Cooking with Gina!

Cooking with Ms. Gina, the center cook at Henrietta, was a blast for the school agers!  The children made personal pan pizzas after a presentation and demonstration by Ms. Gina.  The class learned about portion control, the order of toppings, and observed that “olives don’t stick to anything!”

Ms. Gina explained how warm the oven should be for cooking and how long it takes to bake the pizzas.  A survey after the activity found that 50% of the class felt that making the pizza was their favorite part, and the other 50% said that eating the pizza was their favorite part.  What a delicious learning activity and meal!

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Fun for Others!

Interactions between varying age groups of children offer special learning and caring opportunities!  As reported by Marisa, age 12, the Henrietta school-agers recently worked on creating a treat for the center toddlers.

Marisa shared that “everyone wanted to pitch in to make fairy houses for the little toddlers. We made houses, doors, windows, signs, swings, and ladders!  We were inspired by the fairy houses at Tinker Park.  Also, we set it up like a scavenger hunt!  We all had fun making them and I hope the toddlers had fun seeking for them!  Hopefully we will do more things like this in the future!”

Activities like this create feelings of empathy and caring for others, not to mention the delight of the toddlers when finding the cute creations!

IMG_0401 fairy grp      IMG_0406 (1) f sign       IMG_0401 Marisa  The fairy house blog author, Marisa!


Creating Music!

The school-age children at the Canandaigua / Farmington center have been working hard on writing and performing their own songs!  Their talent and creativity extends to building recognizable and elaborate musical instruments to use as props in their performances.  Their building materials of choice are K’NEX, which encourage fine motor and special reasoning development.  Their imaginations have been stimulated as they build everything from microphones and drum sets to guitars and pianos.

There are many benefits to children in singing and songwriting as well.  These activities encourage language development, self-expression, vocal imitation, boost self-confidence, aid in communication, strengthen vocabulary, and teach children how to rhyme words and keep rhythm.  The children have also built up their social skills through these activities as they have to work together to write lyrics, assign roles, listen to each other for cues as they sing and dance, and work out how to use each of their friend’s talents in a way that makes everyone feel valued and included.

There are many studies on the benefits of music and singing.  They have shown that singing causes the brain to perform multiple tasks at once. This helps to develop the memory. The brain learns to handle more tasks than it is required to perform simultaneously from remembering lyrics to remembering a cue to start singing. It has also been shown that singing gets endorphins flowing in the brain as it causes the body to feel good and increases the brains activity.  These benefits have certainly been in evidence in our school-age room! The children have been very focused as they create new songs and instruments; you can see their enjoyment with each performance!

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Car Washing!

The Greece toddlers enjoyed a week of learning through car washing!  On the first day, the teachers filled a large plastic bin with soapy water. The children then added little cars and used tooth brushes to wash them. In the following days, the size of the cars and washing materials were increased.  Small and large brushes and sponges were available to the children for washing.  At the end of the week, the children used outside sprinklers to wash their largest cars!

This activity offered many opportunities for conversation about comparing sizes and materials.  The teachers initiated some of the interactions and the children were able to explore and share together.  It also provided a sensory experience with an added benefit of cleaning classroom materials!

DSC01786 Car Wash Gr      DSC01759 Car Wash Gr     DSC01786 (1) Car Wash 2