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  • Marisa Ramsey

We are off to a SMART START!


Welcome to Smart Start 2019-2020!


This bunch of beautiful artists got off to an AMAZING start this week. They took on the first day of preschool like champs. We started the day with some morning movement. Right from the start they were eager listeners and were able to quickly pick up on movements, songs, and directions. That is a valuable skill that is going to allow us to do some really great things this year!

After morning movement, we did some "Procedure Practice". Now, that may sound formal and stuffy, but when you give it some dramatic flare even learning procedures can be fun. We jumped right into some acting on Wednesday morning by acting out the best way to enter the building safely, how to put our things away, and how to be a good listener. We have some FANTASTIC young actors who really got into their characters. This was especially true when we asked them to act out how NOT to do something. There was a lot of giggling over Jack's grumpy growl when he showed us the wrong way to greet his friends and teachers in the morning!

Our next stop was Morning Circle Time. This is a really important part of our school day. During Circle Time we learn to listen to one another, children get to try on leadership roles, and we work together to learn and review important concepts like time, weather, seasons, shapes, colors, etc. Circle Time always culminates with our book for the day. On Wednesday, we read Pete the Kitty's First Day of Preschool.

After Circle Time, we took a little bathroom break and then it was Table Time. During Table Time, students complete projects either to take home that day or something that will go into their Smart Start Journal. Journals stay with us until the end of the quarter. We will send first quarter journals home the Friday before Fall Break.

During Table Time on Wednesday, students got to check out their supply boxes. There's just nothing like a brand new box of crayons! They used their supplies to color picture frames and then glue on their "magic pictures". There were lots of squeals of delight as their faces magically appeared in the frames.

Next on our schedule...SNACK! Snack time is really precious to us. This little spot in the middle of our day gives us a chance to sit and eat with the children and hear all of their fabulous stories. We love getting to know them and hearing about their families, their pets, and all the other delightful things that are on their minds. Sweet friendships form over juice boxes and cheese sticks!

After bellies are full and thirsts are quenched, everyone is ready for the most popular part of our day...CENTERS!

Preschoolers learn through play and that's why we do A LOT of it. Our centers are designed with "Play Provocations" in mind. A bin full of dinosaurs can quickly become a lesson in counting and sorting. Puzzles help to name and match colors. That bin of animals is a bin full of letter sounds!

Our classroom has a variety of centers including:

Imaginative Play

Science & Sensory

Writing Center

Art Center

Building Center

Reading Center

Quiet Corner

The items available in our centers will change throughout the year. Each center offers a variety of play provocations. Our teachers move with the children, engage in play, and use each preschoolers' curiosity as a springboard into discovery.

We end each day with a farewell Circle Time. Our closing conversation gives our students a chance to tell us what they loved about Smart Start on that particular day and gives us a chance to reinforce key concepts one more time before they leave.


This morning's play provocation was all about building.

We built forts, cabins, airplanes, and Ella even figured out how to build a catapult! (Check out her video here.) This is one of our favorite play invitations and we come back to it often because there is just so much you can teach. Shapes, letters, engineering, numbers, geometry, patterns, and more! You will see lots of this kind of play throughout the year and I hope you hear lots of stories from your little one about the things they discover and learn when we build.

We sometimes marvel at just how quickly young children learn. This bunch walked to Circle Time and found their names on their chairs like it was day 34 and not day 2! Recognizing their names is a fantastic pre-reading skill. High fives all around!

Would you look at these listeners. Evelyn and Ella are showing how we listen like Mona Lisa with our eyes watching and ears listening. Jack, Sailor, Hayden, and Lily are sitting like Mona Lisa with their hands still and in their laps. Moms and Dads, this is a Day 2 miracle. Your children are miraculous!

Today is National Read A Book Day. We didn't just read A book. We read three! Pete the Cat was back with us for Circle Time today. Pete is always a preschool favorite. We started with Pete the Cat Rocking in My School Shoes. That was so entertaining we moved on to Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons. We couldn't stop there because we were having too much fun! The last book of the day was Pete the Cat I Love My White Shoes. Table Time was all about Pete. Ms. Debbie painted each child's hand and those little hands became our favorite, groovy cat.

Friday Centers!

The Art Center was a happening place today. Those giant pieces of butcher paper that are now gorgeous paintings will get folded and enclosed to become portfolios to hold this quarter's art projects. Parents, you will get to check out the treasures inside those portfolios over Fall Break!

These pictures of Deacon demonstrate one of our core principles: It's not about the product. It's about the process. Look at this artist in process. Please note that the work of art to be cherished in the last photo is not the painting on the wall but that look of triumph on Deacon's face!

Thank you for sharing your darlings with us this week. We are already over-the-moon about them. See you next week!

More Smart Start videos here!

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