Cooking, baking, tasting…

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Every week the arTree kids will make their own lunch.

They will learn about nutrition and healthy living while they chop, measure and stir. I am putting together fun and balanced menu that the preschoolers may enjoy AND they can do themselves. I have a list of wonderful recipes: from soups, paninis and pizzas to muffins, parfaits and waffles. It has been fun putting this together.

And I must say that Cooking class book was a wonderful help and an amazing find!  I could not be happier with it. I got it for my daughter for Christmas and she absolutely loves it! It has so many wonderful recipes with easy-to-follow instructions that it makes it really fun and easy for her to do most of it herself! I am pretty sure the little cooks at my preschool will feel as excited about it as she is.

So far we did a lot of pancakes (she even flips them herself), crepes, parfaits, popcorn chicken, cat pizzas, salads and eggs, fruit animals and much more! If your little ones likes to hep out in the kitchen, check it out.

Typing Away…

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Olivetti 44 typewriter from 1950s (made in Barcelona) just joined our literacy center.

I was so thrilled when I discovered this gem at a local antique store. I had to buy it right away! It is exactly what I was hoping for: amazingly cool piece of 70-year-old technology that can get the kids excited about writing. There is something really fun about seeing how the typewriter works: how it changes the color of the tape, how the letters stamp on the paper, how you move the paper up and down and left to right… unlike computers (that we love and try to incorporate into our days as well) typewriters make it so easy for the little engineers to actually see what is going on in the machine and how it works. They are fascinated by them, and honestly, I don’t blame them.

I hope it will keep the kids excited about literacy and engineering for the days, months and years to come! I’ll upload some of the letter we wrote 🙂

Pirate week is going to be awesome!

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Pirate week is coming to arTree preschool each April during our Station Imagination theme.

We learn about pirates, make boats and cool ocean art, go on treasure hunts and decorate our parakeets… BUT today I wanted to give a shout-out to one of the local Buy Nothing Facebook group members who generously donated all of their Pirate party supplies to us! Now we have even more fun pirate stuff: tons of pirate ships, coins and pearls, eye-patches, flags and even a huge wooden crab (curious to see what the kids name it)! It will be the most epic Pirate party ever! So thank you. We AAAAAAAAR very grateful. 

O’Keeffe and Flowers

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Painting flowers with Georgia O’Keeffe is always a big hit. We bring real flowers to the classroom. Kids choose the one that they like the most and explore it with magnifying glass to see all the little details. We talk about Georgia O’Keeffe and how she wanted people to notice flowers-and that is why she painted them so huge!

Then we draw a close-up of our flower with a black permanent marker and color it in with liquid watercolors. The fun part is that you can paint with a brush or with the flower… kids usually do both.

“Look! I have some real flower on my painting,” said M. as he squished the flower into the canvas. It definitely added some nice texture.

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What is a Provocation?

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arTree preschool takes some of its inspiration from Emilia Reggio, including the provocation station.

What is provocation? It may sound unfriendly but it is quite the opposite: it provokes thoughts, discussions, questions, interests, creativity and ideas. 

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How does it look like? 

In May we talk about flowers and Claude Monet. So, our provocation station may look like this: a small table filled with artwork by Monet, wooden and glass bowls filled with small green gems, flower buttons, artificial leaves and wooden ladybugs. There may also be empty picture frames to provoke kids to fill them in.

It does not come with any directions. It is up to the kids to create what they wish. There are no right or wrong answers. It’s about imagination, creativity and exposure to new materials.

We do not glue our creations down. We just take pictures and play again. That way the kids do not feel pressured and the materials can reused as many times as they wish. Plus, we have a visual record of our transient creations that we share with the families and friends.

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But these provocations go even further. They may encourage kids to learn more about dinosaurs: dig up dinosaurs our of plaster, explore real fossils or match dinosaurs with their skeletons. They may ‘ask’ kids to read words, do letter-based puzzles or spell with aplhabots. They may provoke them to practice their pre-algebra skills or to create an ocean scene with shells and beads. Possibilities are endless and we change them every day!

Do you want to try setting up these stations at home? An Everyday story has a wonderful guide you may find useful. Have fun!

Environment: Third Teacher

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In arTree preschool the environment is the third teacher.

What does that mean?

Teacher and kids are the first two teacher. But we also believe that the environment is an important aspect of any early childhood program. We are designing our space so that it enables children to develop relationships with the world around them, themselves and each other.

How? 

We provide a lot of natural elements in the classroom: wooden furniture and high-quality educational toys, including a large selection of blocks and building toys. We design our space so it changes along with interests of the children. We recreate our pretend play area every couple of weeks: our grocery store becomes a vet office, kitchen or a fire station. 

We bring nature into our classroom with a large science area filled with rocks, gems, fossils, live fish and many other treasures (including a huge wasp nest from soaring Eagle park).

We encourage kids’ creativity by providing a large supply of artist-quality paints, pastels and clay.

We have a large selection of age-appropriate books in our cozy reading nook. Kids engage all of their senses with our sensory tub, art provocations, light table and in our kitchen area.

We are very excited to get started! Stay tuned for more pictures from the remodel.