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!

Sunday, June 8, 2014

It Must Be Summertime...

 It may only be the beginning of June, but here in Texas, it sure feels like summertime!  When the temperature hits 90*, it's time to break out the popsicles.  This was the first popsicle of the summer.
 With summer break here, we have some old friends graduating, and new friends starting.  My main focus for this week and next is making that transition, reestablishing routines, and learning about each other.  If we can add in some fun and a few popsicles, all the better!

 I've started turning on the misters while we are outside.  It's funny how children and adults see things differently.  To me the mister is a lovely cooling device, a spot to stand for a moment to cool off.  Do the children see it that way?  No!  They think it's a shower.  Or if they bring buckets over, maybe a bath tub, or the beginnings of delicious mud soup.
Here are some of the other things going on at school right now...

Quiet moments with friends, looking for ducks and herons, or maybe turtles...

 The cabbage plants that flowered a month ago are drying up now - and releasing their seeds as they do.
 The children spent a lot of time this week picking the tiny seeds out of the seed pods, and gathering them in envelopes or tiny cups.
 They enjoyed it so much, and were getting such great fine motor work outs doing it, that I brought them inside to work on after lunch one day.  They collected hundreds of seeds!  One day next week I'll have them count them out and glue them in groups of ten, so we can find out just how many there were.

Do you remember the nasty old carefully nurtured potatoes I wrote about a couple of weeks ago?  You can see that post here.  They are growing beautifully!  Not all of them survived, but there are several plants growing, and the children have already helped me add soil around them twice.  Potatoes will grow in the space between the original planting, and the top of the soil, so we'll keep adding soil as the plants grow, and hopefully have a delicious harvest in a couple of months.
 My kindergarteners helped me pick beans, strawberries and tomatoes at a neighbor's house one afternoon this week.  Their garden is so much more bountiful than mine!  It was such a pleasure for us to search for green beans, hiding under the leaves, and for ripe red tomatoes.  One of the children kept picking tomatoes, and telling me they were "as red as candy".  Guess what?  They tasted like candy too!
 Look closely at this child's smile... yes, that is a strawberry in her mouth!

One more fun activity that I want to share this week is our "junk box exploration".  Yes, I know, junk box sounds... lovely.  Just what you'd want your child to play with.  Really.  The truth of the matter is, the children loved this so much, they begged to have it again the following day - and we did.
 So what exactly is "junk box exploration?"  Just what it sounds like.  Over the years I've collected lots of little bits of junk that I know will fascinate the kiddos. 

Do you remember being a child?  Do you remember what fascinated you, and what you wanted to play with and check out?  I remember being fascinated with paper - any kind of paper.  Little pieces of colored paper, the marvelous acordian folded dot matrix printer paper with the tearable seams... any paper!  I also loved the junk drawer in our kitchen.  I never knew what I might find in the junk drawer: keys, coins, buttons, rubber bands, book marks, lost game pieces... treasure!  Maybe I've made this collection for myself more than for the kiddos, but they love it just as I did.

Looking at these pictures, I see a block the boys played with when they were little, a coin purse one of them used for a short time, a glow in the dark star that was once on the ceiling above the bunk bed, a plastic top that used to be in my treasure box at school, a key ring - from where?, a tiny yellow traffic cone that may have been Bob the Builder's, a cork, a marker lid - how many of those have we worn out over the years?, the bow from a Snow White dress - the one we could hardly get off a daycare child long ago- it was so loved.  There's a white pinecone left over from a craft project, tiny plastic mazes the boys were given one Halloween, the magnet from a magnadoodle toy... all flotsam and jetsom of my life as a teacher and a mommy. 

When I think about it, this is not really a junk box at all.  It's a memory box, already full of memories for me, and just beginning to open itself to possibilities for the children.  Little wonder they see it as a treasure!

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