Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Felt Scraps, Felt Art

My family went for a quick trip to visit 
Great Grandma and Great Auntie at the Ocean recently.  

We enjoyed some time at the ocean of course and ate fish and chips by the waters edge.  It tastes better that way it seems.

Part of visiting always includes a bit of confusion as things get figured out.  Where are we going?  Who wants to go?  Who's driving?   Who's riding in what car?  What time are we leaving? And on it goes.  I thought that the youngest member of our family took it all in stride quite well.

As part of down time she had fun looking in Great Grandma's closet and finding some different toys in there.  One thing she found was a craft that I made for young cousins many years ago, before I could believe that I might have a lovely little grand-daughter who loves art and creativity.

I had a box that held tea once upon a time.  I hot glued a piece of felt on the lid and also glued a frame around it.  Then I set to work cutting many shapes of all sizes.  I also cut some sea creatures, the parts of a boat, some flowers and trees etc.  Just enough to get the imagination going I hoped.

This little girl played with the felts for a long time and re-visited it many times during the week-end.

Here is some of her art.

Mommy and Nanny had fun too.

The idea for this originated from Susan Munzer's book,
  Learn to Play, Play to Learn.

It Takes Teamwork.

It was her idea, she said.  And then he made it happen. 
 That's team work at it's best.

 In the world of Early Childhood Education, in our one little toddler room, we rely on team work.

I set things up and put things away, she cleans the fish tank, she re-stocks the cupboards with kleenex. We all have jobs and tasks that we are naturally drawn to.  Soon the room is running smoothly because everyone is pitching in.

Of course, sometimes we have to push ourselves to do the things we like less, that goes along with the territory.

When parents join the team, we as staff, get really excited.  Our team gets stronger that way.

One of our parents has taken on the task of weed wacking the grass this year, as needed.  I don't know about your situation, but here if we don't do it, it doesn't get done.  Unless a parents volunteers!

We are so grateful for our volunteers!

Recently we had some creative parents make a donation.  She with the idea and he as the doer.  Look what they made!

DIY Construction Safety Vests!

Over the head.

Pop an arm through.  
(Excuse the fuzzy pics as I was the helper and photographer! Where was my team?  Oh yeah, I was by myself that day.)

Fasten the velcro.

Get to work!

Safety first!

This was made by cutting out a piece of double sided felt.  The reflective band was hot glued on the bottom with some velcro fasteners!  
Well done parents!  Thank you so much!  

Our little construction worker toddlers love them, of course, and wear them all day!

Monday, 27 July 2015

Programming made Easy.

It all started with the book,  Road Builders by B.G. Hennessy. 

The interest was obvious and undeniable.  I love when its that easy to know what to set up and put out for the toddlers to play with. As they read the book over and over, they wanted to know more.  They wanted details.  They noticed that some workers had hard hats and some did not.  They noticed that Buddy the Boss had a map and made a plan for the new road.  They learned the names of construction vehicles.

 The toddlers were interested in construction in  the fall and they were still interested in the spring.  The interest was not always intense but it was consistent.  

We put construction things out in a construction area.  It was a big space so they could do what they needed to do.  We gave them large and small dump trucks.  Blocks and loose parts for loading.  Orange cones.  A few helmets.  Ramps.  

One day I took a few things away and added in some different things.  Interest renewed and quickened.

New maps!  I taped three or four to each table.  I put our a felt marker on each.

I gathered all of the match box size construction vehicles I could find and put them out.

I borrowed some hollow blocks from the 3-5's.  

Look at the math that is happening here.  He figures out that the block fits better one way than the other.  

I figured out that these hollow blocks in the hands of the toddlers is a form of risk taking.  They are heavy and they have to use a lot of muscle power to move and stack them.

We try to observe and follow the children's lead in terms of programming in our room.  We have found this to be effective.  They show interest in something,  and we facilitate their learning by providing the means for them to play and work out their interest. 

One day I took four toddlers on a walk with a group of 3-5's.  We went by a campus directory map.  Guess what?  The toddlers were so excited to see the map!  They had learned about maps from the Road Builders book and were able to apply that knowledge in a very real and practical way.  

Sunday, 5 July 2015

Soccer Saturday.

My grand-daughter expressed an interest in playing soccer. In fact one day she said that when she grows up she wants to be, " an airplane pilot, a soccer player, a woman and a cook. Four things I want to be."

So back in the spring her parents signed her up for a beginner soccer class.  She is four years old and they thought she would like it.  Fast forward to July and her first Soccer Saturday is pending.  The only problem is, is that she doesn't want to go.  Fears have set in.  What if there are not enough balls?  What if someone takes my ball away from me?  Her parents patiently acknowledged her feelings, answered her questions and she agrees to go.

All children are different.  Some will jump right into a new situation with confidence, others need to have a few more details and perhaps reference points before they can start a new thing.  This little girl likes to have information and know what is going to happen in advance.  Fortunately she has parents who understand this and are very supportive.  What a difference that support made.  It enabled her to go to her first soccer class and be successful.

Her coach invites the children to bring a parent and they have a quick meeting before they begin their practice.

Lots of balls!

Practising her kicking!

Water break.

Check in with Mom.

She was proud of herself for being brave.  She had fun.  

Next Saturday should be just fine.