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!

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