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Maple Room News

Posted on by Maple

Weeks of August 19, August 26, and September 2

Interviews and Orientation

Children’s House interviews took place on Monday, August 19 and Tuesday, August 20. We were very excited to meet students new to the Maple Room and their parents. For the remainder of the week, the new children had half-day orientation days and left at 11:30 a.m.

Ground rules, such as using walking feet in the classroom, using an inside voice, raising your hand before you speak, putting your hand on a teacher’s shoulder when needing something, and using your words to communicate were discussed during circle time. We also talked about bathroom procedures, such as only one person in the bathroom at a time. A bathroom necklace is hung on the door. When someone uses the bathroom, they put the necklace on so everyone else knows that someone is in there. If ever a doubt, knock on the door and ask before entering.

Finally, we reviewed hand washing procedures to help us stay germ-free, as much as possible. The children were taught a song to sing while they wash their hands that helps them wash an appropriate amount of time. It is sung to the tune “Row, Row, Row Your Boat.” It goes like this: “Wash, wash, wash your hands. Wash them nice and clean. On the tops, and on the bottoms, and even in between.”

A tour of the playground was also given. We talked about rules help keep us safe. The children have enjoyed running, climbing on the tree stumps, playing in the dirt, kicking balls, chalk on the chalkboards, and painting rocks with water. The building of the Natural Playground is under way. The children are loving being able to watch the progress as workers are out there behind the orange fence. We are watching to see the grass beginning to grow too. It will be amazing when it is finished!!

Several works were introduced during the first couple of days. The first work shown was a work the children from Little House were familiar with. It was the pink cubes. The children helped practice carrying a rug, walking around a rug, walking in between rugs, and rolling a rug. The next presentation was practicing how to work at a table. The children were shown where to find a work mat to put on their table, choosing a tray with crayons and paper, how to organize their work space, and how to clean up when finished. Everyone was excited to be given the snack table presentation.

At the Children’s House level, the children can choose when they would like to have snack throughout the morning. Four children may sit at the snack table at once. They get a glass plate, scoop their snack onto it, and carry it to their table. They then can pour themselves a drink and take it to the table. While enjoying snack, they may have polite conversation with the children at the table. When finished, they wash their plate and glass at our washing table and put it in a drying rack. Then they spray their table to clean it and dry it (They can spray however many years old they are. For example: 3 sprays for a 3-year-old.). Finally, they sweep under their table any crumbs that may have dropped. After this process, they wash their hands and return to work. Children may have one snack in the morning and one in the afternoon if they are there. They always eat snack put out by the teacher. This is the snack we ask parents to bring in on the snack schedule. Only children with allergies bring in their own snack from home. We celebrated Amy’s birthday on Friday at circle and then had a healthy treat of fruit kabobs.

The First Two Weeks of School

We welcomed back our returning friends from last year! Our entire circle was full of enthusiasm and excitement! Old friends enjoyed catching up! They also loved helping our new friends with work and helping them become more comfortable in the room. As a whole group, we reviewed classroom rules and procedures. The children from last year came into the classroom ready to work and pick up where they left off last year. They have been excellent role models. Work shown during the first couple of weeks focused on a couple of areas in the classroom:

Practical Life: In this area, children practice life skills that will help them become more independent. The skills practiced included hand transfer, dry pouring, floor sweeping, sponge squeezing, and spooning.

Sensorial: Both the younger and older children love the hands-on materials found in this area. Everything is very concrete and visually appealing. One of the works introduced was the red rods. There are 10 red rods that are carried to a rug one at a time using two hands. The children use their “detective eyes” to grade them from the longest to the shortest. Another work presented was the knobless cylinders. Children choose a box of knobless cylinders and place them in order from largest to smallest or thickest to thinnest for example. They can then make them into a tower. A few of our geometric solids were introduced too. They included the cube, cone, prism, and cylinder.

Language: A few works were presented that will help the children develop their fine motor coordination (pincer grasp) in preparation for writing. One of the activities was metal insets. Children practiced tracing around the metal inset shapes, including a circle, triangle, square, etc. Pin punching was the other activity. Children could then use a push pin to push small holes around the metal inset shape they had traced. These activities involve coordination and concentration. Be prepared to see pin punching work throughout the year as small as a single shape and as involved as a continent map.

Opening Ceremony

All of the Children’s House classes gathered in the Birdhouse for Opening Ceremony on Friday, August 30th. Lynn Fisher came and talked to the children about all of the great work they were going to be doing this year and how much they were going to learn. She also said how much they are going to grow over the school year. She read a book to them called The Peace Rose and each classroom received a new peace rose.

Afternoon Kindergarten Enrichment

After lunch each day, the kindergarteners from each of the Children’s House classrooms come together for about an hour or so. Their schedule looks like this:

  • Monday and Wednesday – French with Margaret / Journaling in classroom
  • Tuesday and Friday – The children go to the Treehouse Room with Amy Lawrence and Amy Wagner to have a group lesson and project.
  • Thursday – Gym with Jana and Music with Risa

During the first week of school, we got to know each other through journaling activities and bookmaking work. We talked about the rules in the Treehouse and that they were just the same as in their morning classrooms. We are visitors in Treehouse. During that time, we will be working on projects after our lessons. The work on the Treehouse shelves is not open to us. That is special for before and after school.

During the second week of school, Amy W. introduced us to an artist named Georgia O’Keefe (1887-1986). She was an important person in American art. Much of her work was based on abstract forms in nature. She focused on landscapes, flowers, and bones. Georgia O’Keefe lived until the age of 98.  Amy talked about the concept of many different lines, including vertical, horizontal, perpendicular, parallel, broken lines, curvy, and concurrent lines. She demonstrated how to draw them and the children practiced drawing them. We then went outside and looked for lines in nature.

The children also began a painting on Friday. The paper had a yellow dot sticker placed somewhere on it. The children used their pencil to draw six curvy lines from the dot to the edge of the paper. They were then given a plate with three colors of paint on it, one color was always white. They then used their paintbrush to dip in paint and follow the curvy lines. They could mix colors and continue to follow the curvy lines until the paper was covered. They did not rinse their brush before going to another color. There are a few finishing touches and to mount it before it is sent home. They enjoyed the process of painting and being creative.

In the upcoming weeks, we will focus on living/non-living, the solar system, the letters “a” and “t”, and land/air/water.

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