Posts found under: blog Archives - Carealot

Finger Paint Fun!

Research has shown that art activities offered to young children are important for brain development!  One of these is sensory play, such as finger painting, where children learn through their senses.  The Greece toddlers enjoy great fun and numerous learning opportunities with this activity!

Messy play like finger painting is important to every child’s development. It helps the body and brain integrate information, such as that needed for later spatial concepts, math and language.  Finger painting is also a most relaxing and creative way to express feelings.

Here are some of the benefits of finger painting play:

  •    Learning how colors work, especially mixing primary colors
  •    Supporting sensory integration
  •    Improving fine motor development by strengthening finger and hand muscles
  •    Learning about color, shape and spatial relationships
  •    Using hearing, touching, and smelling senses
  •    Focusing on process not finished product
  •    Expressing feelings without words
  •    Promoting social skills: sharing paint pots, taking turns, working together
  •    Stimulating creativity and imagination
  •    Developing communication and language skills


Finger painting is an exploratory activity that has many physical, creative and social benefits for children!

FP DSC03683 (1)      FP Gracelyn-Dinosaur      FP DSC03680      FP Logan- Minnie Mouse




Pond Creations!

The 3 year olds in the Grasshopper classroom at the Farmington / Canandaigua center spent time learning about ponds and all that exists within and around them!  Together, the class talked about what makes up a pond and created a list of all the plants and animals that they could think of that live on or in a pond.

After preparing the list, each child had an opportunity to build their own pond! Using a sorting tray, the children gathered and separated the elements of the pond that had been listed. Included in the sorting tray were sand, toy ducks and fish, assorted colored frogs and insects, rocks, grass, blue playdoh, and playdoh trays. The children then had fun using their imagination to create a pond with the items they chose.  Each time a new material was added, the ponds were transformed!

All of the ponds were different and unique to each child.  Hands-on and child-choice creations assist young children in learning engagement and information retention for future use!

DSCN0788 (1) can pond      DSCN0813 can pond


Eating a Whole Plant!

Spring brought endless possibilities for engaging units in our Henrietta Kindergarten classroom!  Frog and butterfly life cycles, as well as plants and flowers, were an absolute must!  New life observed in the springtime offers much to exerpience and investigate!

During our plant unit, we discussed the various foods that come from plants.  Students were quick and eager to list a variety of fruits and vegetables; however the class took it a step further.  After questioning the class about where such things as potatoes, carrots and broccoli come from and getting the blanket “plants” response, the teacher proposed a challenge:  Let’s see if we can eat an entire plant!  The students were excited and up for the challenge!

We spent time separating our first list into several different lists, identifying each plant as a possible plant part to our wholly edible plant!  It quickly became evident that the challenge was indeed achievable; however, who wants to talk about food without actually eating it?  Our “I Can Eat a Whole Plant” activity was very much student-driven in the sense that they played around with the various foods and found that each was in fact a part of a plant.  Making these connections from what we learn in school to what to what we eat on our plates brought this unit full-circle and full of life!

2017-05-03 003 Hen Plt      2017-05-03 005 hen plt      2017-05-03 004 Hen Spr Feat


Seed Planting!

The three year old Greece preschoolers celebrated spring by learning how plants grow and getting their hands directly in the dirt!  The teacher placed a large container of dirt and available gardening tools on the table. There were trowels, watering cans, Popsicle sticks, pom-poms and trays for each child to explore.

The teacher first explained how farmers plant their seeds in the spring and suggested how the children could use the pom-poms to represent seeds. After burying their seeds, Popsicle sticks were used as markers to note the kind of seeds planted; teachers wrote the names of the plants the children wanted to grow.  Silk flowers were also available for the children to put in the dirt to show the results of flower seed planting.

Understanding the process of plant growth is much easier for young children to understand with hands-on learning opportunities.  These types of scientific experiences also promote small motor skills and hand / eye coordination.  Some children enjoyed using the tools to move, scoop and dump the dirt.  Others enjoyed a full sensory experience and dug in with their hands to bury their seeds and feel the dirt!

DSC00149 - Copy (2) Gr Plant     DSC00149 Gr plant      DSC00148 - Planting Gr


Sensory Play!

Sensory play is a favorite activity in the toddler room at the Farmington / Canandaigua center!  Daily experiences with sensory activities provide important educational opportunities for young children to explore their world.

Recently, the Ladybug toddlers learned about the color purple through a variety of hands-on play experiences. This included sensory and visual fun in creating foam! The children helped measure amounts of soap and water to place in a pan.  They then took a hand mixer to create foam. Adding purple paint to the mixture incorporated the color of the week!

The classroom teachers then talked with the children about how the foam felt and how it looked during their play and after the foam bubbles broke down.  The ladybugs have had such fun that they have asked to enjoy this bubbly fun almost daily!

DSCN0619 (2) Farm Sens      DSCN0622 Farm Sens      DSCN0624 (1) Farm Sens 2


Circle Time!

Circle time in the Henrietta preschool classrooms is an important start to every day!  During this time, the children pick their jobs, review the calendar, discuss the weather, talk about letters, listen to a story, and finish by singing and dancing!

Asking children to choose their job for the day provides a level of independence. It also makes each child responsible for the job they chose, which includes: teacher helper, fish feeder, calendar helper, line leader, caboose, plant caretaker, story selector, song chooser, snack helper, lunch helper, weather watcher, and sweeper helper. Each of these jobs is available every day and the children readily remind each other if anyone forgets!

During calendar review. the helper assists in determining the correct date, singing the days of the week and months of the year songs, and identifying the season.   Repetition and pattern identification are emphasized.  The weather watcher looks out the window and describes what he/she sees to the class.

During letter time, the class sings the ABC song while the teacher points to each letter.  This gives the children an opportunity to recognize and say each letter at the same time. Then the class practices spelling and identifying one child’s name so they begin to identify the letters that make up each friend’s name.

The story selector then chooses a story that is read by the teacher.  Questions are asked about the story as it is read, such as “how is the person feeling on this page?”  Children are able to perceive quite a bit at this young age!

Lastly, the song chooser selects the last song to sing.  Circle time songs always have some kind of movement associated with them. They may choose to jump up and down or simply move with their hands.

All this circle time activity only lasts about 20 minutes because attention spans are short at 3!  But movement during this time is encouraged and even helps young bodies and minds to learn!

2017-03-31 024 Hen Cir letters      2017-03-31 029 Cir Time Hen bks      2017-03-31 031Cir Time Hen read




Color Hopping!

Learning can happen in many ways and with varied experiences!  The Greece toddlers practiced their color identification and enhanced their gross muscle skills by using colored hoola hoops in the center’s gross motor space.

Many different colored hoola hoops were used to form rows of color on the carpet. The teachers then asked the children to hop in a hoola hoop of a particular color.  They thoroughly enjoyed the hoping and used their coordination skills to jump inside the hoop and stay balanced.  What a fun way to practice identifying colors, following directions, and getting exercise!

Hoops Gr      Hoops Gr 2Hoops Gr Feat


Visiting Chicks!

The children at Care-a-lot Farmington / Canandaigua were very excited to welcome newly hatched chicks into the center for some up-close observation and learning opportunities.  The preschool classrooms used the opportunity to offer the children a week-long study of birds. They learned all about how birds hatch from eggs, the names of their body parts, and the types of foods that they eat.

Providing children with an opportunity to experience areas of classroom learning with real animals made their learning literally come alive!  Young children learn best through real, hands-on experiences.  The chicks were a way to provide a concrete learning experience for the children that would reinforce circle-time and center activities on this same topic.  Books about beaks and feathers are fun but live birds are even better and create a lasting impression on young minds.  Everyone at the center form the little babies to the school-age children enjoyed hosting the chicks before they returned to the farm to continue growing!

DSCN0417 Chick Can     DSCN0422 Chicks Can     DSCN0414 chick can     DSCN0436 Chicks Can



Professional Weather Lessons!

Meteorologist Scott Hetsko of WHAM 13 really blew us away when he came to visit the Henrietta Kindergarten class!  He got us really excited to learn all about weather and was eager to answer all of our questions.

Mr. Hetsko brought a pressure contraption made out of a two-liter bottle with water in it and an air pump. The system emulated the making of a cloud!  Each student had a turn to feel the pressure in the bottle and see the puff of cloud that emerged!

Next, we were able to tour the weather truck!  Mr. Hetsko showed us all the current weather stats on the screen and even let each student hop in the front seat to be “on camera”!  It was SO COOL!  We thoroughly enjoyed our visit from the local weatherman and made our weather lesson that much more special!  A big thank you to WHAM 13 and Scott Hetsko for visiting and sharing with us!

2017-03-02 00 Hetsko      2017-03-02 038 Hetsko      2017-03-02 015 Hetsko feat      2017-03-02 040 Hetsko


Learning Centers!

At Care-a-lot, each classroom is arranged into learning centers.  This provides an ideal environment for teachers to actively engage children in meaningful, hands-on activities. Well-planned learning stations present children with challenging projects and opportunities for exploration, which encourage thinking skills and motor development

Beginning in the young toddler rooms, children at Care-a-lot move independently through the centers and choose to play in learning centers such as sensory, books, manipulatives, dramatic play, art, and blocks.  In this arrangement, children learn organizational skills, an important concept to begin to master!

As children grow and become more independent, additional centers are added to expand the curriculum opportunities. This provides for the social, emotional, physical and mental stages of early childhood development.

Materials are also changed to refresh the learning centers and add new opportunities for exploration and learning.  By rotating materials, teachers ensure that the centers remain fresh. Rotation also allows teachers to provide learning centers which focus on developing separate and distinct skill sets.

Centers Gr      Centers Gr 2      Centers Gr 3