Friday, 30 November 2012

Puppets and Plays!

Last Saturday during the Student Led Conferences the Preschool children presented their knowledge regarding the Baltic Wonders! and Puppets and Plays! units.  There was much excitement in the air during this special sharing experience and the children really applied themselves in explaining and clarifying their pieces of work and interests.  It was a real pleasure for students, parents and teachers! Great work!

As the year moves on so quickly we are all surprised that December is just a hop, skip and a jump away!  We are keeping ourselves busy with preparations for the next performance The Winter Festival which we will be presenting on Thursday December 13th.  We will be looking forward to having you join us for the show on this magical day!

During this week the children continued to explore the Puppets and Plays! unit of inquiry through exploration and expression of feelings, ideas, and actions; and engaging in role play, storytelling and puppet shows. 

Preschool 1 children created and shared stories that they compiled on the felt boards with felt figures and props.  They also liked to try out different hand and finger puppets and mix and match paper sack and stick puppets in story telling as well.  The sequence of stories, including Eric Carle’s Brown Bear, Brown Bear is also an activity children are being challenged with - these activities help engage their thinking skills.  Many Preschool 1 children chose to make either a Brown Bear, Brown Bear crown or finger ring puppets to assist them in either remembering the correct sequence of our presentation or in encouraging them to engage in a self-led puppet play.  Finally, we also enjoyed a visit to Kindergarten where our Preschool 1 student, Maxim, and his Kindergarten brother, Aleksandr, and their mum put on a great puppet show for the two groups!  This was followed by the Kindergarten students reading individually to the Preschool 1 children!  Thank you Kindergarteners!

Preschool 2 children are making puppets for the story about Gruffalo (written by Julia Donaldson). We will act the story out emphasizing the emotions and feelings of the characters. We also worked on adding some pieces of children’s work to their portfolios.  We celebrated two birthdays this week, that meant having some cake on Tuesday and WednesdayJ    We have also started to prepare for the up-coming celebration – the Winter Festival, and this will only increase in the weeks to come. We are truly enjoying the snow outside- yippee!

Toddlers were busy creating their own black sheep as they learned singing and acting out the traditional English nursery rhyme “Baa, Baa, Black sheep”. They also created several shiny star art projects as they enjoyed singing one of their favourite songs of all times - “Twinkle, twinkle little star” and discovered a new shape called – diamond! They also enjoyed creating their first whole group art project, by using different art tools including: pencils, markers, crayons and, of course, lots of paint! It was great fun to hear their comments during this art project. Come and see it on the wall in our class!

The Puppets and Plays! unit of inquiry will continue until December 14th after which the winter vacation begins!

Friday, 23 November 2012

November 12-23 Pictures

Please, read text in the previous post!:)

November 12-23

We have spent the last two weeks preparing for two very important events. Last week we spent a lot of time practicing the dance and the song for the Independence Day concert. The children were a bit tired but very excited to dress-up and perform for their families. Their little heads often turned to the audience to check if their families had already arrived! It was also a great learning experience for the children about how to behave in big events such as  concerts. The most excited part for the preschoolers were the balloons falling from the ceiling – as following a secret command they all rushed to get some balloons as they fell on to the floor! J This week the children are getting ready for the Student-Teacher-Parent Conferences on Saturday. They are looking through their projects and learning how to present them. During the IT lesson with Ms. Maria the children were introduced to a new kind of puppet show: hand and body shadows!  These can be enjoyed at home on you-tube: What a Wonderful World by Louis Armstrong and a Shadow Dance of New York city available at:
Last week Toddlers were busy getting ready for the celebration of Latvia’s Independence Day.  Little ones helped to create an illuminated way to school, making and decorating candle holders. It was also interesting for them to learn about Latvia’s flag, creating it by themselves. These projects brought lots of fun and joy to our Toddlers!This week Toddlers were curious about the basic colours (red, yellow, blue) and shapes (circle, diamond and star) exploring, learning about them and doing different activities during the circle time. Based on our current UOI ,,Puppets and Plays’’ they turned into little actors and actresses, singing and acting out a rhyme-song ,,Five Little Ducks’’ during rehearsals in the class. Our show is coming up soon!
The Preschool 1 children continued to enjoy sorting, drawing and matching feelings and emotions including: sad; happy; sleepy; surprised; bored; angry; frightened; embarrassed; and scary.  Children engaged in finger, hand, and stick puppet shows and have been playing out there very own productions as well as those previously heard in books, stories, or songs. The children also started to work on presenting Eric Carl’s “Brown Rear, Brown Bear” as a song using masks and finger puppets.  Last week we also said our farewells to our energetic Dan – Take care Dan!
In Preschool 2, we had a “good-bye” party last week  – Noa’s family went back to their country. Good luck, Noa, in you new school! We have already celebrated 3 birthdays and are looking forward to two more in November. It is a lot of coloring to decorate birthday cards! We have spent a lot of time on practicing children’s communication skills by presenting their work to their peers in order to successfully perform at the Student led conferences on Saturday. The children take it very seriously and do their best. In addition to all that, we had our last trip to the forest this year (we will continue in spring). The weather was great, we made a campfire, made some hot chocolate and toasted marshmallows. We had Miss Marissa, an exchange program student from Germany, joining us and she also really enjoyed the forest experience! We also had some visitors last week -  Nilay and his mom told us about Diwali celebration which is the biggest festival (festival of lights) of the year. They shared some traditional rice dessert in the classroom.
We are looking forward to meeting you all tomorrow and celebrating your child’s progress at the STP conferences!

Friday, 9 November 2012

Friday, November 9th, 2012

Dear Preschool parents,
Welcome back after the Fall Break!
This week our little Pre-schoolers continued to explore and to enjoy the books by different children’s authors from around the world as well as continued our current Unit of Inquiry – Puppets and Plays!
On Thursday, November 8th, we had special visitors – a real Puppet Show came to our Preschool! They performed a play “A Bear in the Heart” that provided children a wonderful experience of seeing puppets in action through song, speech, and gestures. All Preschool and Kindergarten students were invited to watch it and they all truly enjoyed the show!
The little Toddlers enjoyed rereading and acting out the story “A Very Hungry Caterpillar” by Eric Carl by using felt board puppets. Thanks to this book our Toddlers have become little experts in days of the week and enjoy counting different objects. Toddlers enjoy singing and acting out different nursery rhymes about number 5 – “Five little monkeys”, “Five little ducks”, “Five little pigs”.
Preschool 1 children continued to explore emotions and feelings through books, songs, puppet plays, and a hand puppet and emotion place mat project.  One book the children particularly enjoyed was The Way I Feel written and illustrated by Janan Cain.  Silly, scared, disappointed, happy, sad, angry, thankful, frustrated, shy, bored, excited, jealous, and proud.  Children related to this story and recognized these emotions as one’s that they too experience.
Preschool 1 children also engaged in puppet plays with hand puppets, and their own crafted stick puppets.  During IT class Ms. Maria introduced shadow puppets and children were able to see how their fingers and hands transform into flowers, birds, and bears. 
In Preschool 2 we have successfully settled back into the school routines after the Fall break.  This week the children have been busy making their own feeling books in the classroom and flip-up books in Art. The parents will have a chance to enjoy them together with their child during the PTS Conferences. We acted out the fairy tale about Goldilocks and the three bears by using the self-made puppets as Goldilocks. The children worked with a partner and together tried to decide which face expression fits best with various feelings Goldilocks experienced in the story.
On Thursday we went to the forest and, as always, had lots of fun there. The children thought about if and how the forest looked different comparing to our first visits there. We discovered that we can see way further through the trees than before because there are no leaves on them anymore! The children still found some mushrooms and a couple of spiders in moss. We are already looking to our last trip to the forest this year in two weeks!
This week the whole Preschool were also busy getting ready for Latvia’s Birthday – The Independence day celebration, that will take place in the gym next Friday, November 16th. During Music lessons we practiced singing the National Anthem of Latvia “Dievs, svētī Latviju”,  “Mana dziesma” (My Song by Prata Vetra/Brainstorm) and a Latvian folk dance “Tradiridiritam” . Please help your child to practice these songs at home. We appreciate your support!