Welcome to Paula's Preschool and Kindergarten! My class blog is the place I share information about some of the fun learning activities we are doing at school. I hope to provide parents with insight into what we are doing, and why, and to share ideas with other early childhood educators. Please don't use the photos or text of this blog without permission, but please do use any ideas you find useful. Thank you for stopping by!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Exciting E

 It is still 3 full weeks until Easter, but  I can't think of anything better to review the letter E.  First of all, it is meaningful to the children.  Between "Easter" and "eggs" we have both the long and short vowel sounds.  There are many, many terrific books about it, and of course, any number of fun Easter things to play and learn with. 
Tips and tricks for preparing for Easter in preschool
I read the children Seven Eggs, by Meredith Hooper, to get us started.  In the story, one egg opens each day for a week, so as we read we predicted which day would be next, and what might hatch out of each egg.  The eggs all looked different, so the children thought different animals would hatch from each one, and they were right.  The hatchlings included reptiles and birds, but the children also predicted frogs, (okay, and hippos) so I was pleased to see they remembered many different kinds of animals that lay eggs.
Tips and tricks for preparing for Easter in preschool
After we read, I pulled out my bag of empty Easter eggs, and some treats to stuff them with.  Each year, the children's parents send in just the treats, and the children stuff the plastic eggs I've collected over many years.  I've included some of the things we put in the eggs this year, to show some of the non-candy options: necklaces, rings, jewels, bubbles, plastic animals, hair doodads, stamps... other possibilities include stickers, coins, tiny toy cars.  Please please, keep in mind the ages of the children you are catering to, and supervise closely for children that mouth small parts.

To stuff the eggs with a class full of kiddos, we sit in a circle, and I roll one or two empty eggs to each child, and then the treat(s) to put in the egg.  The children open their eggs, stuff them, and close them up again, then hold it straight up in the air for the other teacher to collect.  When they're ready for another egg, they hold their hands out in front of them, to show me they'd like another.  We train the children to do it this way so they understand that we don't want a dozen children yelling at us for help, for more, for ... well, really, for anything!  Each day from now until Easter, or until the eggs are all filled, we'll stuff a few eggs.  The children LOVE doing this, seeing the treats, and helping to prepare for our big Easter egg hunt.  Unfortunately I didn't take any photos of this in action - I was very busy handing out treats and eggs!

Some of my young artists wanted to draw and decorate eggs to follow up, so I offered a variety of stencils with ovals, hearts and star shapes to help them make their shapes.  We had a lot of egg pictures today, and the stencils will stay available in the art center for as long as the children are interested in them.

When we went outside, we took 50 empty plastic eggs and a bunch of baskets and containers with us.  The children all hid the eggs in the backyard, then came back together, counted down from ten to zero, and... ran!
Tips and tricks for preparing for Easter in preschool
They hid the eggs over and over and over again!  This game will also go on for weeks, they never get tired of it.  This will give us a lot of opportunities to think about how we can be fair to each other as we hunt eggs, to practice getting some, but not being too greedy, and to see that our youngest friends move a little slower than the biggest kiddos, and to understand why I'll let them start the real hunt before their older friends.
Tips and tricks for preparing for Easter in preschool
 Eventually the crazed rush of our first attempts calms down, and this becomes a much more peaceful less crazy experience.  The real egg hunt will still be super fun - that's when there will be surprises in our eggs - but instead of a having just a brief frenzy of egg snatching and strong emotions on a single day, this practice allows the children to satisfy their desire to do it over and again.  Isn't that what every child wants?
Tips and tricks for preparing for Easter in preschool
Happy Spring!

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