COUNTRY FUN

~ early education care ~ where our play supports our learning

June 22, 2016
by countryfun
Comments Off on Control in Picking Up

Control in Picking Up

What is control? What is the value of having said “control”?

I originally posted on this in 2011, but find it’s a good topic to repost on. When working with young children I think it’s always good practice to reflect on what we expect and the why. That’s easier to do on planning activities, but what about “clean-up”.

Reflecting on what could I have done differently in planning activities for the day I think about the interactions between the children and myself, what materials were being used, time spent on activities, questions asked, expanded learning opportunities, and where it all fits with development. I questioned if they would have benefited by bringing in other materials? Maybe more controlled movement activities? More quiet play?…. Where I believe that children learn best through their own directed play, did I honored what they were requesting?

These questions have been my guide for years. However, one night as I’m thinking things through while picking up the play space I started thinking down another avenue. Toys were scattered around everywhere. In picking up I caught myself reorganizing even what they had picked up before leaving. I stopped myself.

Why was I reorganizing these toys?

They were in baskets and off the floor, what value was there to being in baskets sorted into like items? What was important here – picked up as I asked or in the “right” basket as I defined “right”?

I want the children here to develop responsibility on all levels and part of that is taking care of the toys and materials used during our days. I provide ways and places for this organization to occur that I think make sense, are easy to use and kid friendly. Do I also need it organized like I would? The answer is no.

What I realized then and continue to believe is that it’s important that they picked up, but they do not care that they are mixed together. So who is it that cares if the musical instruments are in with the kitchen tools? I realized I don’t. All those times I reorganized those baskets – no more. The toys will be played with tomorrow, mixed together in a totally different way by happy involved children. That is what is important to me.

I think this response gives control where it needs to be. I want a clean, safe space with children taking responsibility. They will follow through on that – just picking up and placing in the closest basket, because more isn’t important to them at this developmental stage.

These are the types of questions we need to ask ourselves when interacting with young children as teachers and parents. What is the purpose of our requests of them – pick up, wear certain clothes, follow rules, etc.? Our answers will all be different. Through raising my own children and over 28 years in child care I have often said “pick your battles”. Children need to have opportunities to “control” their environment and personal choices. How can I offer these opportunities?

No more sorting of the general toy baskets for me, but playdough will not be allowed in the table drawers. It does need to be put away in it’s lidded containers. 🙂

May 16, 2016
by countryfun
Comments Off on It’s Rhubarb Time!

It’s Rhubarb Time!

We’re back in the garden! Harvesting from the rhubarb bed has started. That means lots of kitchen time with the children here. We’re using some of our favorite recipes which you can find in postings on Countryfun is Cooking. Just search “rhubarb”.

This morning we made the Rhubarb Muffins to have for our afternoon snack.  A quick, easy and tasty recipe that also freezes well.

I enjoy being in the kitchen with the children. So many learning opportunities and there is usually something unexpected. Let’s start with Reading – idea of written directions in a recipe, names on ingredient containers, alphabet identification

Team work – gathering of materials, positioning to watch and help, working with peers and adult

Language – ingredients, tools, techniques, questions raised and answers provided

2016_05_16_IMG_0110

Math, science and social studies –  measuring ingredients and counting. We also compare measuring tools and talk fractions. Smell for vinegar and vanilla. Taste brown sugar.

Where do eggs come from? Love getting the store as an answer:) More discussion on eggs coming from chickens with the farmer bringing to the store. Even better answer of “Ducks!”

More science as oil and milk blend. Then brown sugar dissolving in liquid. Flour going from dry to wet as we mix ingredients together and finally the baking. More math when we set oven temp and time the baking.

2016_05_16_IMG_0114

Did you notice we used 3 different sized spoons in today’s baking? One of the children did. Thankfully he commented on the difference size handles, so I could take advantage of the observation for more learning. So of course we had a closer comparison of the 3 spoons for bowl size, handle length and a discussion on why they worked better for the reasons used for today. Largest for mixing. Middle for scooping dough for muffins. Smallest for scraping dough off scooping spoon.

2016_05_16_IMG_0113

Last counting for this morning equaled 24. The recipe made 2 dozen muffins loaded with rhubarb – one very healthy and underused early spring vegetable.

2016_05_16_IMG_0115

March 21, 2016
by countryfun
Comments Off on Exploring Usage of Seesaw: The Learning Journal

Exploring Usage of Seesaw: The Learning Journal

I have been using technology tools for years in documenting the learning that occurs here. With new apps and programs being developed this usage has continued to evolve.

Screen Shot 2016-03-21 at 1.18.59 PMI have just recently been introduced to Seesaw: The Learning Journal a student driven digital portfolio. I didn’t initially explore this app very far because I saw it as student driven and I wasn’t sure how it could be used with my young group. Lucky for me as part of pulling together a workshop for other providers about e-Portfolios I was connected with an early grades teacher who uses Seesaw with her group. From First hand knowledge she was able to explain that yes the students have an ownership, but the teacher also can easily post. The other part is that parent have direct access to their child’s acct. Loved seeing that this app would involve teacher documentation, student direct engagement in their learning and parent involvement.

So…………

  • I have set up an account for our class.
  • The classroom QRS is posted!
  • I’m watching tutorial videos to get as good a handle on how I can efficiently use this within our space, especially in teaching the children to take responsibility for documenting the learning that’s important to them.
  • I’ve started documenting and posting to student accounts.
  • Once I get a few more posts up and organize the student accounts, I’ll be sending home the invite to parents/guardians to access their child’s portfolio.

 

Believing that the connection with families is very important to a child’s development, being able to find alternative ways for this engagement to happen is important to me. With Seesaw families will be notified of updates to their child’s Seesaw journal. They will not have to remember to periodically check into the current e-Portfolios.

Screen Shot 2016-03-21 at 1.05.12 PM

Knowing the connection that has currently been built through Country Fun’s social media platforms, I expect Seesaw’s immediate, visual updates to actually get viewed by parents.  This will allow for more informed discussion with both me as teacher and their child.

So………..

Parents be on the lookout for that invite to Seesaw………thinking within the week.

October 15, 2015
by countryfun
Comments Off on Combining Our Movement Sticks and Books

Combining Our Movement Sticks and Books

With young children we know it is of benefit to have activities that will support them in getting their bodies moving and they need to be read to daily. There are a good number of books that have a movement component to them that allow for creative expansion activities.

Here are my go to books that have a movement component to them:

  • Wriggly Pig by Jon Blake
  • Tumble Bumble by Felicia Bond
  • Silly Sally by Audrey Wood
  • Clap Your Hands by Lorinda Bryan Cauley
  • Shake My Sillies Out by Raffi

Activities can be as simple as acting out the characters’ movements to using something like our Movement Sticks. These also make a great 5-10 minute movement activity that helps break up more structured activities, works for transition time and just for the fun of doing.

The Movement Sticks are simple and low cost. Take colored jumbo craft sticks and glue movement idea strips to them.

You can pre-make or have the children provide the movement ideas and help to glue up the sticks. You could also write them out, but I’ve found printed out and glued, last longer. Ideas can also be added as favorite actions change with the group.

Following are the movement ideas from our sticks:

  • pretend hula hooping
  • walk backwards
  • jump backwards
  • frog jumps
  • wiggle worm
  • highest leap
  • helicopters
  • jump sideways
  • ants in your pants
  • walk sideways
  • twisting toe touch
  • hop one foot then other
  • silly walk
  • jumping jacks
  • tree in a stormy wind
  • giant steps
  • head, shoulders, knees, toes
  • jump in a circle
  • two foot jumps
  • pretend on balance beam
  • pretend to pedal a bike
  • egg rock and roll
  • side stretches
  • jack in the box
  • run in place
  • tree in a breeze
  • dance
  • pretend climbing stairs
  • leg swing right, then left
  • pretend bowling
  • hop like a rabbit
  • touch your toes

For a printable list click this link.

March 5, 2015
by countryfun
Comments Off on Colors and Shapes are Starting

Colors and Shapes are Starting

There has been a lot of random labeling of colors and shapes within our play recently. By random I mean the children are just trying out the labels without correctly applying them. This is a group that also gravitates to puzzles. To observe the knowledge base, I pulled out an activity using these interests that would provide me with a chance to see color and shape working together.

I video taped all interaction during the activity. Here’s a chance to see our starting point. I’ll be reviewing and pulling goals for future activities.

(warning this video is around 12 minutes in length)

M4H06326 from Country Fun Child Care on Vimeo.

January 13, 2015
by countryfun
Comments Off on Snaps of Our Days

Snaps of Our Days

A good part of my day is spent observing. This means I am watching and noting what individual children are doing, what groups of children are doing, how the space is working for the activities of current interest, what are those current interests…..just to start. I have found that having visual documentation of what I am seeing helps greatly in this. Many of the photos and video taken are posted separately for more detail about the activity or project.

But every now and then I like to just provide you with some of the snaps I’ve taken throughout the last few weeks………………..

Snow play means angels and shovels for toddlers and preschoolers…

DSC06057 DSC06051

Playing Doctor…….learning how the tools work….

DSC06030 DSC06038

Building forts……..DSC06074  DSC06076

Building towers…….

DSC06018 DSC06024  DSC06020  or exploring balance …..DSC06035

a visit from a hawk (to the feeders we watch daily)…..DSC06014

art & math – shape collage …DSC06033

math & science – shape graphing…DSC06048

sound exploration…DSC06007

body parts movement game (helping to get it made, so we can play)…DSC06064

lot’s of kitchen time…using tools, tasting, set-up and clean-up ….DSC06070

Little People are still of major interest…

DSC06039

Fixing the climbing gym is a close second…

DSC06025

Learning to watch out for and include the littlest one who is now totally mobile….

DSC06027

March 6, 2014
by countryfun
Comments Off on Language Basics?

Language Basics?

DSC04026

Having mixed ages in the program means I always have many developmental levels here at any given time. Language/speech is always an area where discussions on development and possible concerns are occurring with parents. I have my training in language development, but am always on the look out for relevant and understandable information to pass along to families.
This blog article from Twodaloo , a speech-language pathologist, clearly defines language, speech and communication.

I love how she starts from the belief point that before one can begin working to support a child’s language development, there needs to be a basic understanding of what language actually is. Makes sense doesn’t it, but how many of us understand the difference between language and speech?

That is what this series on Language Basics is going to support or develop our knowledge about.

I have enjoyed reading all the posting in this series. (Click here for a direct link to all postings.) On the same page you can also link to articles on developing language through sensory play, music and art.

I look forward to discussing any questions or points raised through these readings with you.

Subscribe By Email

Get every new post delivered right to your inbox.

Please prove that you are not a robot.

Skip to toolbar