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Posts Tagged ‘Preschool Classroom’


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Furniture in the preschool classroom should support children’s independence in meeting their routine care needs and in conducting their play and learning activities. Basic preschool furniture from Kaplan for routine care includes tables and chairs for meals and snacks, including infant seats and high chairs as well as child-size tables and chairs; cribs, cots, mats for rest or nap; diapering table and storage for diapering supplies; and cubbies for storage of children’s personal items and creative work. Additional preschool furniture available from Kaplan to facilitate specific types of play includes easels for art activities, sand and water tables, workbenches, and dramatic play furniture.

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The classroom of a preschool can be a chaotic but organized and fun environment. Anyone who has worked with preschoolers knows they are a busy bunch of people. When setting up your classroom, it is important to remember the theory of Maria Montessori that a preschool classroom should be child sized. Shelving should be at a level that they can see every shelf, tables and chairs low for them to be comfortable, etc.

The area of a preschool classroom is divided into smaller sections sometimes called centers. Normally there are seven basic centers: art, blocks, dramatic play, science, library, manipulative, and music. In my classroom, I included a writing area in the library. Children need to understand though there is no writing in books though. One center I worked in made a huge large muscle/playground indoors. I never had a music area. If music was a focus of an activity, it was done during circle time. So I had an area set aside for our group time that included a calendar, weather chart, and an attendance chart.

Some areas will need lots of space for play like dramatic play and blocks. Then there are areas that may require a quieter atmosphere for learning such as manipulatives and library. I drew a sample layout for you to have as a visual for these articles.

Even though most preschoolers can’t read any words when first starting preschool, it is important to label everything. In the manipulative/math area, if you are providing beads to string or puzzles to used, label the bead container with words and a picture of what belongs in that container and place a picture and word label on the shelf where they are to be stored. This will encourage the children to clean up after themselves and take pride that they know where things belong in their environment.

When sectioning your room to centers, make sure you take time out to sit in the spaces and have a look around. If you are with children at the science table, will you be able to see the children across the room in the block center? Can children move from one activity to another without interfering with other children’s work?

Group quiet centers with quiet centers and busy, noisier centers with the same. Clearly mark boundaries of centers with shelving units. Colored duct tape could be used as well. This prevents blocks from the block area migrating to the art center for a color makeover.

Signs hanging above a center or on the back of a centers shelf will help the children know what activities are done where. Above the writing center, a mobile made of a sign that says “Writing Center” with pencil, a small square of paper, and crayon shapes would be a decorative touch.

Source : http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art42646.asp

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Step1

Cover your garden. If you have a garden and you leave it uncovered you may return to a garden full of weeds or unwanted vegetation. I cover my garden with a tarp so that everything will die over the summer and we can start from scratch in the fall.

Step2

Lock up your valuables. In fact, don’t lock them up; take them home with you. Do not leave small, expensive electronic equipment such as cameras and laptops in the classroom, even if you have a locked cabinet. If there is a break-in, you better believe that the locked cabinet is the first thing the thieves are going to go for.

Step3

Store your food from ANTS! Leaving any food in the classroom in the summer is not a good idea. If you must leave some food in the classroom make sure it is sealed in Ziploc bags or something that the smell cannot escape from.

Step4

Don’t turn in your keys. Many schools ask that you turn in your keys for the summer. If you can at all avoid turning in your keys you will be glad you did because it is so easy to leave something that you are going to need over the summer in your classroom.

Step5

Put away your keyboards or cover up your computers. Returning from summer to dusty keyboards and monitors is no fun.

Step6

Back up all your computer files. When you leave for the summer pretend you are never going to see your computers again. Backing up your computer files is a lesson most people have to learn the hard way (by losing everything!).

Ste7

If your classroom is being used by another teacher for Summer school, take pictures of absolutely everything in the classroom and leave copies with the teacher so that he or she knows how the classroom looked when they got there and how it should look when they leave. Keep the originals.

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curriculumFollow the Calendar

When planning a preschool curriculum, most instructors like to use the calendar year and its occurrences as their basic structural component. This keeps the curriculum relevant and current which helps to further reinforce the lessons in the children’s young minds, since it wouldn’t really make much sense to learn about Halloween at Easter or vice versa.

Generally speaking, one theme or unit should last for one week or two at the most. At this young age, children respond well to repetition, which is why many instructors follow a basic template for each week with activities specific to each day of the week. As children master this system, they’ll learn how to anticipate the activities of each day, which will help to strengthen their sense of logical reasoning and deduction.

September through June

In September, many educators like to start off with the “All about Me” section, which will allows the children to not only explore themselves and their own personalities, but also a chance to meet and learn about their peers. This is also an excellent time in the curriculum to introduce a unit on family or pets.

The most celebrated holiday in the month of October is also a favorite of many children: Halloween. This is a great time to introduce units on the season of fall, nature, and healthy eating since children will be receiving large amounts of candy.

Next comes November which coincides with Thanksgiving, where children can learn a little more about the history of America and explore the good things in their lives that they have to give thanks for.

December is the beginning of winter for some, and it is also the beginning of a busy holiday season that includes Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa. This is a great opportunity to incorporate a theme of multiculturalism into the preschool curriculum.

With the beginning of a New Year, the focus of the curriculum can be on change and New Year’s resolutions. Also, the theme of winter can continue to be explored through sports, the weather, and snow. An apt theme for the month of February is love, seeing as Valentine’s Day falls right in the middle of the month.

As the season change, a unit on spring can be introduced, with focus on plants and flowers. Finally, as the year draws to a close, the focus is on the season of summer, which can include a unit on plans for the summer time such as going to the beach or taking a vacation.

But what about March or May?

When there’s a lull in the calendar, it gives instructors an opportunity to be a little more creative with theirpreschool curriculum. Remember, the sky is pretty much the limit with their young minds, and the emphasis should always be on fun and play first before traditional learning. Some instructors like to take suggestions from the children on what themes they’d like to explore, which helps children feel more a part of the process.

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classroomWalk into your child’s preschool classroom and you will find a large, colorful room divided into carefully planned interest areas. It will be filled with bright, primary colors and a variety of materials for your child to manipulate, explore, snuggle, play with, and share. The room is especially designed to encourage your child’s natural curiosity and desire to learn about her world.

The organization of their preschool classroom sends important signals to children about “what there is to do and how to do it,” says Marilou Hyson, associate executive director for professional development at the National Association for the Education of Young Children. Research indicates that a well-organized classroom helps children learn and motivates them to interact positively with each other.

Preschool classrooms are usually organized around interest areas or learning centers. These defined areas allow children to play and explore materials with the guidance of the teacher either individually or in small groups. Low dividers often separate the centers, but children move freely among them. Skills that lead to reading and writing and math are not confined to specific centers, but rather reinforced in different ways throughout the centers via communication, exploration and play. Your child’s classrooms will have many of the following learning centers, but the arrangement and composition of the centers will vary.

Literacy: Here, children explore the world of books and feel safe and secure as they are introduced to reading. Brightly illustrated children’s books are displayed on low shelves. In front of them, children are curled up on a rug with the books they have selected. They lounge against large, comfortable, multi-colored cushions as a teacher helps them sound out words. Children with headsets listen to tapes of stories, following the pictures in their books. Others gesture intently as a teacher reads a favorite story. Sometimes there are chairs and small tables with paper and crayons and markers for children to practice drawing and writing.

Dramatic play or housekeeping: Children experiment with different roles as they explore the familiar and the unknown through pretend play. This area is filled with props and dress-up clothes to encourage imagination. One day it might be a kitchen with a play stove, sink and dishes; the next day it might be a post office, restaurant, or airplane. Children learn to work with other children, to share and to make compromises (who gets to be the mother? The father? The baby?). They also practice verbal skills and develop an understanding of symbolic representation that leads to the development of reading and writing skills.

Manipulative play: One child is carefully stringing beads into colorful patterns, a second is building a complex structure out of Legos, and a third is bent over a puzzle, deep in concentration. In this area, shelves are filled with puzzles, pegboards, beads, and other small construction toys. Children develop fine motor skills by using their fingers and hands in creative ways. They learn hand/eye coordination and practice problem-solving skills.

Blocks: Two children are working together to build “the highest tower in the whole world.” A girl is constructing a bridge and a boy is loading little people into cars for a journey over the girl’s bridge and down the road he has just completed. Wooden blocks of different sizes and shapes are arranged on shelves along with small cars and an assortment of “little people” to encourage children to build replicas of their world, or creations of their imaginations as they practice symbolic representation. They are developing an understanding of the relationships between size and shape, and the basic math concepts of geometry and numbers.

Art: Here are the raw materials for creativity — colored paper, crayons, markers, tape, paste, safe scissors — set out on shelves and tables. One child is tracing the outlines of leaves; another is cutting out shapes and pasting them in patterns on colored paper. A third is painting at an easel, and a fourth is making a hippopotamus out of play-dough. Art projects may be done either independently or simultaneously as a class activity. Children are developing small muscle control and hand/eye coordination, as well as creativity.

Large motor: Children crawl through tunnels, climb and balance, hop and jump, and bounce and dribble balls, developing coordination, balance, and large muscle control. Some classrooms have an area designed especially to encourage the use and development of large muscles. Other preschools will have a separate room with tunnels, balls, and climbing equipment.

Rug: This is where the entire class gathers to listen as the teacher reads a story or explains an upcoming project. Children often begin and end the day on the rug area.

Sensory: One child is experimenting at the water table to find out what floats and what sinks. Another is pouring sand through a funnel into containers of different sizes. Water and sand tables equipped with boats, cups, funnels, and sieves encourage children to explore mediums like water and sand, to understand the physical world, and to develop concepts underlying math and physics.

Science: Plants, classroom pets, and aquariums are found here. One child may plant a seed in a pot, carefully patting down the soil, while another measures the temperature in the aquarium, a third feeds the guinea pig, and a fourth examines a seashell. The teacher puts out interesting objects from nature, such as leaves, rocks, and seashells, for children to examine with a magnifying class, plus paper and markers to draw them.

Computer: Several children are clustered around a computer checking the charts and picture next to it. Some classrooms will have a table against a wall with one or more computers with chairs grouped around them to encourage children to work together. They will stock basic early-learner software such as phonics or counting games.

Outdoor playground: Outside, there will also usually be a safe, enclosed area with structures for climbing and balancing, and balls of different sizes to encourage large muscle control and coordination.

How to Help at Home:

  1. Be familiar with the way your child’s classroom is organized. Talk about the various learning areas with your child and ask about the things he likes to do in each one.
  2. An organized home can help your child understand and comply with the organization in his classroom. Talk with her about the way your house is organized: where everything in the kitchen belongs, for example. Encourage him to help put everything away in its proper place.
  3. Help your child to organize his room so that each possession has a special place. Schedule supervised clean-up times every day.

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preschool_classroomLearning Centers

La Petite Academy’s Preschool classroom features seven Learning Centers that are equipped with inviting, age-appropriate learning materials, manipulatives and theme-oriented activities that encourage learning and independence.

Creativity and Art Center – including painting supplies, pencils, crayons, markers, easels; recyclables such as wallpaper samples, fabric pieces and collage materials; glue and scissors; various paper supplies and magazines (that have been reviewed).

Math and Manipulatives Center – including a small calendar, weather and number charts; magnetic numbers, puzzles, games and flash cards; safe manipulatives for sorting (large buttons, stamps, stickers, etc.); paper, pencils, notebooks, index cards; measuring cups and spoons, cookie cutters in varying shapes and other materials used to weigh and measure.

Science and Sensorial Center – including sand and/or water table; Wonder Bottles (recycled water bottles with water and oil mixed together with small shells, rocks, sand, food coloring, etc.); magnets and magnetic items; feathers, leaves and other items from nature; magnifying glasses and mirrors.

Dramatic Play Center – including dramatic play furniture (materials available depend on the current theme), dishes, utensils, place mats, pots, pans, food sets, telephones, computer keyboards, old typewriters, dressup clothes, purses, wallets, shoes, menus, a cash register, paper, and pencils.

Construction and Design Center – including a complete set of unit blocks; area rug; large and small vehicles; animals, people and traffic signs; recyclables such as cardboard boxes of different sizes, paper towel tubes, and oatmeal containers.

Reading and Listening Center – including children’s literature (with the current theme-related literature), magazines, song and poem charts; an audiocassette or CD player, headphones, stories recorded on tape and/or other tape-recorded songs; stories and poems; soft elements such as rugs, pillows and beanbags; and a bookshelf.

Writing Center – including La Petite Academy-branded children’s journals; pens, pencils, colored pencils, crayons, markers; various paper supplies, index cards; recycled magazines (that have been reviewed), menus, books, newspapers; clipboards and notebooks; and magnetic letters and flash cards.

Circle Time Wall

La Petite Academy’s Circle Time Wall reflects your child’s daily routines. Here, you will find:

  • I Spy! – incorporates shapes, numbers and counting, colors and recognition
  • Rhyme Time – 30 great songs, poems, chants and nursery rhymes
  • Weather Watcher – calendar with weather cards to keep track of the weather that day
  • Daily Schedule – your child will help build the daily schedule using a pocket chart and clock cards
  • Kids of Character – features character trait of the month

Children’s Artwork

Our teachers love displaying your child’s artwork in the classroom. Public display encourages our budding artists and reminds them that their hard work has meaning and conveys their thoughts and creativity. The teacher will date and label all projects so that you can quickly and easily understand what your child’s thoughts were as he worked on him creation.

Setting the Stage

Research shows that, when children are in an attractive and inviting environment, they’re happier, get along and concentrate better, and have a more positive attitude about themselves and school. To ensure that the classroom is inviting and exciting for the children, we get the classroom ready, or “set the stage,” for each theme and day.

The classroom will seem to change overnight, as teachers switch from one theme to the next. They might change out many of the learning materials, decorate the classroom based on the theme, and add children’s literature that helps to make the theme come alive. For example, during the “Artistic Treasures” theme, the teacher might create an art gallery or museum within the Dramatic Play Center so that the children can pretend to show their art to various “customers.” Around the classroom, the teacher will display different kinds of art so that the classroom is exposed to different media and experiences.

Every two weeks a new theme is introduced into the Preschool classroom and our teachers create room props, dedicate a special place to display artwork, and display books that reflect the theme.

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