it, you will think to your self, and maybe even say out loud, What is that? and What is it for?'s the vision of Mrs. Norma. As many of you know, her visions usually happen, sooner or later. This one sooner. When you realize what it is and how it is to be used, you will probably ask yourself, How is that going to happen? To that I would like to say the following,
We have the greatest team of teachers! Is it going to be easy, by all means no! Will it be able to be used for Mrs. Norma's vision, absolutely! 

It will take some time, trial and error, and most of all, patience! You see, what we have is a TeePee!! Not your ordinary TeePee, but a TeePee used for reading and relaxing. On the playground?  Yes, on the playground. Believe it or not children need to take a break from all the fun of the playground, every now and then. 
This is not just an ordinary TeePee, ours has a trampoline inside!! Now I bet you're really asking yourself  at lot of guestions. You see a trampoline can be a very soothing and relaxing place. It provides a soft place to sit or even stretch out on. There is just enough motion inside to be soothing and calming. It also provides shade and a quiet place to read books! 
Now for the biggest question of all...Aren't the children going to jump on the trampoline? Well of course they will want to, wouldn't you? I know I do. That's where our team of awesome teachers come in. They will talk with the children before, during, and after their first experience in the  TeePee, (not sure that's the name, I just made that up). The teachers will explain what the TeePee is to be used for. And go over the rules. Yes, rules. Just as we have rules for the indoor environment, we have rules for the outdoor environment. Will it happen the first time, most likely not. This is where constancy comes in. This is where setting a good example comes in as well.  I would like to invite all the parents to come and enjoy the TeePee as well.  
Once again we would like to thank all the caring people who donated materials and time to help Mrs. Norma's vision come true. 

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

For the Love of Legos

Lego's are an all time favorite of my children, as well as millions and millions of more children around the world.  And what's not to love about a Lego? They're versatile, they provide a vehicle for children to express their creativity, and they have stood the test of time, entertaining today's children, as well as their parents and grandparents before them. 
Lego's aren't only fun little toys to play with, but they are excellent tools for the early childhood classroom as well.  Lego's provide children oprrotunities to exercise those tiny finger muscles, that will later lead to improved writing skills. 

Lego's are also great for creative expression-allowing children to build freely, engineering-planning and constructing, critical thinking- "My building fell, how can I build it differently next time so that won't happen?", and math- "If you need 5 bricks in each row, and you need 3 rows, how many bricks will you need?", activities in the classroom.  We love Lego's!!! 

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

A new appreciation....

This week I've had the pleasure of attending Bus Drivers Education.  I have never driven anything larger than a Nissan, and, prior to Monday, couldn't have told you the difference between a alternator and an air compressor, but by golly I can now!

I have an all new appreciation for those who have taken on the task of transporting our little ones to and from school each day.  What a job! I knew that it wasn't an easy job, but after taking the class this week, WOW!  Check mirrors every 5-8 seconds, all 8 of them, make sure no little sweeties have climbed in the wheel wells ( apparently that happens more than you think) driving defensively, and don't even get me started on the air brakes!!!

Please, please, PLEASE!! If you haven't lately, thank your child's bus driver!!! Let them know they're appreciated for keeping your child safe and delivering them to school each day.  Trust me, it isn't as easy at it looks!!

Friday, March 6, 2015

Time Change and Children's Sleep

Whether it involves setting the clocks an hour forward to welcome spring, or getting an extra hour of sleep to transition to the darker winter months, daylight savings time can impact your entire family’s routine. 
Those 60 extra minutes of slumber may not seem like much, but a toddler or a school-aged child can take a while to adjust to a new sleep routine. Luckily, there are things you can do to minimize the impact on your family’s schedule.

Start transitioning early

Trying to get your toddler to bed at 6:00 p.m. instead of 7:00 p.m. can be a trying experience. To get your little one used to going to bed a little earlier or a little later than usual, it's a good idea to start transitioning your child to an earlier or later bedtime.
Try to get your little one into bed 10 to 15 minutes earlier or later (depending on which way the clock is going) in the week leading up to the time change. This way, his body clock will have made some of the adjustment already. While your child may not actually go to sleep until his regular bedtime, you are encouraging his body to relax a little earlier than usual and this will lead to falling asleep earlier too.
Trying to wear your child out in a bid to get him to sleep earlier is not encouraged. Overtired children often actually take longer to fall asleep and may even resist sleep completely.

Maintain your nap time schedule

Keeping younger children on track with naps following the time change will allow them to better transition to their routine. Even if your little one doesn't seem ready at first, encourage quiet time and rest at 2:00 p.m. if your child usually naps at that time.

Adjust early risers

If your child keeps waking too early, ensure that he understands that you don't consider this an acceptable time to start the day. Encourage him to doze but if he really wants to be awake, encourage him to stay in bed doing a quiet activity. 

Protect your child’s sleep time

Do your best to protect your child’s sleep time during transitions to daylight savings time. Ask family and friends not to call after a certain time and encourage the rest of the family to try and limit noise, and if possible, adopt a similar transition as your child.

Encourage good sleep hygiene

Adopting a healthy sleep routine throughout the year will ensure that your child bounces back from a change in sleep routine quickly. The following tips can be followed year-round to promote sleep hygiene:
  • Your child should go to bed and get up at a similar time every day. A regular routine is very important. On weekends or days off, try not to extend his waking hours too much.
  • Develop a pre-sleep routine: bath, brushing teeth, pajamas; kiss goodnight and a bedtime story. Any activities before going to bed should be quiet ones.
  • Your child should - and not only for a good night’s sleep - exercise regularly. However, avoid heavy exercise within three hours of going to sleep.
  • Optimize your child’s sleeping environment by ensuring his room has a cooler temperature, is dark (you can always use a night light if your child is afraid of the dark) and quiet.
  • Your child shouldn’t go to bed hungry; a light snack will help but don’t put him to bed if he has had a heavy meal within three hours of sleep.
  • Your child should not read, watch TV, eat or play video games in bed. Your child’s bed is meant for rest.
  • Firmly discourage the consumption of energy drinks, which contain dangerously high amounts of caffeine and too much sugar.