Making Icy Ornaments
Excerpt from communityplaythings.com
Your kids will love making these eye-catching, icy mobiles. Wait until you have a few days of freezing temperature and try this fun activity with your class. All you need are some jam lids or shallow dishes, string, and some seasonal nature objects such as berries, seeds, or leaves.
1. Arrange your nature items inside upturned jam jar lids or shallow dishes. To make a star shape, simply place a star cookie cutter within the lid.
2. Place the lids in a row on a tray and lay a piece of thick string over the row of lids, linking them together.
3. Pour water into each lid, making sure all the materials and the string are completely submerged.
4. Place the tray outdoors overnight or until the water freezes.
5. Carefully remove the frozen disks from the lids. (You may need to dunk them in warm water to loosen.)
Hang your ornaments outside a window or in a tree in the garden and enjoy them as long as the cold weather lasts!
Why Play is Important in Preschool Classrooms
Excerpt from "Why Play is Important in Preschool Classrooms" by Leslie Garisto Pfaff - Parents Magazine, September 2014
In the field of Early Childhood we often get questions about how the children will learn in the Child Care setting. Many parents question the academics of the early years. The following article from Parents Magazine, September 2014 is very well written in terms of explaining how the world of play is in fact preparing children for the formal school setting of academics. ECYC follows a philosophy that children learn through discovery and discovery happens through a child’s instinct to play. I hope you enjoy this article. I will be following up on this topic of play by sharing more information that has recently been published through NAEYC, the National Association for the Education of Young Children.
"For kids under 5, play is the foundation for creativity, constructive problem solving, self-regulation, and learning as a whole," says Susan Linn, cofounder of the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood and author of The Case for Make Believe.
Play also helps preschoolers master the skills they'll need for academic subjects later on. Storytime advances pre-reading skills like rhyming, wordplay, and the ability to follow a plot. A simple activity like playing with soap bubbles can stimulate science learning, while building with blocks establishes a foundation for understanding geometry. Repetitive play (such as putting a puzzle together, taking it apart, and then reassembling it) hones motor acuity, while unstructured group play boosts kids' social skills.
A study conducted at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology illustrates free play's learning potential. Researchers had preschoolers try out an interactive toy that could squeak, light up, play music, and more. They showed one group how to make the toy squeak but gave no instructions to the other group. In the end, the undirected kids figured out everything the toy could do simply by experimenting with it, while the directed ones never got it to do anything other than squeak. This suggests that young children are better off experimenting and discovering on their own rather than being shown and told.
"Stressing formal learning can turn off preschoolers, many of whom aren't physically ready to hold a pencil or sit still and complete worksheets," says Lorayne Carbon, director of the Early Childhood Center at Sarah Lawrence College, in Bronxville, New York. Plus, an early academic approach doesn't seem to improve classroom performance. A study from the University of North Florida, in Jacksonville, found that fourth-graders who have attended play-based preschools outperform fellow students both academically and socially. And a study published in Early Childhood Research & Practice found clear links between pretend play and enhanced language ability. Your child's future success in school doesn't hinge on your enrolling him in a pre-K that teaches him to add and subtract or know the chemical formula for water. It's more productive to find a program that lets him have fun as he learns.