It’s Not Just Play, It’s LEARNING For Life

‘Play’ is the work of a child.  Over my many years of teaching and working with young children, I know it to be a given fact that play supports learning and is a very important to a child’s development stages. Play helps children learn and develop their cognitive, physical, communication, emotional, social, and creative skills.  When children play, it helps to build self-worth because it’s fun and they can become very much more engaged when the choice is theirs, rather than when chosen by an adult.

You may ask how play supports learning…

 

 

 

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A teachable moment that just couldn’t be missed

“It took one seed to make a difference”

The Preschoolers are learning all about plants. One morning as the children ventured out for outside play, they were curious to find lots of brown leaves on the ground under one of the almond trees. They began to enjoy an instant lesson about why the leaves were changing colours and dropping, and how its almond seeds are edible fruits that can be planted to grow into a new tree.  The children were given opportunities to explore the leaves – from raking them to laying in them, looking up into the tree and enjoying shade it provides.

The leaves were gathered and taken to their sensory table for them to continue their exploration. Once the children were finished playing with them for a few days, the leaves were then used to make crafts projects like leaf rubbing, which were then used to make a big paper tree.

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Incredible Me…that’s who I am

When I look in the mirror,

Who do I see?

Only my face smiling back at me.

By: Myrna Pereira (2019)

Our topic focused on the children learning all about themselves. Using ‘Mat Man’ as a springboard, they linked body parts to their purpose, before moving on to connect them to their senses.  For example, we learned that we use our nose to smell and our eyes to see. Using stories, the children discovered how incredible they all are in their own different and unique way.

 

 

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When the Pilgrims came to school

The children had lovely week during the Thanksgiving holiday period.  They listened to stories of the Pilgrims and how they travelled to a new world.  In best way they could, the children described what they were thankful for.  The children were all excited to feel, smell, and taste some of the food the Pilgrims ate.

The children made the hats that the pilgrims wore.  They wore black and white clothes.  They children gathered around the table and enjoyed a feast of vegetables.  The majority of the children enjoyed the corn as a favourite vegetable. After all the activities, the children were able to colour the fruits and vegetables the realistic colours after exploring the real ones.

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Vehicles that help in the Community

The Preschoolers were very excited as the reality of listening to stories, role-playing, singing songs about different forms of transportation came to life when the fire truck and the ambulance came to visit the school.

All the children were happy to climb inside the fire truck and look out, try on the hat and some even were bold enough to step into the boots.  They were a little nervous, but excited, by the loud sound of the sirens from both vehicles but loved every moment of it even if it meant covering their ears for a second or two.

The highlights of the morning were the children using the water hose that the firefighters use to extinguish a fire.

The firefighters really enjoyed showing the children inside and outside the truck and seemed well educated in how to address our younger children (one of them was so brilliant that I said he will be our teacher on call!).

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We’re on The Move T.C.I…Let Move!

With memories of the summer holidays still fresh in the Preschool children’s heads, we have spent the first few weeks of term talking about the places and people they visited and how they got there – plane, train, automobile, boat or bike!

We were amazed that some of the children were able to recall where their travels had taken them and a little of what they saw or did over the summer.

 

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Parent, Student and Teacher Connections in the Early Years

The parent is often referred to in such terms as “the child’s first teacher” (Educate America Act of 1994)  or “the one continuous force in the education of … children from birth to adulthood” (Berger, 2000, p. 152),  

Over the year in school, the parents of the Preschool class have had many opportunities to connect with their children directly or indirect to support the growth development of their children.   

 

 

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Lending Helping Hands in My Community

The Preschoolers have been thrilled to learn about the role of people who help in our community.  They were excited to get dressed up in the community helpers’ outfits and role play, imagining the classroom as if it was their work place.  During the first week, the focus was on just getting acquainted with names of all the people who helps in our community.  In the second week, they learned about how each community helper contribute their services to the community. The Preschoolers also learned about the tools of the community helpers.

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Our Preschoolers are ‘Amazing’

The preschoolers are on an adventure exploring their ‘true self-identity’ in our ‘Amazing Me’ topic.

The children are loving learning about themselves and their peers.  This theme promotes children’s self-esteem and self-identity.  The topic helps to bring out more awareness of how people are different in many ways, but all need the basic things to live, can have the same feelings and in many ways, are similar.

At the start of the topic, the preschoolers were excited to share concepts they knew already.  To encourage children’s skills and abilities, many activities were introduced, with some emerging from their ideas too. They enjoyed learning the importance of taking care of their body, (giving the dolls a bath) how to get dressed, (talking about getting themselves dressed for school), identifying their body parts (through the Mat Man song), measuring themselves (with the big links) and talking about the roles of the family members, etc.

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A Celebration of Colours and Thanks

The Preschoolers have been learning about colours and how they see them in their everyday environment. We initially focused on the colours of autumn leading up to the Thanksgiving Holiday and our own holiday here in the Turks and Caicos, “A Day of Thanks”.

The children have enjoyed experimenting with colour mixing and were amazed when they saw the magical results (like discovering that red and yellow makes orange).  The children enjoyed looking at some photographs of trees with autumn colours projected onto the big whiteboard.  They also enjoyed making their very own fall trees using tissue paper.

On our Day of Thanks, the children celebrated colours again, wearing black and white like the pilgrims of long ago.  They also wore hats they had made themselves.

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Preschool are developing a love of books from an early age

Here are some photos of our Preschool children enjoying World Book Day. See them dressed up as nursery rhyme characters, choosing books at our Book Swap and enjoying reading them in different places – like our garden area and playground – you read anywhere!  Our activities are a super example of how home and school are working together to develop a love of reading.  Thank you everyone for making our Preschool World Book Day such fun!

Read on to see more photos and read an interesting article from ELTLearning.com on 5 Reasons Why Reading Habits Are Important.

The home is the first learning environment for young children and parents are their first teachers. It is the best place to begin the cultivation of reading habits.  Here is a great booklet with ways to promote reading at home.

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Preschool – Three Little Pigs

Learning about the story of ‘The Three Little Pigs’, has lead the Preschoolers into an array of activities involving retelling the story; exploring buildings and building materials; and sorting and naming shapes.

The children have been excited to take on lead roles in acting out the story.  The highlight has been listening to the children change their voices for the different characters (especially the Big Bad Wolf) and seeing them taking turns in conversation and with taking on the different roles.

Everyone has joined in with building the pig’s house with brick… using the pebbles; the house of sticks… using popsicle sticks; and the house of straw… using spaghetti. We even set up an experiment to see if we could blow down our brick house with the strong force of air from a hair dryer – it didn’t blow down!

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Heritage Week: T.C.I. Colours…Do You Know Your Island Colours?

ps-national-heritage-week-oct-2016-4At the start of our Early Years National Heritage Week celebrations, the preschoolers faces’ lit up as they entered the door seeing rays of colourful scarves hanging up in their classroom. Some said, “I see a rainbow,” some called out their favourite colour,   while others simply enjoyed the feeling of wrapping themselves up in the soft hanging cloth.

Each colour is special to the Turks and Caicos.  The colours are on our National Costume.  Each colour represents one or more of the islands that make up our country and identifies what makes them special.  Do you know your Island colours?

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Preschoolers enjoy exploring Nursery Rhymes

ps-nursery-rhymes-oct-2016-6Parents remember learning Nursery Rhymes when they were young with their mums and dads and now they find themselves doing the same with their children…

The Preschoolers have had a marvellous week exploring the theme of nursery rhymes, showing what a young child can learn when the environment is set and geared to independent and guided learning.

During the week, it was very interesting to watch the facial expressions and actions of the children as they recited, chanted, sung or acted out each rhyme.   The children were able to recognise each nursery rhyme with a corresponding picture card.  They quickly took possession of their favourite cards and enjoyed singing or chanting them – even choosing to do so during their free play.

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Can you Identify these Kindergartners?

k-amazing-m3-nov-2015 (5)

As part of our topic ‘Amazing Me’, the Kindergarten children used mirrors to look carefully at their own faces. They then made a collage that looked just like them. Feel free to come in the Kindergarten class to check out our fantastic self portraits and to find out who is who!

We have some amazing artists in our class.

 

 

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Kindergarten Explore Space through Imaginary Adventures

k-space-mar-2015 (2)Our space topic may have been a small step for our Kindergartners, but they have all taken giant leaps in their learning over the past 6 weeks!

The whole class have been excited to share their knowledge of space with parents, siblings, teachers and each other. Everyone has enjoyed learning wonderful facts about space.  Our young astronauts were amazed to learn how people eat, sleep, drink, wash, brush teeth or comb their hair while in space! And understanding how spaceships can communicate with earth…well, that blew our minds!

We studied different rockets so that we could design one for ourselves. We compared different rocket shapes and designs, including comparing how different countries have built spaceships. We learned the names of various rocket parts and labelled our own designs so that we, too, could travel to space.

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JK Down at the farm

jk-farm-trip-june-2014 (20)The Junior Kindergarten have had a really great time learning about animals this term. During the first part of the term we focused on farm animals. We explored their habitat and young ones. The children enjoyed role playing, listening to stories and making paper and food craft to support the topic. They particularly liked matching the babies to their moms and dads.

The class visited a small farm to see how each animal and their young ones live, eat, rest, sound and responds. They were very excited during the visit. Talking about the trip on their return, the majority of the children expressed how much they had enjoyed themselves. The piglets and hens were the animals that they talked about the most. Please look at the photos of the children and look at their facial expressions while they are exploring.

 

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JKs enjoy pretending to be pigs playing in the mud!

ps-three-little-pigs-may-2014-6

The Junior K’s are learning about traditional nursery rhymes and fairy tales.  They have enjoyed listening to the story of the three little pigs and have made each of the houses out of waffle blocks in their role play centre.  To help recall simple parts of the story the children they have used puppets and acted out the tale using different voices and facial expressions.  They thoroughly enjoyed taking the story outside during outdoor play, wearing their pig masks and pretending to be pigs playing in the mud.

Please enjoy the photos of the children developing their learning through play and feel free to come into the JK classroom to join in the fun!

 
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Making sense of pretend play in JK

jk-aeroplane-trip-march-2014 (9)The Junior Kindergartens have been introduced to the many different people who help in the community.  In particular, they have enjoyed learning about pilots.  They have made a big aeroplane in our role-play area and love the idea of pretend traveling everyday with their peers.  

In order to bring more real life knowledge to this topic, and to extend their experiences, the children visited Provo Air Center to explore aeroplanes and the job of pilots in more detail.  The children were all interested in the pilot’s job and they each got the opportunity to sit in their seat and look at the cockpit.  Take a look at our photos below.

The trip has certainly enriched the language and scenarios played out by the children in our role-play area.  Since the visit, they are incorporating their new knowledge and talking more about their travel experiences.  
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JK explore water play with a twist

jk-water-jan-2014-1 Every day, the JKs love to play in water during outdoor play.  Linking with our ‘winter’ topic, the children were each given a cup of water to freeze overnight.  Wow… our water changed into ice!  Taking them out of the freezer, the children wanted to see what would happen to their ice if they left them out in different places: they chose to put them in sand, salt, cold water, hot water, or just an empty container.  They talked about what they thought would happen.  Then they waited patiently and observed the changes throughout the day. They were excited to see how the ice changed into something else… especially the ice and salt, which formed ‘crystal balls’! What an incredible learning time they had with this experiment. [Read more…]

JK’s Morning Hot Chocolate Treat

jk-hot-chocolate-jan-2014As a special Dress Down Day treat last week, the JK class welcomed everyone first thing in the morning with a hot chocolate and banana muffin stand.  These delicious offerings were very popular, with an eager and hungry queue forming right up the walkway!  The class raised over $200 which they will use towards a class trip or events later in the year.  Thank you to all the JK bakers and servers and to everyone who helped support this yummy event!

 

JK explore a cold winter in Provo!

jk-winter-jan-2014-18The Junior Kindergartens are a group of happy jolly souls who enjoy exploring in a make-believe world.  This term they were delighted to explore a cold winter on our beautiful, hot Caribbean island.

The children have listened to many wonderful winter-related stories, songs and activities and have explored many hands-on science experiments.  The story of ‘The Mitten’ has been our main focus and has led to many wonderful activities such as making snow and learning about winter animals and how they migrate and hibernate during the winter months. Many of the children have been able to share their winter experiences with each other and everyone has learned about more how the seasons change. Even with temperatures in the 80s, the children have really enjoyed  dressing up in winter clothes as they play in their home-made snow!

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JK’s Operation Pumpkin

jk-pumpkin-surgery-oct-2013-`Back in the week of Halloween, the JK children were all excited about what they were going to be wearing to our PTA Halloween party.  During circle time, they described their costumes and shared what they know about Halloween.

One of the children explained how his grandmother was going to make a Jack–o-Lantern with him. He was asked if he would like to share his experience with his peers here at school…he quickly liked the idea and said, “Yes”.

With the children dressed up as neurosurgeons, with their gloves and mask ready to operate on the pumpkins, this was truly a day’s lesson covering every area of learning.

We have some wonderful photos of the children operating on the pumpkins, so do click on…

 

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Jnr Kindergarten Start Off The School Year With A ROAR!

jk-dinosaur-sept-2013 (2)On their first Day of school, the JK  listened to the story “How Dinosaurs go to School “.  Just like the dinosaurs in the story, the children were encouraged to learn about their manners, simple rules and routines and how to be a friend. During the first couple of weeks, the children then looked after their own dinosaurs and this  helped to remind them of the things they have to do at school.

Now, a few weeks into the term, the children (and their dinosaurs) are now confident in their learning environment.  They have all made new friends and are enjoying exploring all the centres and using them each day to support their learning.

ROAR !  Click on to see lots of photos of JK in their first couple of weeks of school.

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Show and Tell in Junior Kindergarten

jk-show-n-tell--feb-2013The Junior Kindergarten children have been introduce to ‘Show and Tell’ in this term to help them build more confidence when speaking in a large group.  Over the week, each child brings in a item from home that they would like to share with class. They each get a turn to stand in front of the class to talk about their item.   A short song is sung to introduce each child.  After talking about their item, the rest of the class is encouraged to ask questions or make comments.  They each put up their hand and wait their turn.

‘Show and Tell’ encourages the children to:

  • speak clearly (when describing the item they talking about) keeping to the subject;
  • use more descriptive words, helping to widen their use of vocabulary;
  • increase confidence while speaking, and to be more attentive while listening;
  • make eye contact with who is talking and the audience;
  • learn how to be an audience, raising hands to ask questions or make a comment;
  • ask different kinds of questions (why, when, where, how etc.);
  • to respond appropriately, using simple complete sentence;
  • to say thank you at the end of their presentation.

And as all this learn is taking place, the children are truly enjoying sharing and talking about their items that they have brought in.  ‘Show and Tell’ is a valuable and rewarding teaching time!