Friday, 31 May 2013

May 27-31

The weather was perfect for our Thursday field trip to the Botanical Garden where Pre-schoolers walked around and enjoyed the many beautiful and colourful flowers as well as a walk through the butterfly house.  
Riga Botanical Garden was founded in 1922 as a research base for students and school children. Main areas of research are: plant introduction, collection, selection and investigation, as well as public education and teaching work.
The Botanical Garden is more than just a pretty park.
Did you know that it is the only place in Latvia where bananas are grown and harvested?
The rhododendron garden represents one of the largest rhododendron collections in Northern Europe!
The Botanical garden address is Kandavas iela 2. We highly recommend you to go and enjoy it during this beautiful time of the year!
You can find out more information about the Butterfly house (the only one in the Baltics!)  here: It is open all summer long!
This week Toddlers were busy “In the Tall, Tall Grass” J They enjoyed singing, reading stories and creating dragonflies together with big Preschoolers (see Preschool hallway!) ! Later on this week they created colourful flowers for the bees and worked on recognizing different patterns in the environment. Toddlers were very excited to go on a field trip to the Botanical garden together with other Pre-schoolers - they loved the colours of flowers as well as the many, many, big, beautiful butterflies they had the chance to meet in butterfly house. They enjoyed observing the caterpillars and the healthy food that butterflies eat and drink! Toddlers felt like they were in the jungle! Toddlers reflected upon the field trip by colouring butterflies and reading books about them.
On Monday and Wednesday the Preschool 1 children prepared a My Mini Beasts Poster with a water colour passe-partout upon which were pasted carefully coloured and cut-out mini beasts including a: butterfly, woodlouse (or rolly polly), dragonfly, snail, ant, and ladybird.   On Tuesday the children continued to work on more complex patterns (A,B,C,A,B,C,A…) with their choice of mini beasts.  Also on Tuesday all of the Preschool children participated in a range of cross age activities relating to various mini beasts (stories, art, music, and movement).  The weather was perfect for our Thursday field trip to the Botanical Garden where we walked around and enjoyed the many beautiful and colourful flowers, big and small leaves, as well as a walk through the butterfly house.  So many mini beasts (ants, beetles, spiders, and butterflies) were spotted during our walk through the Botanical garden!  Finally, on Friday we reflected upon the field trip and worked on creating symmetrical butterflies with stickers and colouring. 
In Preschool 2, we stared the week by making stick insects (walking sticks) out of real sticks we brought back from the forest. They were each unique with various number of legs and eyes; the most was 12 eyes on a stick insect.:) The children learned more about these mini beasts by watching a short video and discussing the information with a partner. The children had a very exciting experience in IT this week – they each sat by their own computer, had a set of headphones on and watched a short video! On Thursday, we went on a fieldtrip and had lots of fun in Ms Aija’s garden! The children explored all the corners in the garden and even the dog’s house (not in use for several years alreadyJ). We fried some sausages on a fire and Krista shared some yummy muffins she had baked with her mommy.  In these last weeks we also spend a lot of time on working on children’s portfolios and putting the information for reports together.  
-          Please let your child’s class teachers know if your are planning to leave for summer holidays before the school year ends!
-          Don’t miss Ethnographic Open Air museum market days - this weekend!
Dear ISR Families,
The school year is approaching quite quickly. On the last day of school we will celebrate the traditional Latvian solstice festival “Jāņi.” If you have already celebrated this festival in previous years could you please share your experience by printing a photo and bringing it to school. The photographs will then be displayed in the front desk area. We will make a collage with the photographs which means that we will not be able to return any photographs. As such we would suggest you print a new picture that you can leave at school instead of taking one out of the frame or album. Please do not send any photographs that you would like to be returned.
Please give the picture to your child and tell him/ her to give it to the class teacher by Monday, the 3rd June.
Thank you and enjoy the last part of the school year!

Friday, 24 May 2013

Mini beasts!

The week started off with a Monday morning assembly where the Preschool children watched a short video about mini beasts and discussed the similarities and differences between bees and ants.  Children shared their learned knowledge by explaining that bees and ants both live in their own colonies and they have many members with different roles including a queen, workers, and drones (they are and in some ways a little similar to a human family – they communicate and work together as a unit).  During further reflection children shared that bees collect nectar and pollen to make honey and bread; a bee hive has many cells in which the baby eggs are placed; an ant hill has many different rooms or chambers where either food or eggs are stored; ants can be many colours and are very strong.

During the course of the week we cross grouped the Toddlers, Preschool 1 and 2 children and each group had the opportunity to participate in one of the following working groups:
-          Creative movement relating to mini beast theme;
-          Art related project referring to either The Very Clumsy Click Beetle by Eric Carle or Inch by Inch by Leo Lionni;
-          Story time with Leo Lionni’s The Biggest House in the World, followed by the children making a snail of their own; or
-          Song games relating to mini beasts.

Children will have an opportunity to participate in the other three working groups on a rotating basis over the next three weeks.

During the week Preschooler’s continued to observe several visitors including worms; ticks; bees; a few flies and butterflies, and many many ants!  The Ants Go Marching One by One; Lady Bug, Lady Bug; Incy Wincy Spider; and other mini beast related songs were enjoyed during the Wednesday Preschool Assembly.

Toddlers started this week by creating colourful beetles together with Preschool 1 and Preschool 2 children.  They turned into little beetles listening to a story The Very Clumsy Click Beetle written by Eric Carle.  Every day the little ones explored mini beasts through various activities by singing songs about bumble bees and ladybugs, reading books about insects, painting worms with woollen strings and creating them by pasting stickers on the plates. Some big colourful butterflies flew into the Toddlers class! Toddlers created butterflies for their friends! We also had two special visitors, Lola and Alise from Grade 2, and the girls shared their earthworms with Toddlers which they had found on the school’s playground.  Finally, we celebrated Henry’s 3rd Birthday…Happy Birthday Henry!

During this week the Preschool 1 children continued to learn about the concept of symmetry and made a symmetrical ladybug using cut-out dots.  We learned about arachnids and how they have two parts to the body and eight legs.  Children made their own spiders with these details in mind.  One of the high lights of the week was our trip to the Bumbu Kalniņš – a Preschool 2 Waldkinder forest project.  The children enjoyed being in the forest and exploring the surroundings and testing their learned knowledge.   We found a big ant hill and observed how the ants come and go to and from the hill; what they carried; how many ants were on the hill and around the area!  We had some discussions about tolerance towards mini beasts and the need to be careful towards mini beasts and, if we are not in danger ourselves, then we don’t purposely harm a mini beast or destroy its home.  Children also climbed the hills and trees; swung on a rope; and discovered a log that works well as a see-saw .  The experience was wonderful!  Thank you Preschool 2 for this invitation!!!

In Preschool 2:  Last week our week ended with the Staff appreciation lunch and so we had two parent volunteers and two students from Gr6 and Gr7 becoming teachers for Preschool 2! Our children had lots of fun making things out of plasticine and getting rolled in/wrapped in toilet paper. The children told us later that that way it was impossible walk, especially with three children wrapped together! This week we had a special visitor, a caterpillar Catherine, brought in by a Gr2 student. The preschoolers listened to the detailed explanation about this mini beast with great interest and asked relevant questions afterwards. Catherine is coming back to visit us once she has settled in a cocoon. J On Wednesday, we had children from Gr4 visiting and engaging our students in a talk show.  It was interesting the see all the children opening up and hearing wonderful conversations going on! On Thursday, we went to the forest together with Pre1 students. The children were very excited to discover that there are actually three different kinds of ants: “the big red-and-black ones’, “the small yellow ones” and “the small black ones we have on the playground”. It’s been wonderful to see how our children pay more and more attention to mini beasts and observe them with even greater interest and patience.  A big, brown beetle kept their attention for about 15 minutes while waiting for the bus to go on the field trip!   Next week is the last week the Preschool 1 and 2 children have Alphy time with Alphy this School year.  We are planning to celebrate children’s hard work with an Alphy party!

Finally, the Preschool teachers again would like to thank you for the wonderful Staff appreciation day on Friday May 17th!  It was wonderful, delicious, and relaxing!