TRF PreK Week of September 23

Dear Families,

I hope you had a great weekend.  I loved the rain on Saturday (it’s my favorite weather!) but was happy to see the sun back on Sunday for the school BBQ!

I’ve enjoyed getting to know your children over the past weeks and am getting a sense of the schedule and activities that will work best for our class. In just a few short weeks the children seem more comfortable at school and are getting a sense of the routine and activities available.  They have made new friends and all have their favorite area to play and explore!  As a reminder, the roster is available on the school website if you would like to set up play dates with other families from the class.

Sometimes our free choice time can seem long to us as adults, but it is so valuable to the children.  At the general meeting next week we will talk more about the value of long, uninterrupted play time and what the children are gaining from it.

This week during circle and small group we will:

  • Go on a rainbow scavenger hunt and sort and graph the colors in the rainbow
  • Cut out & decorate paper super hero capes for puppets
  • Draw a picture of what we want to learn about this year
  • Make ooblick using cornstarch and colorful water.
  • Sing our 5 Little Monkey song and take turns being Mr. Alligator (they loved this last week!)
  • Read What Makes a Rainbow , Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site, and Jump Frog Jump

We will also have our first fire drill this week.  Since this is our first one I will explain the procedure to the children and let them know our plan in advance.

I’m looking forward to seeing everyone tomorrow! As always, please don’t hesitate to email or talk with me after school if you have any questions.

Sarah

Welcome to TRF PreK!

Dear Families,

I’m so excited to start school tomorrow and hope you and your children are too!

We will meet for our circle time first thing in the morning.  Tomorrow will be a welcome day as many of the children in our class are new to Valley Parent and others haven’t seen each other in a while and will want to catch up.  We’ll spend our first few days getting used to our PreK routine, learning about the different areas in the school, and learning how to use the many supplies and items in the classroom.

Tomorrow during small group we will learn about the various art and work materials in the activity area and the children will get a chance to create and explore.  We will also sing songs and read a funny story called Aliens in Underpants Save the World!  It always becomes a class favorite that we read multiple times!

On Friday we will do a fun obstacle course in the back yard using the monkey bars, tricycles, balls, balance beam and slides.  We will read the book Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do you See? and use our pictures to make a class book called Friend, Friend, Who do you See?  to help us learn each other’s names. We will talk about our school rules – (Be Safe, Be Kind, Have Fun!) and of course there will be more music and movement.

I’m really looking forward to our first week of school and will see you in the morning!  As always, please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.

Warmly,

Sarah

 

Pumpkin Pie Cups

Here is the recipe for the yummy pumpkin pie cups the TThF kids made today!

Pumpkin Pie Cups

Ingredients

  • 2 small packages of instant vanilla pudding
  • 1 1/3 cups milk
  • 1 16oz can of pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
  • 1 1/2t. pumpkin pie spice or cinnamon
  • 2 cups of unsweetened whip cream
  • Graham crackers

Directions

  • Smash up a large graham cracker and place at the bottom of a cup
  • Mix pudding and milk until just blended
  • Stir in pumpkin, pumpkin pie spice and whip cream
  • Scoop pumpkin mix on top of crust
  • Refrigerate for 10 minutes.

October 22 TThF Pre-k Update

Dear Families,

It’s raining!  This is my favorite weather so I’m happy to see the forecast calls for a few more rainy days.  Please send your child with rain boots and a rain jacket if possible as we do make parts of the yard available to the children on wet days.  It’s great to explore the yard in different weather and see how the rain changes things.  Worms come out in the dirt, the sand makes great castles, and rain drops lead to all sort of cool experiments! Of course, splashing in puddles is fun too :)

Last week we continued to use the unifix cubes to measure and sort things. The children really enjoy this.  We read a funny ghost story, made ghost prints with our hands and feet, and wrote our own spooky and silly stories.  We also read The Little Old Lady that was not Afraid of Anything and acted it out using props.

At circle we’ve started using the children’s names instead of BINGO to sing our song.  The children enjoy having their turn in the spotlight and it’s a great way to begin introducing the letters in each of their names. It is also a great exercise in patience as we do just 2 or 3 names a day.  They’re doing a wonderful job waiting for their turn!

Another favorite felt story/chant is This is Jack.  If you’ve worked recently, you have probably heard us doing it over and over and over and over…..  They LOVE it!  I’ve decided to build on their enthusiasm and use this story to plan our weeks activities.  Over the next few days each child will cut our and decorate their happy, sad, sleepy and mad Jack as well as their “pieces small” and on Thursday we will make pumpkin pie cups because as our song says “in a pie he’s best of all!”  Here are the words if you’d like to say it with your child at home.

This is Jack-o-Happy

This is Jack-o-Sad

This is Jack-o-Sleepy

This is Jack-o-Mad

This is Jack in pieces small

But in a pie he’s best of all!

On Friday we will bake pumpkin muffins during free choice time and paint and decorate mini pumpkins during our small group time.

Tuesday morning I am driving on a field trip with my son’s second grade class.  We’re headed to Trader Joe’s for a behind the scenes tour.  Tess will be subbing for me for the first part of the day and I will be back for most of small group.

Please remember to take a few minutes to fill out our fall survey.  Your comments and thoughts are valuable and we appreciate you taking the time to share them with us!  http://vpp.wufoo.com/forms/vpp-fall-survey-2012/

I’m looking forward to seeing all of you tomorrow!

Sarah

TThF Pre-K News

Hello TThF Families,

It finally feels like fall and the perfect weather for our trip to the Pumpkin Patch on Tuesday!  Remember we will meet at G&M Farms rain or shine at 9:15.  We will start at the hay bales by the parking lot and set off on our hay ride at 9:30.  After that you and your child will be able to explore the patch at your own pace.  VPP pays for each student to get a corn, gourd and pumpkin.  If you would like to purchase additional items you are welcome to do so that day.  There will not be a sign in/out sheet as each parent is responsible for their own child during the trip.  If you choose to bring a snack for your child, please make sure it is NUT FREE!

During free choice time these past few weeks I have observed some wonderful role playing by children in our class.  In the sandbox kitchen we have a group of bakers hard at work measuring, pouring, scooping, and negotiating turn taking with materials and how to share a space with groups of people with different ideas.  What great practice for living with a roommate or spouse in the future!  They make cakes and pies out of sand, water and apples from our tree, teach cooking classes and share their recipes.

In the sand we have a group of children who use tents, tires and tubes to blast off in to outer space as aliens and live on the moon and Mars…though don’t be surprised if they tell you they are actually making a movie and only some days are really aliens.

In the block room (and beyond) we have children that enjoy building towers out of magna tiles and trains headed to far off places, as well as children playing family and take turns being the moms, dads, children and family pets (with the occasional jaguar and dinosaur thrown in for the more adventurous!).  They pack suitcases, take trips, cook family meals in the play dough, and especially enjoy pretending to be adults in charge!

To build on the excitement I see developing I will be adding additional materials the children may like to use as they explore…some cook books and travel books in the library, recipe cards and tickets at the writing table, flour sifting in the kitchen, boxes and tubes to add on to the space ship, a camera as needed for filming their movie, and shaving cream “frosting” to decorate cake shapes.

This month the children will also have the opportunity to role play in additional ways.  Our wonderful curriculum committee has transformed part of the block room in to a Dr’s office, part of the garden area in to a pumpkin patch, and the wooded structure outside in to a fire truck!

Role playing is important for children as it allows them to build their social skills, use their imagination and creativity, negotiate and problem solve, see their world from a different perspective, work through situations that may frighten or worry them, and try on different roles that they may take on as they get older.

During small group this week we will do a drawing and dictation about our favorite part of the pumpkin patch, sort, weigh, measure and group pumpkins, gourds and corn, do an sink or float experiment with different parts of the pumpkin, and make a book to go with the 5 Little Pumpkins finger play that we learned.

Enjoy your weekend and I look forward to seeing you on Tuesday at the Pumpkin Patch!

Sarah

TThF Pre-K

Hello Families,

It was good to be back together at school today. I am loving our class and how enthusiastic they are about the different things we do.  Our small group circle is my favorite part of the day and I hope they are enjoying it as well.  Last week we learned the remaining verses of Hickory Dickory Dock, and this week we are learning Hey Diddle Diddle.  Ask your children about the silly rhyme and see if they can teach it to you.

During our first few weeks of school we worked on positional words (in/out, above/below, front/back, top/bottom etc.)  Today we started working on sorting and classifying.  The children used their pincher grasp to peel small stickers and sort them by color, and we sorted small dogs by both their color and their shape.  We will continue sorting items based on their different attributes (color, size, shape etc.) and will discuss how many things are similar and different.

There are a number of way your child can practicing sorting at home while helping you as well.  Some ideas are sorting laundry into lights and darks, putting the silverware away when you empty the dishwasher (sorting the forks, knives and spoons), picking up items that need to be put away around the house and sorting them by which family member they belong to etc.  Sorting and classifying objects by their different attributes is an important part of the foundation they will need for more complex math later on.

I look forward to seeing you all at our first general meeting on Wednesday night. The speaker sounds great!

Warmly,

Sarah

TThF Pre-K News – September 17th

Hello TThF Families,

We had a wonderful first week of school and I can already tell what a wonderful class we are going to have.  The children are enthusiastic and did so well during out first two days.  They especially enjoyed singing BINGO with our felt story on Thursday & Friday and requested it for this week as well.

If you happen to be working with our class while we are singing this song, watch the amount of learning that is taking place. It’s pretty amazing!  By using the props on our felt board the children are engaging in letter and sound recognition, visual tracking as we move from letter to letter in Bingo’s name, adding and subtracting as we take away letters and add in claps, hearing rhythm and beat, and practicing taking turns (and being patient!) as they wait for their turn to flip over a letter. And this is just one of the many songs we sing throughout the week!

During their time at school the children will enjoy participating in many different activities; some individually and some as part of a group.  Each opportunity is designed with a plan and a purpose in mind.  I’ll do my best to explain the “why” behind much of what we do in class, but if you ever have questions, please feel free to ask!

Last week during small groups we cut out and decorated paper fish which will be used as our beginning of the year cutting sample, played a “Guess What is Missing” game in the library with the art materials, read, Llama, Llama Misses Mama, which is about Llama’s first day of school, did an exciting science experiment with baking soda and primary colored vinegar (yay for carbon dioxide and the super fun bubbles it makes!), and learned the nursery rhyme Hickory Dickory Dock with rhythm sticks.

We will be learning a new nursery rhyme or chant every week, often using clapping, tapping or various items such a rhythm sticks, shakers or drums to help us separate each part (syllable) of a word.  Nursery Rhymes are a great way to help develop phonemic awareness (the ability to hear, identify, and manipulate individual sounds in words) which is necessary as children prepare to read when they are older.

I’m looking forward to another fun week together!

Miss Sarah