October 20, 2011
Dear Pre-K Families,
It has been a busy month in Pre-k! The children have enjoyed the dramatic play area being a fire station. We would put paper flames on a classroom object then call the dispatcher to report the fire. The big ideas we practiced are that you have to say where the fire is so the firefighters know where to go and, most importantly, they need to tell the person to “get out and stay out”. We used the smart board to play a computer game about how to be safe around things at home that are electric, hot or could start a fire. The class also played a math card game matching the amount of spots on a Dalmatian fire dog to the corresponding numeral. Team 4 worked on the letter F last week. We talked about the sound it makes, words that start with f and how to write the letter. We practiced writing it on paper. Practicing writing helps the children to learn the letter; I’m not concerned about handwriting. I ask the class to try their best, trace four letters (or more if they are comfortable with writing). They all worked so well independently that we had time to use the smart board and have each child write an F of their own for the class.
We have recently had to practice a “lockdown” drill similar to a fire drill but to secure the classroom rather than get out of the building. This kind of practice is important but is also very new to pre-k students. I try very hard to have the class understand that this is practice, to keep it light and not be scary. However, I also explain that there are times when it is very important to be quiet and listen so I can hear directions from Mr. Anton and then help them know what to do, just in case. We have to be prepared and although it makes me feel as if I am in the early 1960’s making the children take cover under their desks, it is unfortunately a necessary part of our world. This is why I also discourage pretend play with guns, shooting or fighting when at school. Team 4 is at the age where they can make the distinction between school and home more easily and (from experience) I feel this is an appropriate habit to establish from the outset.
This week we learned about pumpkins, which involved several techniques from the scientific method. One of my goals for pre-k is for the children to become active learners. Part of this is seeing themselves as scientists, whether it is observing the weather or testing out a prediction in an experiment. We tested our pumpkin to see if it would sink or float in water after watching a demonstration with some gourds. Yesterday, we scooped out the pulp and seeds from our pumpkin and sorted them into two groups. The children noticed that the inside of the pumpkin was squishy and wet. One student even noticed the membrane that the seeds are encased in; she said it was like a (plastic) baggie. We have read books about pumpkins that illustrate that like apples they grow from a flower. Pumpkins are green when they are little/young but as they ripen and grow up they become orange. Unlike apple, pumpkins grow on a vine. These are the main ideas I was hoping to impart to the class. I’ve attached a copy of The Five Little Pumpkins. Ask your child to show you the actions that go with the rhyme we learned this week. Team 4 will learn the letter Pp on Friday, of course!
A final few notes, Team 4 did an excellent job at school sing last Friday. This week we are not doing school sing but we’ll be back on 10/28 and then again on 11/12. We’ll be doing the second and last “all school sing” of each month. All of the “special” classes are up and running. I’ve had good reports from all the teachers. It is very nice for Team 3 to have the Pre-K space to themselves at times. Yesterday, each member of Team 3 was very busy, working/playing at our classroom centers.
Next week we will be learning about bats and nocturnal animals. I try to be somewhat low key about most holidays. The Dover School rule is no Halloween costumes. The children can be dressed festively if they wish, we’ll play pin the nose on the pumpkin and dance.