Friday, August 31, 2018

Your Preschooler

The preschool years are an amazing time for you and your child.  Preschoolers are more verbal (this means a lot of  questions).  Preschoolers are funny (this means lots knock knock jokes and nonsensical jokes that only preschoolers understand).  Preschoolers are smart (do you know what coprolite is?) Preschoolers are busy (which is why there are lots of activities in our classroom).  

Want to know about your preschooler?

Monday, August 27, 2018

The Wisdom of Play 2018

The only screen that your child can look at MCP is the screen in the window.  No computers. No tablets for children.  Play.  Play powered by your child's imagination and creativity.  It's a powerful energy that we channel in the classroom and it's a joy to watch.

For more info---
http://elf2.library.ca.gov/pdf/WisdomOfPlay.pdf

Friday, August 24, 2018

The Missing Piece

"Even the hardest puzzles have a solution."

Puzzles are an important part of your child's development.  At MCP, we have a variety of puzzles for all skill levels. We have puzzles with knobs for beginners.  We have 4-8 piece wooden tray puzzles and on up to 24 and 48 piece jigsaw puzzles which include our floor puzzles.  We also have really hard puzzles to challenge our students.

What are puzzles doing for your child's development?  A lot!  

Your child has to pick up and manipulate puzzle pieces which develops the fine motor skills.  As your child tries to solve the puzzle, they are looking at pieces and trying to fit pieces into a space which works on their eye/hand coordination. 

As your child looks at the pieces, they are searching for clues in shape and color. Puzzles are problem solving.  We often tell the children to be a 'puzzle detective'.  When the children ask for help (which sometimes means 'will you solve this for me?), we will give guidance but not touch pieces.  "There's blue sky.  Where will the blue pieces go?"  Each child also has their own style in solving a puzzle so we don't tell them they have to find the straight pieces first.  Their job is to solve the puzzle in manner that best works for them.  We  also see children go back repeatedly to the same puzzle until they have mastered it.  Repeatedly working on a puzzle helps with memory. 

"I DID IT!"  I love to hear these words when a child finishes a puzzle.  There is an emotional side of puzzles that builds your child's self-esteem.  Puzzle are typically an individual activity and for a  young child to successfully complete a puzzle on their own is a big deal.  As they begin working with puzzles, children have to be patient and persevere through their frustration when pieces are not fitting where they believe they should go. 

Puzzles are social.  Floor puzzles are a group effort.  When we have harder puzzles out, we often see two or three children working together.  As children see their peers complete our more difficult puzzles, it encourages them to try. If a student is struggling we will have a student help their friend solve the puzzle.   This gives students an opportunity to teach their friends.  Success breeds success.

What can you do at home? Well, provide puzzles, of course.  Puzzles can be expensive but you can often find puzzles at discount stores.  Older children can be encouraged to try crossword puzzles, word searches and other word puzzles.  Have some fun finding the missing piece with your child!



Monday, August 13, 2018

MCP Preschool Students

At Metamora Community Preschool, we believe that our program will provide a solid foundation for elementary school.  What will your child learn?  More than you think...
1. How to be a student---When the children are playing in centers, our room may seem disorganized and chaotic but a lot is happening. The children are allowed to move from center to center and choose activities or toys that interest them.  Yet within the structure of our centers, there are rules and routines to learn.  The children learn where to return toys, how many children are allowed in each center, what to do when the bell rings, how to stand and walk in a line with their friends, and how to sit and listen to the teacher.  The children are learning how to behave in the classroom and how to behave in a  large group.
2.  How to make friends and be a friend---The park, daycare, lessons and activities have already provided your child with the opportunity to be with other children.  School is way for your child to connect with other children, make friends and be a friend.  Your child will learn to resolve conflicts and communicate with their friends.  We will provide activities for the children to work in pairs and small groups.  This encourages communication, sharing of  ideas, and  making decisions as a group.
3.  How to be independent---As parents, we naturally come to the aide of our children---helping with a coat or backpack, handing a towel to dripping hands and other small tasks.  At school, we work on independence.  The children not only learn to be independent but also to be patient.  As they learn to be more independent from teachers, they will develop into a more confident and independent  student. 
4.  How to tell a story---The children will listen to stories,  use props to retell stories, and dictate stories.  We work on developing a love for books and the written word.
5.  How to ask the teacher for help---It's easy for a child to ask mommy or daddy for help. A teacher has many other children who all need time and attention.  When teachers build  caring relationships with students, the student will develop the confidence to request help.  Our goal is to be caring, responsive and approachable.
6.  How to use a scissors and glue---Working with scissors, crayons and markers do more than just decorate your refrigerator.  When children use scissors and crayons, they are developing fine motor skills and small muscles.  We have many toys, activities and centers that work on fine motor skills.  Our art center has scissors, glue, markers, crayons, pens and pencils available every day.  Our writing center has pens and pencils with paper, cards, stickers and envelopes. 
7. How to build with blocks---Building with blocks allow children to freely explore spatial relationships, strengthen motor skills, promotes eye/hand coordination  and develop social and language skills. We also have Legos, waffle blocks, bristle blocks, Magneatos and a train set that rotate through this center.
8.  Learn to recognize symbols---Most preschoolers are able to to identify a few letters and numbers.  They thrive on reciting and writing the letters in their name and begin to learn the letters in classmates and teacher's names.  They are understanding and recognizing colors and shapes.  We repeatedly say, "Shapes are everywhere."  "Colors are everywhere."  "Letters and numbers are everywhere." 
9.  How to hop, skip and jump---Playing outside is different than  indoor center play.  Playing outside strengthens muscles, increases coordination, develops body awareness, and boosts  a child's self confidence.  Outdoor play creates situations for children to independently problem solve and socially interact with peers in an a environment different than the classroom.
10. How to be a scientist---Preschoolers are naturally inquisitive and love to explore.  Our job is to provide many opportunities for children to have hands-on and self-directed activities.  Pumpkin pieces with seeds, flowers, a computer motherboard, sensory bottles and tubs, science experiments for the group and individual are just a few ways that science is introduced and explored.
Our classroom encourages children to be a student by providing a wide variety of interesting materials, activities and experiences.  Building, painting and exploring will allow your child to learn and be creative in the classroom.