Archive

Building Inside!

“Too wet to go out and too cold to play ball; so we sat in the house, we did nothing at all.” You may recognize these words from a famous Dr. Seuss story but the teachers and preschoolers at Care-a-lot in Canandaigua make other plans when the weather is uncooperative! On days that they are unable to utilize the playgrounds, they enjoy indoor gross motor activities.

Building with the large blocks, which encourages gross motor coordination as well as hand-eye coordination, is a most popular learning activity. This type of play encourages the children’s physical development by using arm and torso muscles, as well as leg muscles.

Gross motor activities also support cognitive and social development. Preschoolers are old enough to cooperate with each other in constructing large and elaborate block creations. Their social and cognitive skills are sharpened as they discuss and problem-solve how to balance and construct their block buildings. They come up with some pretty amazing things; in the chilliest part of winter they used their imaginations to build a “waterslide” with the big blocks!

 

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Tooth Care!

The Farmington preschoolers recently welcomed a pair of dental hygienists to their classrooms as part of their week-long study of oral care. The children learned many things about their teeth, including how many teeth they have, when they will lose their baby teeth, and how adult teeth will grow in their place. The children learned important ways to care for their teeth, establishing good oral health habits that will serve them well their whole life long.

 

The preschoolers displayed an impressive understanding of which types of foods are healthy and which ones are unhealthy for their teeth. They enjoyed being able to have some hands-on experience practicing proper brushing techniques with large dental models. They also loved standing tall and straight, like teeth, while the hygienists demonstrated flossing with a jump rope.

 

The dental hygienists brought small bags of oral hygiene related items for the children to take home. Now they can practice all they learned and work to keep their smiles bright!

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Family Style Dining!

At Care-a-lot, we practice family style dining for breakfast, lunch, and snack served at the center.  All the food is placed in serving bowls or plates on the table. The children then take turns selecting what they want to eat and passing the serving dish to their friends.  Children may be more likely to try new foods when they see other children eating something that may look different to them!

Using this style of serving enables the teachers to sit with the children during meals and enjoy conversation together because all the food is already on the table.  The teachers encourage the children to ask for what they need and use their manners.  There is also discussion about nutrition, the food they are eating, and the children’s likes and dislikes.  The teachers support learning during meal time, including the reinforcement of counting – “You may take one piece of chicken and five apple slices.”

Like the picture from the Henrietta class below, the older preschool children also pour their own milk from small pitchers.  Occasional spills are expected and used as learning experiences as well.  Children are encouraged to practice holding their cup with one hand and pouring with the other, to only pour a little in their cup at a time, and to help with clean-up if there is a spill.

The benefits of family style dining are many and families are encouraged to use it at home too!

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Reading to Learn!

Reading aloud is an activity that happens throughout the day at Care-a-lot!  The Greece toddlers have especially enjoyed the book ‘Bad News Good News’ by Jeff Mack. The teacher captures the children’s attention by making all the sounds and motions that are read and inviting the children to join her! Because this book is so often requested, the children know what is going to happen in the story and they participate in making the gestures and sounds.

There are multiple benefits to children hearing books read.  This includes encouraging early language skills, helping children develop positive associations with books and reading, and building a stronger foundation for school success.

It is widely recognized that reading aloud is the single most important activity leading to language development.  Reading aloud stimulates language even before a child can talk!  It also builds children’s word-sound awareness, motivation, curiosity, and memory.

Exposing young children to story and print knowledge is another benefit of reading aloud.  When being read to, children are exposed to new words and ideas.  Engaging children in the story with sounds, motions and voice inflections also adds to their learning experience and participation!  Another important skill to be practiced when being read to is listening ….a crucial skill for kindergarten and beyond!

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Celebration Fun!

Before Super Bowl Sunday, teachers in the Greece Pre-Kindergarten room planned for some creative celebration time with the children.  Knowing that the half-time game show would be after their bed times, a party was planned for the children to enjoy during class time.

Singing and dancing to music, waving and marching with streamers, and playing musical instruments were all choices for the children to participate.  Talents and interests were shared with one another as they experimented with different instruments, tried new movements, and enjoyed individual expressions of joy and fun!

And with all the active movement, their large muscles got a healthy workout!

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