The pre-k kids at Wee Learners participate in a variety of literacy activities each day. Necessary skills are taught in a balanced literacy approach of :
reading to children, reading with children and reading by children
writing for children, writing with children and writing by children.
I believe literacy activities should be hands-on, engaging and meaningful for pre-k children. Following is an introduction to some of the activities you’ll be seeing and hearing about throughout our year together.
Alphabet Study: As we did in the preschool year, we’ll continue to focus on a new letter each week with a review week built in every 4th week. One of our weekly activities is to create a page for a child-made alphabet book which is compiled and sent home at the end of the year. Creating these pages gives us the opportunity to brainstorm words that begin with the letter of the week. The children then choose a word to write and draw a picture on their alphabet book page. Each week we also work on reading a rhyme together and the kids use this rhyme to hunt for our letter of the week. These rhymes are compiled in a spiral bound book that will also go home with your child at the end of the year.
Guided Reading with Predictable Texts: Throughout the pre-k year I guide and support the children in learning to read many predictable texts. These texts include; the rhymes mentioned above, leveled classroom readers, and student –made books. During the year you will see many student-made books coming home with your child with predicable, repetitive texts. Both in class and at home the children practice reading these books. At first you and I may guide them by pointing to each word as read, reading first and having the child repeat (echo reading), reading with the child (choral reading) or reading part of each sentence and having your child fill in a blank with part of the text. Gradually, the children are able to do more and more of this process without our help. These types of experiences teach children about concepts of print as well as exposing them to many sight words that we will focus on learning in the latter half of the school year. Along with the student-made books, we also use leveled readers in our classroom. We practice reading these books daily at school and your child will also have the option of choosing a few each week to take home.
Word and Picture Sorts: I use a curriculum with the kids called, “Words Their Way.” This is the same currciulum used in many area elementary schools. In these activities the children work on sorting pictures or words into groups. We begin the year with concept sorts (fruit/veggies or different types of clothing for example), we later graduate to rhyming sorts and then to beginning sound sorts and finally to word family sorts. Sometimes I have kids who are working at different paces on these sorts.
Handwriting: I use a combination of the curriculum “Handwriting without Tears” and what is included in the Mother Goose Time Curriculum. "HWT" is used in many area elementary schools as well. Each week we work on creating and writing our letter of the week with a review week every 4th week. We also work a lot on name writing. The goal is for every child to learn to write his/ her name beginning with a capital followed by lowercase letters by the end of the year.
Creative Writing: The children each has a writing journal in which they are encouraged to draw and write in. They can dictate their story to an adult who in turn can write it down or they can try writing the sounds they hear in the words they want to write. Sometimes I may give a writing prompt, but many times they are encouraged to write something of their own choosing.
Math in pre-k is filled with hands-on, concrete learning experiences. Concepts are introduced with the whole group through calendar activities, counting rhymes and finger plays, cooking, games, sorting, patterns and math centers. Math is often incorporated into our literacy and science activities as well. The children also experience math activities in small group centers and in one-on-one skills practice. Following is a description of a couple of our on-going activities.
Calendar Math: We begin each day with our calendar. The children take turns being the calendar helper. We sing our “days of the week” song and then count up to the date we are currently on. The helper then places that number on the calendar. The calendar pieces are also created with a pattern in mind and the kids are challenged to figure out what comes next in the pattern. We talk about important dates coming up and seasonal/weather changes that we might expect to see. We also have a weather helper each day who reports on what the weather is that day to our weather puppets. Our ABC, 123 helper then points to the letters and numbers as the class practices reciting them. We practice counting as high as 100 and learn to count by 10’s.
Number Journals: Throughout the year we create a number journal for each number 1-10. In these journals, we practice writing the number. Then we come up with ways of making that number using 1 or 2 different color pattern blocks (colorful shape blocks) and 1 or 2 different color unifix cubes. This also gives us the opportunity to talk about the number sentence that each combination can be represented with.
In addition to the science we learn through our Mother Goose Time themes (see below for a list of themes) we conduct our own science explorations during indoor and outdoor choice time. Our focus for this year’s science is on nature. We’ll be going on “I Spy” nature walks and observing a special tree in the neighborhood as the leaves begin to change this fall. We’ll also be working lots on our new veggie garden throughout the year. We’ll be using paper bag journals to record our findings and observations as we learn about backyard critters such as worms, butterflies, fish and ladybugs. We also conduct regular science experiments, cooking projects and have many opportunities for exploration at our science station.
Along with the great art that the children create on their own during choice time, we’ll continue creating art each day through the use of our thematic curriculum, “Mother Goose Time.” Our themes this year are: Friends and Feelings, In the Orchard, On the Go, Sights and Sounds of Winter, Going on Safari, Food and Fitness, Discover the Desert, Bees and Butterflies, and Bubbles, Boats and Floats.
New this year! I will be incorporating activities from the Incredible, Flexible You social skills curriculum. Through this curriculum the children will learn about identifying feelings, thinking vs. talking, making and keeping a group plan, thinking with your eyes, maintaining a comfortable physical presence around others, whole body listening. The concepts are taught through books, music and games, plus lots of real life practice!
It’s hard to believe we do all of the above and still have time for play, but we do! I reserve 45-60 minutes each day for indoor choice time and another 30-45 minutes for outdoor choice time. I believe strongly that young children learn a lot through their own play and self-directed explorations.
Please keep in mind that children learn, progress and grow at different rates. It’s my job to determine where your child is in each area and to meet him/her there. At times the children may be working on different word/picture sorts, reading different levels of books and have different amounts of supports in place. If at ANY time during the school year you have questions or concerns about your child please don’t hesitate to talk to me. I am here every day before and after school and am happy to talk with you at any time throughout the year.
Copyright 2013. Wee Learners Preschool. All rights reserved.