Fall 2019 Update

Another year is coming to an end and we've been having so much fun!

GFC activities focus on meeting the child where they are, forming caring and respectful relationships, and learning through authentic play.

Here are some of the activities that have come up over this season:

Every few weeks we rotate the materials that are available on the art shelf. Materials vary in color, size, texture, and function. They are provided with no pre-determined purpose, so it leads to some pretty creative pieces of self expression!

Building materials are another item that are rotated every several weeks, depending on their interest and abilities. These foam blocks are great for building, sorting, measuring, and counting.

We do tons of messy play! This open ended art exploration started as making textures and mixing colors using sponges. It turned into exploring the texture of paint and mixing colors with our hands.

We use a variety of materials to manipulate mediums for art. For this piece, we used wheat as paint brushes.

Many of the required standards for math, science, and social studies come up naturally through play. Here, the children had an idea to draw a map so that the Autumn Fairies would be able to find our school.

I try to bring in as many natural elements as possible. These pumpkins, gourds, and dried corn were the topic of discussion, projects, and play for several weeks. We were able to sort them by size, color, and type. We talked about the texture, parts of a plant, and what they could be used for.

The dried corn was also used to boost our fine motor strength and coordination. We popped the kernels off, which is great for getting muscles ready for scissors and writing.

Again, we see science and math being used naturally in play. One student used their background knowledge of walking on a gymnastics beam to create a beam out of craft sticks. They then figured out how to take turns walking on the sticks without bumping into one another.

Painting is not just a 2D activity. We decorated mini pumpkins using another tool to apply paint (cotton swabs).

Getting pictures outside can be a bit more difficult, because they are almost always on the move! We use the seasons to help guide our play. In the fall there are many leaves outside, so the entire yard becomes a "sensory bin" of sorts.

I take cues from the children when deciding what materials need to be added to the space. We have a large area for dramatic play and they were creating living room arrangements and bedrooms out of our life size materials. To ensure everyone was able to participate, I added our doll house size furniture and people. So now we can play house in life size or miniature form.

Toddlers love to fill things up, dump, and pour. There are a variety of containers outdoors and the children use natural elements to satisfy that need to fill and dump. It is important for them to have opportunity to repeat this process again and again, so that they develop a fundamental understanding of space and movement.

Ripping paper is a precursory skill needed to learn to cut with scissors. It builds the muscles needed for cutting and helps to develop an understanding of the properties of paper.

We go outside as often as possible. If it is 25℉ or higher we get our gear on and head outside.

I know this just looks like toys hanging up - but it isn't! The 2 year olds have taken great interest in connecting tools. So clothes pins and towels clips have been added to our materials. I'll be on the look out for more connecting materials that can be added. We will also start lacing cards and beads, which could lead to weaving.

There is no explicit, teacher directed instruction of academic topics at gfc. Instead, we read stories, sing songs and play games that involve spelling or naming letters, write their own name (or scribble) on their paper, labels maps and drawings, make menus, and other real world experiences that require literacy.

Music is woven throughout each day. We sing for fun, we learn new rhymes, we learn sign language words that go with songs, and we explore a variety of materials that make noise. The younger toddlers have been using tools to make noise - banging items on tables and bowls. So items like a drum and glockenspiel have been added to the space.

We also do cooking projects regularly. Each month we make a new batch of play dough. We also help to make snack, by peeling fruit or spreading hummus or peanut butter. We also do special projects, like decorating cookies and gingerbread houses!