This week we were so lucky to adopt two adorable dwarf hamsters! They are a wonderful addition to our classroom! We have had such fun watching them move about, watching them eat and fight with each other. North and South were named by our afternoon children on Monday after deciding they should be named after the continents. One child suggested North and South America and it was automatically shortened to North and South.
These little guys are quite social! Although they like to take naps during the day, often they are seen coming up to the sides and climbing up to get close to our faces. They like to climb on top of their water bottle and run in their wheel! We feed them every other day but often give them a cucumber slice as a treat!
After several weeks of crushing mint leaves in the mortar and pestle, we have now moved on to having tea with a friend! We have hot water (hot tap water) in thermal carafe on a table along with tea cups, saucers, mint leaves and a mini French press. The child who invites the friend puts a scoop of mint and then two pumps of water in the press. They wait a bit and let the tea “steep” while having a chat. We have show them that the water turns light green.
Once the tea is ready, the tea is poured into the guest’s cup first. Then enjoy!
The children love to engage in conversations while having tea!
Setting a table is a ‘work’ we have in our practical life shelves. The children love to take this to a table and practice table setting! This activity combined with our lunch (the children set the table with plates, forks, knives, spoons and napkins that we provide) makes our children quite civilized! Try to include them in setting the table for dinner!
This is really practical! On our practical life shelves this week we offered an activity that will help the children for a long time to come! We packed up a lunchbox with various containers that would mimic what the children bring in for lunch each day. For our lunch, they unpack their whole lunchbox and place it on a plate that we provide along with all of the necessary silverware.
The most difficult part of the lunch process for the children is opening the containers!
With this work, the children can not only learn how to unzip the lunchbox but to open each of the containers and then pack it back up again.
Socialization happens very naturally in our classroom. We teach grace and courtesy such as how to ask for help, how to walk around someone’s work, how to give a compliment… As these children have learned to tie, they are now able to ask each other for help tying bows or knots!
Sewing continues! The children have decided to make neck warmers or “gators.” It is wonderful watching a group of children sewing gators and chatting away!
Here she chooses the material and the embroidery floss.
VERY CAREFULLY, we use the stick pins to secure the material.
Use a “whip stitch” to sew the side. This is tougher than it looks!
For another sewing work this week we introduced sewing a pouch. Some children have become very proficient sewers and need very little extra help. We used embroidery floss with felt to create the pouches. We also decided to give the option of adding a button as they have had a lot of button practice in the past few weeks. They only tricky part is threading the needle and tying a knot at the end. We did introduce the children to the needle threader which really helped!
This child made a pouch for everyone in her family!
The pouch sewing seemed to inspire another child who had taken a very long break from his stuffed animal sewing work. This child decided to finish sewing and then we asked him to write a story about the snake. He is a proficient reader and we are always looking for ways to help the writing process along. He wrote several pages and took the snake and the book home with him Friday! What an accomplishment!
Once again we put coffee grinding out on a table. This was very popular last year as the children love to use the grinder and everyone likes the smell of the coffee. To help with the independence aspect, we decided to clamp the grinder on the table instead of having to hold it for each child. The child uses a small scoop and puts the whole beans into the top of the grinder. They grind the beans and can hear when there are no more beans left to grind.
The drawer is opened and the grinds are then dumped into a large canister. Last year we made coffee for the parents to enjoy at drop off. We working out the logistics for this again this year. We will keep you posted!
This week in the food preparation area, the children were able to learn how to spread jam on bread. For each child, we used a new bowl of jam, a clean knife and new paper plate.
The first step is to put on an apron and then wash their hands. They ask a teacher for the jam and bread and carry it back to the tray. They dip their (child sized) knife into the jam and put it on the bread.
Then, they spread the jam on the bread. Of course, the last step is to eat and enjoy!
Activities such as these help the child to become more independent and increases their fine motor skills.
Tis the season for baking! On Thursday afternoons, the children are beginning to make cookie dough for baking on Friday morning. So far we have made sugar cookies and oatmeal cookies.
First the children put on an apron and wash their hands. Then they take a piece of dough and put it on the floured surface. Using the rolling pin, they flatten the dough.
A cookie cutter is used and then with a small spatula, they transfer the cookie to the baking pan. For the oatmeal cookies, we flattened with a fork before transferring to a pan.
Once there are enough cookies on the pan, a teacher will take the pan into the kitchen to bake the cookies. Our school smells wonderful and before we head outside to play, everyone enjoys the fruits of their labor together! They have all learned to wait until everyone is served before eating.