COUNTRY FUN

~ early education care ~ where our play supports our learning

December 12, 2017
by countryfun
Comments Off on Adapting a Tree Activity

Adapting a Tree Activity

For multiple reasons, I do not go all Santa for activities in Dec. A main reason is not everyone I’ve had in care over the years celebrated Santa. So in years past, I started looking for alternative lesson options. There are many out there. With this current group where abilities and developmental levels are very diverse, I figured that my evergreen tree lessons would work well. All families here this year have Christmas trees, so that also ties in well.

Evergreens are present in our yard, so it’s easy to get natural lessons in from a point of reference. You’ll see posts of some of our activities on Facebook, or specific to each child in their Seesaw portfolios. I’ve chosen to post on this activity here, because I wanted to explain how I adapt one lesson to meet a range of needs.

This lesson started with a large square sheet of paper that I purposely cut to make a large solid triangle. With a square find the mid-point on one side. Cut from that point to a corner on the opposite side. Cut from the mid-point to the other opposite corner.

You can fold, trace a line or I use my paper cutter.

The 2 cut off sections when glued together also make a large triangle.

It’s appropriate for the preschool age here to be working on scissor and tracing skills. Using the largest triangle and a wide ruler they can trace straight lines across the triangle. The initial direction was given about how to trace the lines and then to cut as close to the lines as possible. They will follow these lines for cutting practice.

While doing that the toddler was busy gluing the back of the 2 cut sections. I glued them in place. Then I provided a sheet of colorful dots (circles) for working fine motor and eye-hand coordination. We also had some crossing the midline because of working on the floor and reaching over to place the dots.

Once the oldest completed cutting along the lines, it was time to step into the next part of the lesson – size sequencing. Directions: lay out the cut sections largest to smallest. Once that was done the gluing began. Glue the pieces onto a larger sheet of paper to reform the triangle. Some children have to glue up tight, others will leave space. Here you can see the cut lines because a bit of space was left between each section.  Also got the colored dots.

When the intended lesson was done, as the interest was still present, I provided some additional star stickers. Always looking for ways to extend an activity as directed by the children.

All working in the same space with the same basic supplies. Each ended up with a decorated triangle tree that worked skills appropriate to their developmental level and needs.

 

 

March 16, 2017
by countryfun
Comments Off on Country Fun’s New Store

Country Fun’s New Store

As a teacher I’m always encouraging my young learners to try new things, explore, experiment, get messy and make mistakes. It’s a lesson I do my best to model for them. For me technology is where I find I’m definitely challenged, but ultimately rewarded when I push myself to engage.

I continually find today’s ever changing technology continues to allow new ways to support the children and families here – social media, Seesaw’s eportfolios or credit card payments.

In 2015, I made the decision to accept credit cards for payment. After researching pros and cons of options and the companies offering processing of credit card payment, I chose Square and have been happy with that choice. From all feedback it has been a positive for families here too.

Trying to answer a question that has recently arisen again, I decided to try out another avenue Square offers – so now there is a Country Fun Child Care store online.

This store has 4 products: full-time care, part-time care, Sibling care and parcel care. Prices are set, and there is a no return policy in place. 

Just because it’s available, free and easy to set-up, one might ask “What’s the value of a store for a family child care?”…….. hm………. maybe purchases of care being given as gifts………..

We’ll find out over time.

September 8, 2016
by countryfun
Comments Off on A Healthly Reminder

A Healthly Reminder

As we head into a season that seems to see more illness here’s a reminder:

original source:http://w2.cocokids.org/_cs/downloadables/cc-healthnutrition-keepmehome.pdf

June 28, 2016
by countryfun
Comments Off on Insect Safety Tips

Insect Safety Tips

Passing along this fact and tip sheet from PHILADELPHIA INSURANCE & ASSURE CHILD CARE’s monthly information sheet for child care programs they insure. With all the outside time the children get here and at home thought the resources here were good to pass along.

INSECT SAFETY

Every year, anaphylaxis (or severe allergic reaction) to insect bites or stings cause over 40 deaths, according to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.  Some insects carry pathogens that can cause serious diseases, such as West Nile Virus, Lyme Disease, Dengue Fever, and the plague.  And, while the vast majority of insect bites and stings will not cause anaphylaxis or serious disease, they can commonly result in tissue swelling, itching, dermatitis, pain/burning, infections, lesions, or dermatitis.  Your best defense is to know the facts and take appropriate action.

Insect Safety Tips:

1)     Be age appropriate – The Food and Drug Administration recommends to not use DEET on children under 2 months and not to use picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus for children under 3 years. The Mayo Clinic and the American Academy of Pediatrics has similar recommendations. 

Fact: The most common insect repellant ingredients are DEET, Picaridin (KBR 3023) and oil of lemon eucalyptus

http://www.fda.gov/Drugs/EmergencyPreparedness/ucm085277.htm

https://www.healthychildren.org/English/safety-prevention/at-play/Pages/Insect-Repellents.aspx

2)     Ask about allergies – Your application and interview process with a child’s parent/guardian should include questions about allergies, and especially any allergies that can cause anaphylaxis.  If a child is at risk, know their triggers and be prepared with a dose of epinephrine (adrenaline), if agreed to and supplied by the parent or guardian.http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/anaphylaxis/basics/tests-diagnosis/con-20014324

3)     Know the symptoms – A child with a severe allergic reaction to a bite or sting may have the following symptoms: difficulty breathing, dizziness, nausea, large skin areas of itching or hives, excessive sweating, swelling of their tongue or throat, loss of consciousness.  http://www.webmd.com/allergies/guide/anaphylaxis

4)     Treat anaphylaxis immediately: If you believe a child is having an anaphylactic reaction, call 911 and take whatever steps you have pre-planned with their parent/guardian. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/anaphylaxis/basics/treatment/con-20014324

5)     Avoid insect habitats – Ticks commonly live in overgrown grassy and bushy areas. Avoid these areas (including your pets) and cut back vegetation around your home.

Fact: Tick bites account for up to 30,000 cases of Lyme Disease in the U.S. each year

         Remove standing water around your home where mosquitos can breed. 

Fact: In general, mosquitos will bite anytime. Mosquito bites have caused over 30,000 people in the U.S. to become ill with the West Nile virus since 1999. Those carrying the West Nile Virus bite mainly from dusk through to dawn.

         Watch for bees and wasp/hornets nests and keep children safely away.

http://www.safe-wise.com/downloads/lymefac.pdf

http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/mosquito-bites/basics/prevention/con-20032350

6)     Avoid fragrant soaps – Highly aromatic soaps and perfumes can attract unwanted insects.  http://www.rd.com/health/wellness/6-tips-for-avoiding-insect-bites-stings/

mosquito_bites_relieve_naturally_n7)     Use first aid – For insect bites and stings that don’t involve anaphylaxis, take appropriate first aid, based on the type of bite or sting. 

http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/wound-care-10/bugbites?page=1

http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/2010-117/

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. 🙂

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.

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