Wednesday, March 6, 2013

All the Children of the World

Last year I published one of my most popular/pinned posts about our Children of the World unit in preschool. Go here to see it.

This year I added some new things and I wanted to share one of them with you today. It is important to affirm a child's identity, promote diversity and understand what skin color means. We can do this by making sure we have our classrooms stocked with toys and books that promote diversity. Multi-cultural dolls, costumes in dramatic play, food in our kitchen centers are ways to do this. Don't forget the book corner too! I will share some new books that I was able to get this year for my classroom that will affirm identity and promote diversity.

 This year I taught my kiddos that our skin color tells our story. It tells us where our families our from, what our heritage is.  We mapped our heritage again this year:
We read books and stocked our Book Corner with these:
You can find it Here.

Go here

Go here

Go here

We also made a craft of our faces to hold while we sang "Jesus Loves the Little Children"
I originally told kiddos to pick  a head that is their skin color. Then make it look like them.
One class did a great job matching their skin color. My other class insisted they wanted to be different colors, brown mostly! 
I let them choose. 

Provide them with multi colored faces, yarn, scissors, googley eyes, eye stickers, markers and sequins for earrings. We taped sticks to the back. 

Friday, March 1, 2013

Investing in Your Child's Life: Please Put Down the Electronics Part 2

Today I wanted to share a few items that you can invest in or make at home that will provide tons of fun while allowing kiddos the opportunity to use their imaginations and build creative and problem solving skills. Invest a few dollars and some of your  time. I know what those Nintendos and iPads cost. This will be much more inexpensive!

#1. Children's Scissors
       I often hear, "Oh Mrs. B, you're brave!" when a parent walks into my classroom a sees scissors at each child's spot for our Table Time activity. What they mean is... "My child has never came into contact with scissors, except when I wasn't paying attention and they cut their hair into a mullet."

Children learn in many different ways. But some things are learned best by doing, by trying. If I simply explain how to hold the scissors, but never give them an opportunity to use them, to try them, can I expect that suddenly in Kindergarten they will pick up  pair and cut like a pro?  Absolutely not. We often use scissors in preschool, and still we are correcting grip and teaching them how to hold and turn the paper. Practice makes perfect.

They love to chop things to smithereens! Give them a magazine or the junk mail. Give them post cards that come in the mail to invite you to somebody's home party. Give them scissors and let them go. It is not necessary to make them practice cutting lines or shapes. Just cutting something into tiny unrecognizable pieces will result in fruitful building of fine motor skills and comfort using scissors. Don't be scared, give them the scissors! :)

I like Wescott brand, but Fiskars is great too. You can usually find these at the beginning of the school year for about $2. Or you can grab them here.

#2 Dot Painters
   I am up for any type of paint, but if you want to make a minimal mess these are the painters for you. You can usually find them at Michael's for about $15.00 a set. Use a 40% off coupon and that makes them about $9. Totally worth it. You can choose from a few different sets of colors, each set containing six painters. You can also buy them here.

Here are just 2 examples of how we used them in class  Dot Painter Names and Jellyfish

#3 Free Art
 Save the TP tubes and egg cartons. Grab a bin and fill it with recycled items, unused coffee filters, paper, glue and markers. Don't forget the scissors. Throw in a roll of tape (this makes a great fine motor activity). Then, just let them go. Give them the opportunity to create and use their imagination! When they are looking at an app, video game or TV show, kiddos are simply accepting what someone else has put in front of them. This does not necessarily foster the best environment for them to explore their own creativity. 

So spend the $20.00 and give them an opportunity to learn through doing and to be creative!