❄️ Smart Start Week 16
Welcome to 2019!
A new year is a great time for a fresh start and that is exactly what happened at Smart Start this week. While our sweet students enjoyed Christmas Break, Ms. Deb and I spent some time preparing special spaces for our students. Each week, our Smart Starters grow in independence and skill. We want their space to grow with them and provide them with the best learning environment possible. So, as you look through this week's pictures, you will notice our new centers. We have had the best time this week watching students find their favorite spaces. Environment is a key component of learning. Preschoolers learn through play and exploration and our new spaces encourage just that!
For the second semester we are moving from independent play to start the day to Journal Time. At the beginning of the year, it was important for everyone to feel happy and at home upon arrival. Now that everyone is very much at home at ArtWorks, we are transitioning the way we begin our day. Students come into the classroom and choose a seat at one of our sweet new tables. We still ask the "Question of the Day", but instead of us writing their responses, we asked the students to illustrate their answers. Our theme this week was snow based on the Ezra Jack Keats book The Snowy Day. We asked the children to draw themselves on a snowy day. Once their picture was complete, we asked them to share their stories with the group. Debbie and I wrote out their words on their pictures so they can keep connecting the idea of putting their spoken words on paper by writing out words and sentences. They are always thrilled to have us read back their stories!
Once journal pages were complete, we moved to Circle Time. We chose a leader, checked the weather, and talked about how we were now in a brand new month in a brand new year. We listened to Ms. Debbie read The Snow Day. This story set the theme for the rest of the days activities.
In Creative Movement this week, we took our snowy theme into the studio. We began each movement class in a snowflake circle where we stretched up high, took a deep breath, and then blew a winter wind across the room. We sang songs about sledding and falling snow. We made snow angels and pretended to carry a heavy snowball that was packed tightly. We moved across the floor like we were trudging through thick snow and we skated gracefully like ice dancers. All these movements and songs are parts of the Brain Dance. Each movement is connected to an important developmental skill. With each song, dance, or march we are developing import skills like balance and spatial awareness.
For fun, we danced a Freeze Dance to "Frosty the Snowman". Freeze dances are silly and fun, but they help children develop listening and self-control which are oh so important!
After Creative Movement, we enjoyed a snack and then it was time to visit our new centers! We have a great new space for imaginative play. The Acting Center features costumes, a kitchen, and a puppet theater that was put to great use this week. There is also a Reading Center with books and cuddly toys. Our Discovery Center was full of winter-themed science books and activities. The Sensory Center had indoor snow. (Hint: Mix 1/2 cup of white hair conditioner with 2 cups of baking powder and your child can play in the snow all year round!) We have centers for art, math, writing, and building. We also created a special center for when children just need a quiet moment. The Quiet Corner is nestled in the back of the classroom and was often occupied this week. Quiet is hard to come by in our world. We hope to help our students practice times of quiet and to know when they just need some time to be still and think!
Writing with Ms. Deb!
We finished the day with a closing Circle Time where we asked the children to tell us something they learned or their favorite part of the day. This time of reflection is really great! It gives us a chance to review key concepts introduced and to hear how everyone experienced the same day, just in different ways.
Wednesday Journal Time
Wednesday Circle Time
On Wednesday, we watched a video of our story The Snow Day. The video's illustrations were straight out of the book. The difference was the music! We talked about how music helps a story to come alive; how it gives us clues to how parts of the story feel.
The Art Center was a happening place this week and we were blown away by the amazing pieces our students created!
We spent a little time up front this morning so we could paint the first part of a project we are working on for our winter mural. While Ms. Debbie helped students paint, others spent time building, coloring, and hanging out with our snowy friend. :)
Friday Snack and Centers
More Friday Fun
Happy New Year!