I never teach my pupils. I only attempt to provide the conditions in which they can learn. ~ Albert Einstein


Thursday, March 15, 2012

Meeting Pre-K Standards Through Play: Social Studies


Benchmark: Children develop a basic awareness of self as an individual.

Benchmark: Children will demonstrate an awareness of self within the context of family.

Benchmark: Children develop an understanding of self within the context of community.

Benchmark: Children will demonstrate awareness and appreciation of their own culture and other cultures.

Benchmark: Children demonstrate knowledge of the relationship between people, places, and regions.

Through social interactions and play the children begin to show an understanding of self, family, culture, and community. They begin to understand their role in a family, share in family traditions, and see the value in diversity and different cultures. The dramatic play area has multicultural clothing, food, and other props. Books in the reading area show a diverse range of people and cultures. We listen and dance to music of different backrounds, and explore instruments used by people in those regions. Pictures of the children and their families hang in our space, and families are encouraged to share in their cultures and traditions.

We are Family & Community

Self Portrait

Brotherly Love


Benchmark: Children will develop an  understanding of how people and things change over time and how to relate past events to their present and future activities.

The children learn about the passage of time through everyday routines, discussions of upcoming and past events, and through using language such as yesterday, today, and tomorrow. We have a daily schedule on the wall, photo albums of past field trips, and calendars to remind us of upcoming events.

Our Daily Schedule

Waving Goodbye for now...knowing mommy will be back later.

The children often recall past events, such as the day the dump truck brought dirt....

.....And adventures like our trip to the zoo.

Civic, citizenship, and government

Benchmark: Children demonstrate an understanding of roles, rights, and responsibilities

Benchmark: Children begin to learn the basic civic and democratic principles.

The children learn the basics of  citizenship and government through group activities, meetings discussing topics such as planning activities and projects, upcoming events, and even meal planning. The children are encouraged to express their own opinion, while learning to respect the rights of others and making group decisions.

*I didn't realize when I first chose these photos, but looking at them now, I see it's the SAME 2 children in 2010, 2011, and in 2012, learning to negotiate and work together. It always melts my heart to see them ALL learning and growing together *


Benchmark:Children develop a basic understanding of economic concepts within the community.

The children begin to understand the basics of economics through role playing. They learn about what goods each store supplies (or service they provide), how much it costs, and the exchange of money for such goods or services. Trips to our local grocery store, gas station, post office, etc., show the children these concepts first hand.

Hat Store

Counting Money

Negotiating The Sale

Career development

Children demonstrate interest and awareness about a wide variety of careers and work environments.

The children learn about careers through many hands on materials in our space such as props in the dramatic play area, figures and buildings in the block area, and through visual materials such as books and puzzles. Through these materials the children learn about community helpers, the roles they play, and how they contribute to our community.

The Train Conductor Punches Our Tickets

Visiting the Apple Orchard to Pick and Purchase Apples

Role Playing "Doctor"

Monday, March 12, 2012

For the Love of Mud

It's officially mud season around here. For the next few weeks we will be battling the mud and muck, but that's life on the mountain, right? :)

 Parents... PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE don't send your child in ANYTHING you care about. Make sure they have a few extra sets of OLD clothes and shoes here for us to change in to after we play! 

 I PROMISE to clean them up as best as I can before you come get them at the end of the day!

I know some of you are gasping. But look at all we have learned today!

We used our senses to feel the cool slippery mud in between our fingers...

 We worked together....

We used muscles in our hands to scoop
up the mud....

We used our WHOLE bodies to move our equipment....

We used language to describe the left over
snow piles....

We found buried treasure...

We balanced and jumped...

 We observed ice melting in the sun...

And we measured just the right amount
of mud to haul away...

Don't worry! Mud season will be over
before you know it!
...Just in time for sand & water season. ;)

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Family Style Dining

Family style dining enriches our curriculum just as any other activity, and is an important part of our day here at daycare. Not only do we learn many life skills, but family style dining also embraces the cozy home like atmosphere that I strive to offer here everyday.
  In family style dining, all of the
food is placed in child size serving bowls on the table and the children are encouraged to serve themselves or serve themselves with help from an adult. I sit at the table with the children, and we enjoy meaningful conversations together in a pleasant mealtime atmosphere, much like the children do at home with their families.

Dining Together and sharing conversations.

Children can serve themselves with carefully chosen child size serving dishes and utensils. This helps with fine and gross motor muscle development. (Such as developing muscle strength in the fingers or learning to cross the midline.)
Child size tongs make it easy to grasp snap peas.

We begin allowing the children to serve themselves at an early age. Usually by 12 months old, with some assistance, the children begin to learn to use utensils and scoop food on to their plates.

The infants sit in boosters so they can join us at the table.

Children can learn and practice many social skills, such as taking turns, passing food to others, saying please and thank you, and helping to set the table.

Waiting for the serving spoon to be passed.

While setting the table, the children practice counting and one-to-one correspondence.

Making sure everyone has a fork.
 Many times, the children often want to try new foods when they see other children and adults eating them.
Often, I use this opportunity to talk with the children about good nutrition, healthy meal options, and about the foods that they are enjoying together.
Schucking peas freshly picked from our garden just before mealtime.
Doesn't get any fresher than that!

Giving the children control over servings and portions empowers young children to become confident and independent. Children learn to make choices, and over time, can learn to take the appropriate amounts of food, reducing waste.

Taking just the right amount of applesauce!

  Sure, it takes a lot of work. Children need time to learn the skills needed to serve and pour. Spills happen, and messes must be cleaned. But the teachable moments and meaningful conversations the children experience during shared mealtimes are well worth the extra work.

...And with extra hands, cleanup is always a breeze!

What a good helper!