Transformer Manipulating!

The “Transformer” learning center is a very popular one among the Greece pre-kindergarten children. Manipulating the various figurines and turning them into cars and trucks provides a unique and active problem-solving experience.

In learning how to manipulate the pieces to transform the action figures, small motor development is enhanced and cognitive development skills are learned and practiced.  Once a child experiments with and understands how the pieces can be manipulated, they can recall the information and apply it to similar situations and movements of other transformers.  This application of learning strengthens and grows their learning skills.

Another benefit of this activity is the social aspect of the play.  Children engage with each other to talk about how they can make a transformer work or offer help when a friend is stuck in manipulating the pieces.  Encouraging children’s language and helping skills with each other is always an important part of learning through play!

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Hands-on Sight Words!

Learning sight words is an essential component to our Kindergarten ELA (English Language Arts) curriculum.  In order for our Henrietta Kindergartners to become successful and confident readers, they must master some of the trickiest, high-frequency words in the English language.

There is no doubt that these sight words must be learned; however, when our Kindergarten teacher, Ms. Emily, said “yes” to teaching, she also said “yes” to teaching in fun, innovative and challenging ways that break the barriers of traditional education.  There are worksheets, but instead we are using a more hands-on approach.  This keeps our sight word learning exciting!

In order to learn sight words, the Kindergartners have used Playdoh, salt, applesauce, word puzzles, scrabble pieces, letter necklaces, sight word bracelets, tracing, stickers, and texture rubbings to name a few.  Learning these words in an array of contexts through the use of a variety of materials and modalities helps young brains truly internalize the words, rather than simply “getting through it” with surface learning.  Through this hands-on approach, we are interacting and manipulating these words, learning them forwards and backwards, upside-down and inside out!  Whoever said “learning can’t be fun” is welcome to join us in Kindergarten for some exciting sight word activities!

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Leaf Learning!

This fall, the preschoolers in Farmington enjoyed daily outdoor play and learning!  They learned all about how, why, and when leaves change colors and fall from trees. This science learning helped strengthen their basic understanding of plant life that will eventually be the grounds for school biology lessons.  They also added some basic physics with one of their favorite activities, using the parachute!  First they worked together to gather the leaves onto the parachute, then they worked together to overcome gravity and send the fallen leaves back up into the sky.

The preschoolers loved watching the fall leaves fly up and cascade down as they shook the parachute with their friends.  This parachute activity encourages cooperative play and reinforces turn-taking and sharing.  There are many social skills promoted by using the parachute. In this non-competitive social interaction, the children must listen and cooperate with their teachers and peers in order to make the parachute billow, sending the leaves up and away.  Not only did this activity promote social, language, and science learning but it also strengthened the muscles in the children’s upper body.  Often, gross motor activities for preschool children develop the muscles in the children’s lower body but parachute activities require the use of shoulder, arm, and hand muscles.

This activity incorporates many different types of learning and promotes many different developmental skills; plus the children had a wonderful time seeing the fall leaves in action!

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Columbus Creations!

The Greece school-age children celebrated Columbus Day by socially enjoying their time together and making a special holiday snack. They first mixed blue Jello and let it solidify in their bowls. Then, boats were created out of apple wedges.  Masts for the vessels were created with tooth picks and flags, which were individually designed to add to the masts.  When the boats were completed, they were placed on the “Jello” ocean, which was filled with gummy fish and sharks.

Besides learning about Columbus with the children’s left side of their brain through reading and teacher input, this project also worked the right sides of their brains.  It is the right brain that is primarily used when a child is involved in creative projects, such as making art.  By stimulating and exercising the right brain, the arts strengthen the connection between the hemispheres.  Children of all ages should be exposed to the arts as their cognitive skills mature so that their right brain will be as developed as the left, and both hemispheres work in tandem to achieve the full potential of their minds!


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