Try counting while touching your nose with alternating hands. Count again while standing on one leg. Try it one more time while reaching across to touch your opposite toes.
In Mrs. Roxanne’s class the kids do this because it’s fun. What they don’t know is that activities that work on crossing the midline actually help them with reading among other things! In order to eventually become a strong reader, our eyes track across the midline as we read. If we have not practiced motor skills that cross the midline it will make it much more difficult to become successful readers.
Standing on one leg is an important balance activity that is a precursor to more advanced gross motor activities such as galloping, skipping, and stair negotiation.
You’ll see Mrs. Roxanne do a lot of these activities in her class and much more. To learn more about our wonderful Mrs. Roxanne, check out the latest podcast episode:
I am having so much fun getting to interview our teachers for our podcasts. Last week I met with the wonderful Mrs. Anna and today I had the pleasure of chatting with our dear Mrs. Crystal. It is always fun to learn more about our staff aside from just what we see here at school. I hope you enjoy learning about them as much as I have!
We are so excited to have some cooler weather! This change in temperature has sparked a spontaneous sense of joy. In celebration, Mrs. Jen’s class enjoyed a picnic lunch today outside. One of the reasons we love play-based learning is that the teachers have the freedom to capitalize on teachable moments, and changing their activity plan on the fly in order to make the most of fun experiences is just one way they can do that. These kids did not just go eat outside today. They experienced the joy of a gentle breeze and sunshine while working on social skills in a unique setting. They learned that even though the location had changed, we still must use manners like staying at the table to eat our food, and not grabbing our neighbor’s food!
After lunch you won’t find children twiddling their thumbs waiting for the next activity. Instead, they take charge of their own agenda! Once they finish their lunch, they clean up their spot by throwing away trash and putting away their lunchbox. Then they visit the “Fun Tubs” center where they have free reign of what activity they will do. The Tubs are open ended, and the true beauty of it is watching the games that the children create on their own. Some might be more mathematically minded by lining items up in a pattern, others are socially oriented and create a small village where the objects interact, while other children may develop a complicated game involving dice, specific moves, and a goal.
It is beautiful to watch play-based learning in action!
We love lunchtime! It is a great opportunity to work on our social skills and our independence! We always eat as a classroom family practicing our manners and giving thanks for our food. These special times create wonderful memories and camaraderie, because what is better than breaking bread together?!!
Over the next 6 weeks I’ll be podcasting with each of my 6 lead teachers so that you all have an opportunity to get to know them better. Yesterday Pastor Trevor and I chatted with one of our Pre-K teachers, Mrs. Mary. Have a listen!
Each of our classrooms employs a visual schedule and the benefits of doing so are endless. Here are some of the top reasons we use visual schedules:
Visual schedules help children transition more smoothly. When a child can see a picture of what activity they are doing, as well as which activities follow it, they are able to prepare for the upcoming transition much easier than if only verbal cues are offered.
Visual schedules make the teacher’s expectations clear. Unlike verbal communication, pictures resonate much stronger with children. They are able to truly SEE what is expected in the classroom.
Visual schedules allow children to understand the plan. When the teachers look at the visual schedule with their students, confirming what order the days activities will flow, it takes away the anxiety of the “not knowing.” Our teachers look at the pictures with the students and use language such as “Right now we are having our Snack, and look at what’s next. That’s right, next we will have our Art time…”
Visual schedules help give the children confidence. When children’s anxiety is reduced by knowing the plan, their confidence and enjoyment of the day increases. And when it’s appropriate for the teacher to give the children options about the order, it gives them a sense of empowerment. While the teacher is still choosing the activities, the children might get to choose the order.
I encourage you to use visual schedules at home as well. You can create a morning schedule (Wake Up, Get Dressed, Eat Breakfast, Brush Teeth, Get Backpack…), or even one for the bathroom or winding down at the end of the day.
This is just one of the many things we do here at Good News that allows our children to develop their confidence and sense of responsibility.