Hello! Help us welcome our new friend Jack to our classroom!
This week we will discuss
gross motor strengthening, pastels and pens, and water exploration.
Gross Motor Strengthening
Outside the friends have been exploring more gross motor movements. They are very interested in swinging on the rope and the swing. Additionally, they ride the bikes and climb onto the arch and tree. A new interest that arose this week was chasing games. We had seen games like this sporadically, but almost every day this week at least two friends were running around the playground chasing each other and giggling. They have become quite agile being able to weave around friends and objects on the playground. They are demonstrating their spatial awareness and being able to move freely throughout their space. Additionally this week, the friends practiced their hand-eye coordination. Ms. Linda brought out two small rackets and a foam ball so the friends this week have been very interested in that. It has been very interesting to watch these interactions because this activity requires more hand-eye coordination as well as cooperation. And surprisingly the friends have been very successful. Unlike playing in the water or sand, or climbing the rope, this game required more communication and teamwork. This activity required more interaction with one another. It was really great to see the play progress. The friends did very well with communicating and taking turns being the hitter and being the tosser. It was honestly so amazing to just sit back and observe their independence with such an advanced activity. We discussed the importance of making sure they have enough space before swinging to ensure that no one gets hit. We drew physical circles on the ground, stretched out our arms and practiced watching for friends before we swing. In the classroom as well the friends have been focusing on building up their strength by using the monkey bars. Since only one friend can go at a time, the friends have been practicing determining how long a turn is. When waiting for a turn we will ask “how many more swings (or climbs, jumps, minutes, etc.) until it is the next friend’s turn?” and then they will say a number and after we help them count the friend jumps off and says “ok your turn”. While it does not always go as smoothly, it has been getting much easier to share when having the ability to communicate with one another and work together to determine when their turn starts/ ends.
Pastels and Pens
This week we noticed an increased interest in drawing with pastels. We have questioned before the interest with using pens and pastels over crayons and markers. We brainstormed that perhaps it is the novelty of these items, of not getting to use them at home or in other spaces. Or perhaps it is just the fascination with the smoothness and the strong pigments of the pastels or the liquid aspect of the pens. Or even the clickability of the pens or their shape. So many possible reasons, but what we know for sure is that they are really quite fond of using these materials. When using the pastels we often see large, bold lines or swirls covering a large space on the paper. Using the pens, probably due to the fine tip feature of the pen, we see smaller circles and lines taking up a smaller portion of the paper.
This week we continued to explore scooping and pouring within the sensory bin. But we also decided to explore squeezing. They were really interested in the squeeze bottles we explored last week so we added them inside and some different size containers. We were interested to see if the focus was more on just squeezing or still on the transporting of the water. With all the different containers we found that the friends actually enjoyed squeezing the bottles and emptying them out into the sensory bin itself, but used the cups and funnels to scoop and pour to transport the water. So the squeeze bottles weren’t incorporated into the transporting of the water, but more as the sensory and muscle movement component. To explore the squeezing muscle movement, we also added sponges to the bin. It was interesting to see them absorb the water with the sponges but then squeeze it out to both the bin itself as well as the other small containers. Perhaps because the bottles are much larger and more difficult to aim that they were not used to fill other containers, or perhaps they were more focused on squeezing the water out, rather than transporting it. We added soap to the water for additional exploration since they really enjoyed the bubbly water outside on the playground. And also because any opportunity to clean our hands is always welcomed in school 😛 The friends discovered that if they squeezed out the water from the sponge they were left with a very soapy sponge and hands.
Have a great weekend!
Ms. Madison and Ms. Lala