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!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Our Morning Routine

Today I'd like to share our morning routine with you.  My school is in my home, and I've created a combination preschool, kindergarten, and home child-care.  Children arrive any time after 7:30am, we eat breakfast around 8 am, and by 8:30 we're ready to learn.  This is how we start the structured learning part of each day.

We sing and dance!  Children love to move, and they learn best when they are moving, listening, looking at and joining in with engaging activities, so we start each day with 20-30 minutes of active learning with youtube.com.  I've created a play list for each week of the school year, so it's super easy for me to pull it up on the computer.  Each playlist starts with something energetic!  Here the kiddos are enjoying I Like To Move It, from Madagascar. 
 I always include songs that focus on the letter of the week, and our favorites are the StoryBot songs, and Sesame Street Podcasts.  There is always something about counting, and most weeks I try to include some Spanish language activities - El Perro Y El Gato is a fantastic, kid appropriate series.
Other, really useful channels to find learning songs include Heidi Songs, Harry Kindergarten Music, Dr. Jean and The Learning Station.

When singing and dancing is finished, the kiddos sit on the carpet, and I draw them back together with an alphabet activity.  Some days we recite Chicka Chicka Boom Boom as I point to the letters on my Chicka Chicka Boom Boom tree, other days we chant the alphabet, and sounds.  Here the kids are pretending to eat an apple as they say, "A is for apple, a a a."
 D is for dog, d d d...
 Their favorite is V is for volcano, v v v, because they use big voices and big arms.  Even sitting down, we're incorporating music and movement.
 Next we stand up, ready to jump and count to 20, and to follow along as one of us points to the number line.  We jump to emphasize the move to the next number, as working on 1-1 correspondence is important at this stage.  Of course, jumping also gets our wiggles out, and even younger children who may not be able to say all the numbers to 20, can jump and participate, whilst hearing the numbers, and perhaps learning their sequence.

I ask 3 kiddos to tell me something we have zero of (lions, sharks, and unicorns today), and then let everyone else whisper their idea to a friend.  Then we jump and count!
 We sit down quickly when we're done, so we can count by 5's to 100, raising 5 toes as we say each number. 
 We sit up straight and put 10 fingers up in the air for each number when we count by 10's to 100.
 Then we quickly stand up, and reach high into the air to be rocket ships, and count down. 10, 9, 8...
 5, 4, 3, 2, 1...
 0, blast off!
Next we sing a counting to ten song in Spanish.  I wish I could provide a link to it, it's one I learned from Sesame Street a looooong time ago, but I can't find it on youtube.  It might seem like a small thing to include in our routine, but I know it's worthwhile.  Just last week a parent asked me if I had been teaching her son to count in Spanish, because he was walking around at home singing the Spanish numbers song!  Music really does help children (and adults) remember things!  

While we're standing up we do the pledge to the flag, standing tall and proud, showing respectful body language.  I made up a little rhyme to help the kiddos remember the names of our flag:
The Red, White and Blue,
Old Glory too,
The Stars and Stripes,
We respect you!

We sit back down, and look out the window, and on the count of 3, everyone whispers what our weather looks like, so we can graph it.  Thr child in the next picture is signing "equal", because we've had 0 snowy days and 0 rainy days so far this month.

I ask questions about our graph, from easy (How many ___ days?) to challenging (How many more ___ than ____?)  We always notice what has the most, and what has the fewest!

The last thing we do is look at the calendar.  I use a picture pattern for the calendar numbers, and we always start several days back, and count-on to find out what number we need.  We don't start counting at 1 every time, because counting-on is an important pre-addition skill, and one preschoolers might not otherwise experience.  We say the pattern too, starting several days back, and continuing the pattern to discover which picture we need.  This month our calendar numbers have shamrocks on one side, and rainbows on the other. 

We finish by singing and dancing to Dr. Jean's Macarena Months song, and the Days of the Week song.  With that last dance, the children are ready to sit down for a quick story and lesson, or whatever we have planned for the morning.

As you can see, our "Preschool" time is very active, and very musical.  We include a lot of things!  Over 20 years of teaching, I've found that daily repetition is key to students remembering.

Next time I'll tell you more about what comes after our preschool routine!

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