Communicating with others is done in many ways. Experience Curriculum did a fantastic job of giving us so many super fun Make & Play crafts.
One of the most popular is with a phone. We made cell phones. They decorated the back of them just like a fancy phone cover. We glued on the number pad and they made a phone book. It was so fun watching them use their phones. They were all taking pictures of each other. And they posed for the pictures.
A child’s imagination is a grand thing!
Another Make & Play for communication with others was a computer. They loved making laptops. They decorated the outside and one boy decided he wanted to draw his own picture on the inside instead of using the picture provided.
They played with them the rest of the day. They emailed each other and shopped online. It was really funny to hear the roll play. They would tell someone “I sent you a message!” One girl told her friend “Stop sending me so many messages!”
The children took their computers home but it was so fun that I want to have it as a play option daily. We have some extra supplies that I’m going to make a few more for them to use, along with some extra cell phones. I am contemplating laminating them to make them hold up longer.
Sometimes pretend play is a whole lot more fun AND beneficial than technology. I encourage you to give it a try.
While learning about how we communicate with each other, we talked about sending and receiving mail! That is somewhat of a lost art but we should bring it back.
The children decorated the front of a postcard, we get one each month in our curriculum. The older children write a small note to someone special on the other side and chose someone to mail it to. Each day we have a coloring picture that has our daily topic in English and Spanish.
Those were the highlights of the week. Next week we will be wrapping up our Friends & Feeling unit and preparing for our October theme!
We fully believe that everyone, children and adults alike, thrive with a routine. But we also believe in spontaneity and changing things up if we see the need for greater learning or a child would benefit from it. We have created these schedules for our classes as a guide. These are updated schedules as of 9/14/21.
The first four weeks of school we played around with the new routine and getting used to some new ways off doing things. We found what works for our group and what doesn't. We made some changes to our schedule because of that. That is the beauty of how our school is able to function and change to meet each student's needs.
Our Morning Classes have all the academic subjects before lunch time and it allows you to add some extra curricular activities to the afternoon and evening to round out their week. Find the ones that your child really enjoys and wants to participate in. We don't always do every subject each day during the 9:45-11:30 time frame. Some days a student may want to do extra of a subject and we will let them. That may mean they will do a different subject in it's place the following day. If a student is really enjoying an activity or subject and wants to dig a bit deeper, we encourage that. A child learns best when it is something they are excited and curious about. A student is never behind here because we work at their pace. We have found that children thrive in that type of environment. They often exceed typical standards. We do encourage them to do more but never force it if we see them struggling or getting frustrated. We allow them to take breaks and come back to it when they are ready.
This approach is more of a homeschool approach and we have found it works best with our own children and the many that we have taught over the years.
Our Full Day Classes are available on a case by case basis, mostly for working parents. The children have the same schedule as the morning classes but we serve lunch at noon after the morning students depart. They have a quiet time, a second outside time and more center and table top activities to fill the afternoon before departing.
On Fridays, the children will be rewarded for their hard work all week. We will play board games or card games. We will change them up each week so they learn how to play a variety off games as we find the ones they enjoy the most. We will play the regular games we all enjoyed as children mixed with some fun learning games.
There may be Fridays were we have a school party and do a movie at naptime. Or we may decide to create with small Legos the entire day! Fridays will be our fun day, no matter what we decide to do. Our basic plan is to have a game day. There may be games a longer amount of time than on our schedule. We will play Friday by ear each week. If you have a fun game to suggest, please let us know!
We are excited for this new school year and all the changes that come with it. Our curriculum is working out great and we are slowly adding in new subjects and elements to our classes.
If you would like to schedule a tour for your student, we do have some morning class options available. We schedule tours on certain Saturday mornings.
We spent the week talking about different feelings. The main ones that our Experience Curriculum focused on were Happy, Sad, Mad, Surprised and Scared.
We made mirrors for our Make & Play activity. We talked about how our face changes when we feel different emotions. We practiced making those faces. They were each given a large wavy craft stick, a blue card stock rectangle and a small mirror board. They decorated the craft stick and the blue card stock before gluing everything together. We added some small pieces of tape to hold the mirror board down because it wasn't sticking around the corners as well as we needed it to.
They used markers because, well, they LOVE markers! You can use anything you want. You can use sequence or glitter if you want. These kids pick markers over just about anything, except paint.
In our Creative Corner we made Picasso Portraits. They really got a kick out of the inspiration photo with the face all mixed up. The children used a mirror to look at their own faces. We talked about the features they saw and about the shapes our faces are made up of.
They were each given a background paper and we divided up our different shape pieces on two cookie sheets so each child could pick the ones they wanted to use. They were encouraged to make a face or whatever they wanted with the shapes. One of the first graders made something that looked like a face at the end of the project. The others wanted to add more shapes and they didn't look as much like a face when they were done. But with this activity, like all of our Invitation to Create projects, we don't stop them from doing their own thing.
Each month we learn three new letters and Experience Curriculum includes a Little Letter Book for each one. Each book has four simple pages to color. The cover has the upper and lower case letter and a place for the child's name. We staple the booklets together. You can choose to let the children get some cutting practice in or you can cut it and staple them before the children arrive. This is just one of the literacy tools included in our curriculum each month. At the end of the school year, the children will have booklets for the entire alphabet.
This month, the kids didn't just get the monthly journal. They also got a Feelings Book. They were encouraged to draw a picture on each page of the different emotions. We like to keep our journals ready to work on throughout the month, so we had those out at the same time. We enjoy giving the children the freedom to work as much or as little in them during our table time. This book will also be used throughout the month. Both will be sent home at the end of week four.
We started out our month of Friends & Feelings talking about Making Friends! Even our youngest students understand just how important having and being a good friend is. One day we made Friend Puppets. Some kids made clothes for their puppets and some just used markers to color on it. and some only put eyes on them. We just let them do it however they chose.
An Invitation to Create activity was the I Am Special Tree. They each started out with their hand/arm as the trunk and branches. Then they had to decided what kind of tree to make. We were given large red circles so once they were finished with the trees they all wanted to add the red circles to them.
There were several students out this week. I am going to give the other students an opportunity to complete this activity because it is one I want to have in everyone's portfolio. I will be putting together a special combination of activities for each child to have at the end off the school year. Each week I will pick one or two things to add to it.
Experience Curriculum offers several resources that we can download each month. It is only available to those who have purchase that month's curriculum. One off them is 20 coloring pictures that go along with each day's theme. We change up what we use to color them with. Sometimes it is crayons, colored pencils, markers and sometimes water colors. We use this as a transition activity so teachers can get the next big project ready while they color. We talk about the days topic while they are coloring the picture.
We have so many different learning activities that the children work with while we are helping other students in the upper grades. Our kinder and first grade classes sit at the big table and we take turns instructing and guiding each student where they are. We don't make them rush to be caught up or ahead of other students.
We had our first graders use the Word Building Blocks to spell their spellings words or any word they wanted. When they needed help, we would assist them. I think they enjoy this was because it is similar to actual lego blocks. It is great because the red are vowels and the blue are consonants. I think it is great when they want to know why Y isn't red since "sometimes y" is part off what they learned. I have to remind them it says "sometimes" not always.
Next week we will be talking about Feelings. We will also be talking about how the children can help others understand what they are feelings and healthy ways to deal with it.