How We Organize Ourselves

Dear Pre-K Parents,

We have begun our new unit of inquiry. The following information will allow you to support your child’s learning and understanding from home.

We will be inquiring into the following:

Transdisciplinary Theme: How we organize ourselves

An inquiry into the interconnectedness of human-made systems

Central Idea: Signs and symbols are human-made systems that help people communicate.

Lines of Inquiry that will define the scope of our inquiry into the central idea:

  • Signs and symbols
  • How signs and symbols help people to communicate
  • Systems of communication

Ways you can help: Be on the lookout for signs and symbols with your child around your home or while you are out and about. They are all around us and will be exciting for your child to begin noticing with a keen eye! Ask your child what the sign is trying to communicate and how they know. Take pictures or draw them and encourage your child to share his/her findings in class.

Yours in learning,

The Pre-K Team

Reggio Emilia

Dear Parents,

The week after Spring Break, the teachers of Pre-K will be in Reggio Emilia – a city in the northern region of Italy, famous for the approach to educating young children.  It is a student-centered way of educating, utilizing self-directed, experiential learning in relationship driven environments.

We are very fortunate to have the school encourage us to visit Reggio Emilia as a grade level team — it is the strongest way to develop our ideas together, returning back with a shared vision of how to improve our program in order to support your child’s learning.

 

Just a note to let you all know of our absence.  We will all still have access to our emails, but may not be able to respond as timely as usual.

Thanks for your support,

The Pre-K Team

 

Tool Talks

We have introduced real tools in the Pre-K!

Safety is a priority to us so we have gathered some Tool Safety Experts to teach the children about the proper and safe use of tools.  Please watch this series of safety videos with your child and talk about the importance of taking care and being mindful when working with tools.

Why have we introduced real tools?

’Risky play’ provides opportunities to explore boundaries.

Using real tools enriches children’s learning, enhances their motor skills, and gives them confidence in their own abilities.  Although the use of real tools poses a small amount of danger to young children, children are supervised at all times and are supported in gaining the necessary knowledge and confidence to assess risk and dangers.

As with any kind of pretend play, plastic toys provide children with an opportunity to mimic the adults in their lives through their interaction with the materials.  However, plastic tools can often leave little room for children to do anything substantial, meaningful, or realistic with and can diminish the opportunity to build new skills in relation to problem solving, critical thinking and responsibility.

The use of real tools in an early years setting promotes children’s self-regulation and self-control as the consequences of misusing the tools are also very personal and very real.

Using real tools has also been found to support the healthy development of young children’s arm and hand muscles, which helps individuals to familiarise themselves with pre-writing tools.

 

In a risk-averse society, it is important not to deny young children the opportunity to experiment with their surroundings using real tools.  Please partner with us in teaching the safety of how to use these tools so that your child can have a safe and rich experience!

A Celebration of Learning!


       

The costumes have been sewn, the shadow puppets made, the clay has been animated!  It is time to put on our show!!

We would like to invite you to our Celebration of Learning, here in our Pre-K classrooms, on Wednesday, March 7th, at 2:00pm.

Since December, we have been learning to make and tell stories.  The children have been inspired to create their own stories and want to share them with their loved ones – YOU!

 

At the beginning of our unit, children were split into four learning groups.  They rotated through the classrooms learning the various skills needed to create their own stories.

 

 

Then, they had free reign over all the classrooms to play and experiment, returning to the spaces where they could put their new storytelling skills into practice.

 

 

 

Finally, after observing and listening to the children during play, the educators split them up into storytelling groups (according to their interests) and supported them to make their final products:  stories that they can share and tell to you!

 

We hope you all can make it!  Please feel free to bring your child’s siblings along, and any other family members that would take pride in your child’s learning.  The videos that have been made will be put up on our website after the Celebration of Learning so that friends and family from afar will be able to see the work.

We hope to see you next Wednesday!

Pre-K Team

 

Report Cards

Dear Pre-K and Kinder Families,

You received your child’s report card last Friday afternoon. The email that you received with the report did not clarify the difference in the structure between our Early Years reports and those for students in grades 1-5. We apologize for any confusion.

The report should provide you with a meaningful picture of your child’s learning at school. You will note that in place of linear scales, your child’s teachers have written comments that share your child’s growth. If you have questions about your child’s learning, please contact her or his teacher.

Yours,

Michelle Alzamora

Elementary School Principal

How We Express Ourselves

Dear Families of Pre-K,

It’s the magic time of Story Telling in Pre-K! We are starting our “How We Express Ourselves” Unit of Inquiry in which students will be thinking about different ways to express ideas through stories and showing threir creativity.

Central Idea: Stories can be expressed and interpreted in many ways.

Lines of Inquiry that will define the scope of our inquiry into the central idea:

  • Ways stories are expressed
  • Ways people respond to and retell stories
  • Creating and expressing our own stories

All throughout this unit, we are discussing and exploring various means of storytelling. Through Guided Inquiry students are investigating what the creators need to think about while crafting a story. During the open inquiry time, students are learning different ways of storytelling and special skills required for those.   

Each student is a memebr of a learning group exploring the different storytelling spaces created for them in our Pre-K classrooms:

  • Drama area with a stage and costumes
  • Puppet theatre
  • Shadow theatre
  • Green Screen studio
  • Animation Studio
  • Book Making and Publishing areas

Teachers are thrilled to see how much thinking is happening through play in those areas!

Ways you can help at home:

  • Help your child notice the different ways we share and tell stories at home or during family day trips (theatre visits, galary walks…). Take pictures or draw them and encourage your child to share his/her understanding in class.
  • Read books or watch movies and talk about who the characters are, in what setting the story takes place, and what problem the characters are trying to solve.
  • Please speak with your child’s teacher if you would like to come in and share a story with the class.  Maybe you have a way of sharing stories that other children may not have experienced – something specific to your culture.
  • Create stories with your child at home during play time!

 

Happy storytelling!

The Pre-K Team

 

Agency in Young Children – Anne van Dam

Dear Parents,

We would like to remind all of you about the parent presentation called ‘Encouraging Agency in Young Children’ by Anne van Dam, an early childhood education expert.   She will be speaking and hosting a discussion this Friday, November 10th, at 8:45 in the Community Room.

When a child has a sense of agency they are able to make choices and decisions to influence events, and to have an impact on their world (EYLF, p.45)  Having a sense of agency is closely linked to the key concepts of being, belonging, and becoming, and to developing a strong sense of identity.  

Anne is working with Pre-K and K teachers all this week, promoting and support our inquiry based approach.  Her talk on agency is a way to support parents to better understand the choices we make in the classroom, as well as the choices parents can make at home.

Your partners in learning,

Katie, Masha, and Amber

The Importance of Messy Play

Children, especially young children, need to explore their environment with all their senses. Children learn primarily through play, so combining their need to play and their need to explore often results in a mess.

The definition of “Messy Play” is play that emphasizes the active exploration of materials and their properties. Messy play enables children to be creative when they use materials in new ways. They combine previously unconnected materials and make discoveries that are new to them.

Messy play involves children using all of their senses in the process of exploration. Especially the sense of touch. It offers children the opportunity to mold and manipulate materials. Messy play does not have a focus on making or producing something which leaves the child free to explore all sorts of possibilities. It taps into the children’s innate curiosity about the world around them and their strong desire to explore and find out more.

Messy play offers children opportunities to investigate when presented with unfamiliar materials with differing properties. Children can observe, manipulate and identify simple features using all of the senses. Messy play encourages children to set their own challenges, to problem solve and find out about cause and effect.