Cards for Moms

Making gifts for moms has become a ‘thing’ in my classroom now.

We make gifts for them almost every day. Kids want to make pictures for their moms. They want to pick flowers for them. They want to wrap pieces of papers as presents for them (the more of them there are and the more colorful they are the better, obviously).

I scored a box of old (yet amazing) greeting cards at a garage sale and when the boys found them in our tinkering space, they were amazed. They immediately wanted to use them to make cards for their moms. True, some of them were wedding congratulations, Christmas cards, Valentine’s Day cards… but when the kids combined them together, glued some gems on top and wrote a personal message inside, I think nobody minded.

Building a House

Yesterday the kids decided that my house burned down and I need a new one. What followed was amazing.

They started talking about what my house needs and of course, since they are four boys, the main focus was bathrooms. As of now, my new house has 18 of them (one of them being inside of a dump truck to make it easier). But that’s not all. I now have ‘pool noodle electricity’ installed throughout my mansion, along with a hose so that my house does not burn again… I have three beds, an attached restaurant and a lot of things to play with, including a fish and a monster. I have a high-tech security system that will scare all bad guys away and I have a very flexible roof that can be removed as needed. Honestly – what more can I wish for?

From a professional point of view – they worked on it for two hours, cooperated, helped each other, planned and estimated how what will support the weight of the logs… they measured and counted how many items they used. They wrote messages around the house practicing their literacy skills. They were so engaged, it was truly inspiring.

Mailing letters filled with paint


Painting letters

V really enjoyed putting together huge letters today. It started slowly. He wanted to paint over some doodles he made on a paper. Then he wanted to paint another piece of paper… and then he experimented. What would happen if I put them on top of each other? This simple inquiry resulted in thirty minutes of a very focused work. He kept adding more and more paper and using the paint as a glue. When the paint was not enough he used tape. Soon the letters were so thick it was a challenge stuffing them in the envelopes. 

I was amazed how such a simple activity can become such an amazing project – with such focus and attention. Soon M started copying V’s work… it looks like I have at least two engineers and inventors in the classroom this year. We already talked about getting more boxes so we can build up our houses with them (and tape) and painting them. Looks like a long term project in the making of you ask me. ❤️

Building up Seattle

Where do we live?

We are opening our doors next week for the first time! I cannot wait to start working with the kids. I have so many things ready to show them and so many ideas what to do! 🙂

The first month is going to be all about us – trying to learn more there is to know about ourselves and the place where we live. The room is slowly transitioning – Space Needle and self-portrait stations everywhere… just couple more days to go!

Driftwood Animals

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How much doe it take to encourage kids to see extraordinary in the ordinary objects?

Usually not more than a couple of words. In this case, it took even less. I just collected some driftwood and brought it into the classroom. I showed the treasures to the kids and let them play with it. Suddenly the sticks became snakes or dragons, the larger pieces changed into birds and cars, people or even dinosaurs.

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We then talked about driftwood and read Driftwood Dragons (really nice poems). Then it took just some questions like: how can we bring out the animals that are hiding in the driftwood out for everyone to see? – Paint them! And we sure did.

It was a really fun project and now we have a lot of fun animals for our block area. I’m sure they will be very happy there.

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.