Our Steller’s Jay classroom (2-3-year-olds) has been investigating ice and snow! Teachers put snow in the Sensory Bin along with four spray bottles of colorful water. You will see the children exploring and having a ton of fun. But what are the underlying learning goals?
Posted at the center is the main objective for this activity: “Control small muscles in hand.” Teachers are setting up this center with the intention of students using their fine motor skills to squeeze spray bottles. This builds hand strength and muscle control, which are necessary for holding writing implements and preparing children for pre-writing skills.
In addition to fine motor development, children are also learning:
The Explorer Classroom at Clark Fork School is a place where children learn through playful, hands-on experiences with materials, the natural world, and an engaging, caring adult. Literacy permeates the Explorer classroom and underlies many of the activities and interactions. Our teacher creates a magical and engaging language-rich environment that supports the development of ideas about symbols, oral language and the printed word. Our biggest priority is to mentor and encourage a love of reading, an appreciation for the places it can take us, and an understanding of the worlds and knowledge it can unlock.
The Daily 5 is the portion of our day that focuses specifically on developing literacy skills. This time starts with a 5-7 minute Focus Lesson about a particular concept in reading or writing. After the focus lesson, students get to choose from five different centers to practice their literacy skills: Word Work, Read to Self, Listen to Reading, Work on Writing, or Read to Someone. The teacher also meets with individual students during this time. Through the Daily 5, we balance student choice, individualized education, and good work.
In addition to early literacy skills, Daily 5 helps students develop life-long learning skills such as initiative and self-direction, persistence and attentiveness, and reflection and interpretation.
Last week during Daily 5 we added another consonant digraph to our repertoire--"wh"! We worked on listening for the sounds of all our digraphs in different words and grouping them accordingly! We also learned two new activities that we added to our Word Work choice--Writing the Room (where we get to walk around and copy words we like from our print-rich walls) and playdough and letter stamps (where we stamp letters into playdough to make words from our Word Wall - a sensory-rich way to experience words)!
Chances are, if you chose Clark Fork School, you understand the benefits of outside and gross motor play. Fresh air, exercise, and freedom from “inside” bodies and voices is essential to the development of a healthy, happy human. But why sleds? Besides being SUPER FUN, here are a few examples of the learning objectives behind sledding and why we choose to have sleds at CFS:
Social and emotional development:
It may look like we are just having fun, but we are learning so much!