Nature Play On Vancouver Island

Nature Kindergarten On Vancouver Island

So nice to have friends help with classroom cleaning and set up including testing out the new paint easel!! I had already put some jars of paint in the cart beside the easel but immediately the children had their own ideas about colours, even mixing and creating their own colours. The brushes were sorted into three sizes and the girls chose the brushes for each paint colour. We let them paint for as long as they were interested and each painting was more colourful.  They had paint jars on each side of the easel so they had some colours the same and some different. It was fun to eavesdrop and listen to the conversation as they decided which colours to share and which ones were the same. Near the end one of the girls was running quite low on blue and asked for more but then her sister offered to share and told me they were fine and did not need any help! It was a wonderful pre-school experience to observe the two sisters working in tandem on their paintings. All ...
So what should you start with? I am a fierce advocate for reading aloud and storytelling with young children and when asked, I include it as my top literacy choice as it is right up there with conversation, songs and chants.  During a full day of kindergarten I set a goal to read  at least five stores in addition to songs, storytelling and chants including re-reading class favourites.  As you know books with predictable text and rhyme are easier for children to learn quickly and participate in the literacy experience! The children's success builds confidence making it a very enjoyable interactive read aloud. Which stories to start with will be for you to decide, however it might help to see what other early learning teachers love to use. I polled some friends and here are some of our must haves for those first few days. 1. Who Took The Cookies From The Cookie Jar by Bonnie Laz and Philemon Sturges I love the bright and cheerful artwork in this version. Ch...
Fall Provocations Using Empty Frames and Loose Parts Using frames are an opportunity for children to be creative using loose parts. I frequently offer this open ended creative invitation as a transition from our outdoor program to the classroom. You can set it up with some loose parts at the table or at the light table.  Materials for frame activities are often found materials in nature or collected through projects like the Beautiful Stuff program. Because it is a regular routine in our kindergarten room, the children transition easily to this interesting and beautiful provocation. In the fall we often bring a few frames with us to the forest for children and set them out just as an invitation during the exploration time of our morning. Here are a few ideas for other frame activities:   beach stones, small driftwood, sea glass twigs, leaves, stones metal rings, screws, bolts wooden cookies, twigs, wool, seed pods leaves, nuts, seeds, twigs ...
No one else sees the world the way you do, so no one else can tell the stories you have to tell – Charles de Lint STORY PLAY Two mornings a week I prepare the space for story play. I set up small invitations throughout the room for the children to visit as they transition from our outdoor morning. Each invitation has a few loose parts which the children use to create stories, often trading or sharing objects with a nearby classmate. This opportunity to create a personal story narrative is an important pre-cursor to story writing and a very beloved start to our indoor mornings I begin the school year with many, many oral stories using minimal props and then leave my story play basket for the children to access during exploration. Last year I used a wooden spool for our storytelling table, but as I observed how the children turned into powerful storytellers, I knew  that we needed a permanent story play area with a dedicated table and room for small story prop...
Nature Kindergarten by its very nature is exposed to the elements. Parents should expect that their children will be outdoors in all forms of weather as a core part of the program. Therefore, please ensure that your child is suitably dressed for all types of weather.  Because this is a locally developed program the school district does not provide additional staff to support the program. Parents choosing to be a parent supervisor often sign up for a month of days i.e. Tuesday mornings. We require two parents supervisors to be offsite during the first half of the year. Expect your child to be offsite four mornings each week. Please send them to school prepared for the outdoor sessions.   Every child must bring: a hiking backpack which fits your child comfortably and should be water resistant. We often hike for more than one kilometre each day. MEC has a range of children's backpack. We will provide a loaner pack for a short term or the entire school year...
Happiness lies in the joy of achievement and the thrill of creativity -Albert Einstein Inspired by Play School The Forest Way by Jane Worroll Each year there are children interested in fairy stories and fairy play who love to create crowns, wear special clothing like tutu's or capes and make wands. I have a wonderful fairy sensory bin and lots of books and accessories for the children interested in fairies for story play, imaginative play and crafting. These magic fairy wands made with sticks, yarn, leaves and flowers cast enchanting spells. This can either be put out as an invitation for story play, a creative activity or be a collective adventure with the children. My friend Aimee Blow was visiting family over the summer and created these nature magic wands with her nieces. Since the invitation to create is open ended the children choose the materials, create a design and work, often together, to create. Tips: Begin with a nature walk to co...
A morning at the beach and then exploring water colour painting. Years ago, when I transitioned to a Reggio Inspired program I found inspiration and made so many professional connections with facebook, twitter and many Reggio Inspired blogs and I still do.  "Provocations are experiences I set-up in response to children’s interests and ideas. When I set up a provocation I am providing hands-on exploration for children to practice, test, construct and deconstruct their ideas and theories."          -Fairy Dust Teaching Each morning as I prepare my room for the children I plan a simple provocation usually in the atelier unless we are doing story play. They either arise from the children's observed curiosities or are an invitation to explore new materials. They are intended to be student led and include tools and resources that the children are familiar with or that are self explanatory.  Tips! use small amounts of materials use tray...
As your artelier develops here are a few possibilities to add to your growing inventory of art materials Yarn - donated, but when I do buy some I like the thicker and more interesting yarns like those with woven with ribbon.  Paper Straws - I purchase mine from Michaels with a 50% coupon and usually cut them down to add to the beading box and reserve some for the collage area. Felt - I found yards of it in the art cupboard but can special order from the office specific colours. I cut the felt into small squares to reduce wastage. Fabric - these are donated from a local seamstress, families and local quilters. I also cut fabric into small squares. Glitter - I purchase mine from Michaels with a 50% coupon and keep it in small shaker containers. Wooden beads - I bought mine online from Amazon they seem to have the best prices but Michaels also sells them for a good price with a coupon. Sticker shapes -I got mine from the office and th...
Marilyn Chapman, a professor at BC's institute for Early Childhood Education, provides the following tips for parents preparing their child for Kindergarten. Reset the clock The end of summer is the time to restore structure to your child's schedule. Try to get him/her accustomed to going to bed on time and getting 12 hours of sleep. Washroom Break Help your child become independent in the washroom including flushing the toilet and hand washing. Delay Gratification Your child will not be able to  monopolize the teacher's attention, so  prepare them to wait their turn. Tidy Up Kindergarten children are expected to put away the toys that they play with, so coach your child on tidying up. Get o ff on the right foot Kindergarten children are expected to put on their own shoes. Help your child learn to put their shoes on the proper feet independently. Sometimes drawing a smiley face on the right shoe might help. Most schools also req...
Inspiration Photo A Learning Series In A Reggio Inspired Mini-Atelier In Public School As your atelier expands you will want to continue to be organized, have simple expectations in place for access of materials and space whilst adding additional tools and materials. Remember to use mostly small containers so that you can maximize space and have a wide variety of choices for the children. Here are five storage solutions that have worked well for me.  Click on the titles to visit to some inspiration photos, but remember to come back . Wooden Paint Ladder  - I got this idea from a display in a shop last week and added it to my thrift store list. If you add wood planks for storage to each step it works perfectly. I loved the rustic look of an old paint ladder as well as the triangular shape.  Storage cart - there are lots of these around. In recent years I repurposed a metal cart but found it a bit too large for the space and the flat shelves meant that the children ...
                        Organizing Art Work - n ow that the atelier is underway and the children are producing art you should have a plan for displaying as well as organizing how to send it home. If you don't have a plan then the art will pile up on any surface. I want the children to know that their work is valued and so  we spend time talking about display options. I thought I would share some of the methods that I have found successful in my space. Drying Rack - we have a 20 shelf metal drying rack for wet art. On days when that fills up the children lay the papers in the hall against the wall to dry. Clothesline - I have a 12 foot clothesline in the hall outside of my classroom. I used string, push pins and mini-clothespegs and attach it to the bottom of display boards. The children hang dry art on the clothesline until they decide to take it home or give it to a friend. Gallery Wall - A collection of used frames, with the glass removed, are attached to wa...
A Learning Series In A Reggio Inspired Mini-Atelier In Public School I am a lover of words and actually keep journals of quotes. Last year, in Italy I filled a journal just with quotes from the speakers, Reggio teachers and guests. So it is no surprise that I have lots of Reggio inspirational quotes. Here is one that makes me smile every time I read it and helped to fuel my passion for our mini-atelier. I read it when I visited Reggio Emilia Loris Malaguzzi Conference Centre last year. It was a amazing experience and I believe that everyone who attends the work study are inspired to develop a reflective and responsive program inspired by Reggio Emilia. 100 Languages of Children The hundred is there. The child  is made of one hundred. The child has one hundred languages a hundred hands a hundred thoughts a hundred ways of thinking of playing, of speaking -Loris Malaguzzi My intention for the mini-atelier is to ignite a child's  curiosit...