Posts Tagged With: children

Sewing: A School Age Invitation to Learning

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Every afternoon we have school age students join us for after school care.  Everyday we try to provide activities that will both interest them and have an educational background.  Another component to our programming is that the students actually do some of the planning of these activities.  This month one of the activities that was planned was to teach basic sewing skills to the Primary students.  Miss Val had the student’s first start by sewing buttons onto napkins.  This allowed them to get the basic understanding of how to stitch buttons.  Once they had practiced with the buttons they moved onto sewing buttons onto felt and fabric.  With this basic skill set the children will be working on larger and more advanced projects later in the month.ImageHere are some of the older Primary students working with a sewing machine. By starting with the beginning sewing skills we are able to work our way up to teaching the children how to work with sewing machines.

 

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One classroom, and the creation of an amazing Haunted House.

jack-o-lanternAs summer turns to fall the Intermediate School Age students are reminded of our yearly tradition, making the centers Haunted House for the annual Fall Festival. Every year students are asked to create and implement a theme for the Haunted House, and then on the night of Fall Festival they are able to hide within their creation and scare their peers and center families who brave the house.

This year our room was transformed. Students first created their own versions of the layout of our classroom. They decided that to better serve the customer (the families) they should create both a “scary” route and a “so-so” route, for the not so brave, and the younger children. They also decided that they wanted to expand the Haunted House to continue from our classroom all the way to their coat room. They chose very distinct things to design within every section of the room. As you entered the classroom you either took the scary route to the right, or the so-so route to the left. The scary route went into the middle portion of our room, where the students had created a home with a kitchen and bedroom, they were able to hide in much of what they created and had fun popping out and scaring those who passed by.

In the coatroom the students created a laboratory full of spooky bottled concoctions, they mixed oil, water food coloring and other supplies they found around our room and then put a colored light in a cauldron to look like there was something brewing. By far this year’s student involvement has been greater than any other years past. The students were involved in creating every aspect of the Haunted House. They completed the setup of the Haunted House early on the night of Fall Festival.

Not only were the students completely involved in the creation of the Haunted House, but the following Monday all of the students helped to support the staff in cleaning the room, sorting decorations and putting the room back the way it was. They had complete ownership over taking care of the materials they had created and packed them away properly. The entire room was cleaned in a day. This was something we the staff had never seen in the students before. After all, getting children of any age to clean up can have its challenges. We are very excited about the students participation in this event, and hope that next year we can continue to grow and improve. Happy Halloween!

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Exploring Common Interests on the Preschool Playground

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At Toddler’s Workshop, we believe the activities presented to the children should be determined based on the children’s own interests. Because of this, the topics typically vary from classroom to classroom. Once in a while, however, the interests of the children seem to overlap between classrooms. Sometimes these common topics are provoked by the season. Topics like apples, pumpkins, and leaves are all prominent topics of conversation and exploration found during Autumn. Sometimes a topic of interest in one classroom sparks a similar topic of interest in another. Children viewing documentation in the hallways or walking through another classroom with a teacher are able to view materials, pictures, or books that strike a chord in them. Sometimes, however, these common interests are merely coincidental. A common material presented to two separate classrooms (often in very different ways or for different reasons) can become a shared topic of interest between these rooms. While providing each classroom with these interest based curriculum topics might seem to isolate each classroom’s learning, these moments of common interest allow us to collaborate with other classrooms, build a sense of community between them, and expand the children’s learning in both classrooms even further.

Recently, two of our preschool classrooms found an opportunity to provide this collaboration regarding a mutual topic of interest – yarn. The two classroom’s interest in yarn began independent of each other. In our Preschool Rainbow Room, the teachers offered yarn up as an opportunity to practice fine motor skills. they presented the children with a sensory table full of materials such as yarn and fabric and placed scissors among the materials in the table. Then they let the children explore.

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Many of the children became very involved in the sensory table project and the materials stayed in the table for several days. Some of the children even expanded this activity and began cutting yarn for independent projects outside of the sensory table.

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Meanwhile, in our Preschool Blue Room the teacher placed some balled up yarn, displayed on circle mirrors, on the rug in the block center for her children to discover and explore. Next to the yarn, she placed a few pairs of scissors on a tray. The children were given no instructions or ideas. Her intention behind this was to provide the children with a new material to explore. She was also interested in providing opportunities to work on scissor skills and fine motor. Just like in the Rainbow Room, the material was intentional but the project was left completely up to the creativity of the children.

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This activity became a huge hit. Several children worked with the yarn in a variety of ways. They threw the balls and watched how it unraveled, wound it around items, and used the scissors to cut pieces off the yarn ball. They also began using yarn to create spider webs.

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When it was time for Blue Room to head outside, some of the children asked if they could bring the yarn with them. The teacher agreed and they gathered all their yarn up into a basket to bring it to the preschool playground. Shortly after Preschool Blue began to explore their basket of yarn outside, Rainbow Room joined them on the playground. The same children that were exploring the yarn in the sensory table in Rainbow Room began to join in with the children of Blue Room. Together, they wound and tied the yarn all around the playground equipment. Many of the children from both classrooms referred to the yarn creation as a spider web, while some chose to explore it without any label. Either way, the children were able to work together on this common interest in a way that was new to all of them. They expanded their experiences with yarn, not only to an outdoor setting, but also to include the knowledge and ideas of another group of children.

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