Letter Learning!

Most children begin recognizing some letters between the ages of 2 and 3.  The first step in teaching the alphabet is getting children interested in listening to stories read from books. Having a print rich environment and singing alphabet songs also supports this learning!

There are many fun ways to introduce children to individual letters.  The Greece toddlers have had fun exploring the shape and sounds of letters by using an alphabet board.  The teacher created two identical copies of the alphabet, gluing one on a poster board displayed on the wall.  The other set, she cut out as separate pieces.  Using Velcro on both sets, the letters can be matched and attached to each other by the toddlers.

When children are using the board, they can trace the shape of the letter with their finger while the teacher helps to make the sound of the letter and give examples of words that begin with the letter.   This interactive learning promotes small motor, eye coordination, and cognitive development all at once!



Large Muscle Play!

The physical benefits of play are numerous and important no matter what time of year it is!  At Care-a-lot, we have inside space for gross motor play when the winter weather outside is frightfully cold or snowy.

Children grow strong and healthy bodies when they engage in activities that require them to work their muscles, heart, and lungs. As a child at play learns to reach, crawl, walk, run, climb, jump, throw, catch, and balance, gross motor skills are developed and maintained.

Through the repetition of basic physical skills in play, children perfect their abilities and become competent in increasingly difficult physical tasks. The rough and tumble of active play facilitates children’s coordination between brain signals and body movement. Hand-eye coordination is also improved through play, as well as the development of strong, agile muscles.

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Animal Encounters!

The Henrietta preschoolers enjoyed some special guests brought to the center by Teacher Amy this past fall.  For “show and share”, Amy brought in her pet rabbits and hens, which provided a new opportunity for learning at Care-a-lot!

To begin the visit with each animal, the class talked about and practiced quiet, gentle behavior so that the new, fluffy friends wouldn’t be scared.  Having an experience with real, live animals is so much more exciting and sensory-filled than reading about them in books!

As each one was comfortable, the children were able to see, smell, and feel the hens and rabbits. They learned how the animals are held and how to appropriately pet them, from head to tail.  They also learned about and examined the feed for each animal.  Hens and rabbits don’t eat just carrots and lettuce!

The visit was made magical when the hen laid her very first egg at Care-a-lot!  Now that is first-hand experiential learning!




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Snow Play!

To experience the first snow of the season, the toddlers at the Greece center enjoyed hands-on play and discovery when snow was brought into their classroom in bins. Containers and scooping materials were then used for them to fill and dump the snow.

As the snow softened, they learned that they could pack the snow and even tried building a snow man!  Snow offers numerous opportunities for science observations.  As the children played with it, they observed the snow melting and changing form into water.

Sensory experiences, like snow time, also allow concrete examples for using new words.  Describing the snow with words like cold, slippery, icy, and crunchy encourage the children to expand their vocabulary.  With this being the start of the snowy season, many more opportunities will be available for learning and playing with snow this winter!

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