After the Christmas holidays, this week felt relaxed and easy flowing as we settles back into the daily and weekly rhythm. Following are some highlights and what I was focussing on this week.
We explored at the entrance into the greenbelt after the freezing rain. The kids were fascinated by the branches hanging down and the broken branches. We stayed in the open area for only ten to fifteen minutes. Then we came back to the house and played in the front yard until it is time to come in. Some of the little ones played in the snow and some of them ``helped` me shovel the walkway.
This week the little one`s were quite enthusiastic about Dr. Suess's ABC and singing the alphabet song together. The rhyming helps develop their phonological awareness and of course all the letters in the book help with letter recognition. Building upon their interest, I hope to extend their learning by introducing another alphabet book, Chicka Chicka Boom Boom. I also have some cut-out letters to provide during creative crafting that builds on their interest and increasing ability with the glue sticks that I started giving them before the holidays.
I had fun alongside their painting this week. When they are painting, I am hoping to provide an opportunity for so much more than fine motor skills. I am trying to build on both the toddler's desire to explore movement and the consequences of their actions with their paintbrush and paint (cognitive). I am also hoping to provide a more complex opportunity to engage and develop the preschoolers observation and representation skills (cognitive).
I read once that the rationale for teaching colours was to develop their observation skills, but there is a much greater opportunity for observation when moving beyond the standardized colours. There is even more opportunity for observation when allowing to find out for themselves what happens when they mix colours together.
I have tried painting with the colours in a glass jar, but I noticed it was challenging for them to mix and challenging to really observe what was happening with the colours. I decided to mimic an artist's palette, so I put the paint on a plate. Not only did this provide more opportunity to use the colours in different ways, either individually or by mixing, but it also provided more opportunities to observe the colours blending and changing. I am hoping to increase the complexity of the colour mixing and maintain their interest, by moving beyond the secondary colours and learning how to create tertiary colours next.
Using ELECT (2007), this activity provides an opportunity to develop all but two aspects of their observation skills:
visually attending to things in their environment
focusing their observations on details
increasing the time they spend observing
naming and describing the things that they have observed
The two skills that are missed, I just don't think can be provided for during painting: using all senses to gather information while observing and using specialized sources and books as a means of extending their observations.
And of course, painting provides an opportunity to learn about the science of colour theory and artistic expression. Self-expression, i.e. expressing our ideas, thoughts and feelings, is the cognitive skill behind art. In ELECT (2007) this is an indicator of the cognitive skill, representation: beginning to use art media and tools to express their ideas, feelings and experiences.
I figure this approach will also be adaptable when I have older infants or younger toddlers in my care because it will allow them to paint with their fingers or a brush. And as a bonus, I found it easier to prevent wasting paint as I add more in small amounts only as needed. And finally, with less paint, it makes a mess I can live with, if they dump it