This week, we are settling into our routines and getting ready to use classroom materials for work and for play. Some JK friends don't know how to hold a pencil or use scissors- that's okay. We are spending a lot of time on fine motor activities that will strengthen our hands and fingers so that we can create written messages later, using markers, crayons, pencils, and our fingers on the iPads. Check out the pictures- stretching rubber bands, opening paper clips, transferring small beads- this takes fine motor control and lots of patience and stamina, which we will practice every day! The children are really interested in combining fine motor activities with creating their own name. You can see pictures below of children who are making the first letter of their name, their whole first name, or their last name (depending on what stage they are at). When children practice their names at home, please remind them that only their first letter is capitalized.
This week, we welcomed our Senior Kindergarteners back in to a familiar space that still had lots of exciting changes compared to last year. This year, we have iPads, a laptop, new toys and games, and many of our centres are in new places. We talked about our rules, routines, and how to be an SK leader. Then we got ready to welcome our new JK friends to school! We remembered:
You can't hurt anyone on the outside or on the inside
It was wonderful to see how well our SK friends showed our JK friends where to find things, where things belong, how to sit and line up, and how to have a conversation at lunch time. The best was seeing everyone playing well together- making plans, deciding on who does what, and finding what they need to create, explore and build. We learned that a good player
Decides what to do
Invites a friend
Follows their plan
Shares what they have done with others
Cleans up before they move along
What a wonderful week full of 'first times' for our new friends, old friends, and Tosorontio families. Well done, everyone!
This week, we welcomed everyone to their classroom! Ms. O and I have been working very hard in August and this week to create a homelike school environment that will feel safe, warm, and familiar to students transitioning from home. We have 27 students and a big, beautiful space and lots of open-ended, natural materials to spark connections and curiosity. When you click through the photos you should see lots of evidence for what we believe kindergarten students learn best through: lots of literacy and math materials for them to choose themselves, interesting objects from outside ready to be investigated and learned from inside, cozy reading areas with soft lighting from lamps, natural building materials that can be combined and recombined in a variety of ways. You'll see light tables with neat things to place there to learn from, engaging objects left out on the windowsill, sensory bins with sand, rice, leaves, or ooey gooey materials waiting for exploration. For technology to explore we have a listening centre with CD player and books, an overhead projector, a laptop we all use in turn, and 5 iPads to share with the other K class at Tos.
Maybe you noticed these things at Meet the Teacher, and maybe wondered about what you DIDN'T see. Rest assured, if you didn't see it there was a reason we didn't include it. You won't find a lot of commercially produced materials, a big calendar, or plastic toys that have only one function or tell the child what to do. You won't see photocopied sheets or artwork where we all do the same thing. You won't see limits telling children how many can be playing at a centre. We have research-based reasons for doing or not doing each of those things, and are happy to answer any questions you might have about our program.
We had a great first week in the Tos Kindergarten! If you have signed media release forms, you may see pictures of your child on this blog! Please let us know if that is a problem.