Fun Tubs

Spotlight on our Pre-K Class:

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!

Lunchtime

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?!!

Visual Schedules

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:

  1.  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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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…”
  4. 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.

Praise!

One of our favorite times of the week is Chapel Time.  We love coming together as a whole school to learn Bible stories and sing praises to God.  Chapel starts with a brief 3 to 5 minute video that shares our weekly Bible story.  Then Mrs. Suzi leads us all in worship with some fun songs.  We wrap up by practicing our monthly Bible verse with signs, led by Mrs. Roxanne, and a prayer.

It is a brief but wonderful time that we all look forward to twice a week.  Typically Chapel will be held on Mondays and Tuesdays so that all of our children who attend on various days of the week are able to participate.

Play IS the work of children

Here at Good News, we believe very strongly in play-based learning.  While some might view play as relief from serious learning, we know that play IS serious learning.  It is the work of children.  Play comes naturally to children for a reason.  It is through play that children interpret and process the world.  They create concrete experiences that allow them to later understand abstract ones.

In the past few decades, education has made a shift toward removing play from schools.  You rarely still see a home center or dress up center in Kindergarten classes.  There is movement towards earlier testing and more time is spent sitting at a desk than ever before.  What is this doing for the children later in their lives, to be skipping such an important step in their development?  We expect them to be more academically advanced because of this.  However, what we are discovering is that children are no more academically advanced.  They are simply more stressed and lacking in emotional/social development, making them more prone to anxiety and depression.

Peter Gray, in his article “The Decline of Play and Rise in Children’s Mental Disorders” in Psychology Today, says: “By depriving children of opportunities to play on their own, away from direct adult supervision and control, we are depriving them of opportunities to learn how to take control of their own lives. We may think we are protecting them, but in fact we are diminishing their joy, diminishing their sense of self-control, preventing them from discovering and exploring the endeavors they would most love, and increasing the odds that they will suffer from anxiety, depression, and other disorders.”

Every day at Good News we witness children taking ownership of their learning experiences as they play.  They work through conflict, solve problems, negotiate, and create all through play.  Play is the earliest form of storytelling and is a precursor to literacy because it is where they first express symbolic thought.

Take a peek in our classrooms and you’ll see us getting messy, laughing, running, playing instruments, negotiating in the kitchen center, engineering a town out of blocks, painting with unusual materials, pretending to be firemen, and saving the world as superheroes.  And we are enjoying every hardworking minute of it!

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Support

We had a wonderful group of moms and grandmas that gathered this morning to cut materials for the teachers.  Today we spent time just getting to know each other and talking about parenting in general.  Beginning with our next group (on September 13th) we will add a 10-15 minute audio or video component where we go through a book or series together that focuses on various parenting issues.

Forming bonds with other moms who are going through the same stage of life as you can be so nourishing.  Sometimes just hearing that another mom is enduring the same temper tantrums or strange behaviors that you’re seeing from your child can put your mind at ease.  We are excited for this group to be an opportunity for all of our GNP parents to bond and form life-long friendships.  You are all always welcome to any of our fun Fridays, which will be twice a month, and you are welcome to stay for as little or as long as you like!

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