Work and Play

We passed the half way point in October this week and also marked the completion of the first six weeks of school.  When teachers take the first six weeks of each school year, to slow down and teach every process and procedure to their students, more on target, academic time can be gained throughout the school year.  The children know the expectations and know how to operate within their classroom.  On Wednesday, Ms. Purple was visiting our class and joined us for morning meetings.  She was so impressed with how well the children knew exactly what to do!  She complemented them on their great work!  We keep referring to it, but childhood is not a race, and neither is the school year.  Taking it slow and deliberately at the beginning, pays off ten fold as the school year plays out.

Below are some pictures from our week.  The first pictures show us hard a work.  I do not believe that young children should have paper and pencil tasks pushed upon them.  They will begin working on academic tasks when they are developmentally ready, and only the child knows when that is!  For some of them, they are ready at 31/2 or early in their 4s.  For others it comes much later.  We put the work out there and when they are ready they will be drawn to it.  While they are not ready for paper and pencil skills, they can work on so much more.  Strengthening their hand muscles and practicing skills that they will later show profiency with on paper.


Pre reading practice looking at books.

This child has just finished tracing the numbers on the October Calendar and tracing her name.  Now she is taking some quiet time to look at a book.  I love the chin on the hand.


Putting bottles in order from smallest to largest.  Strengthening hand muscles.  Pre writing activity.


Drawing, practicing pencil grip and strengthening hand muscles.


Sorting fruit by color.  When using the tweezers, the child is strengthening the hand and preparing for grip.


Journal Writing.

We have writers at a variety of different places.  Some of our 2nd and 3rd year students are sounding out words, using appropriate letter formation and writing short sentences.  Others are pre writers and are tracing over the text they dictate to us, others are at an in between place, where with help from an adult they can sound out the sounds to the words they want to write.  It is exciting to watch each of these children progress through the stages of pre writing and writing.


Beginning sound practice and letter formation.

I found these wonderful sandpaper letters that show the child how to properly form the letters.  We've been slowly building this work as we have practiced one new sound a week.  The child would practice tracing the letter 'k' and say,   "k ,/k/,/k/,Kite."    Children who are not yet ready to hold a pencil learn so much from this activity.  When they are ready to write - they will just soar!




Drawing, concentration and hand strength.


Stone washing.  Planning ahead, balance, concentration, organization.

One might look at this work and wonder about the importance.  Isn't it just for fun?  NO!  The child has to carry this heavy tray with two hands from the shelf.  They have to go to the sink and fill their cup with water, and then walk back across the classroom without spilling the water!  They then wash their stone, and then do the process all over again!  Have you ever watched a child walk across a room with a full glass of water?  The concentration and coordination that is needed is immense!

The pictures that I captured this week, did not capture our math work!  I will have to make a point of capturing those photos for next week.

One of the greatest aspects of our program, is the amount of outside time our children have.  In the spring and fall they get two hours of recess and full time students go out exploring many Fridays.  This Friday the kids worked hard in the morning preparing samples for their portfolios and then we went to Profile Falls.  One little guy told his mom that he was "Billy Goat" when she picked him up Friday afternoon.


Profile Falls


Billy Goats!

On the way out of the woods, the children lamented that this was the best trip of the year.  Yet it wasn't very long, and all they did was climb!


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Fort building:  Heavy Lifting!


Nature Baking!


balance and strength


Team work - Heavy Lifting!

Most of these play pictures were taken at the Slim Baker Area on School Picture Day!  The children had a grand time!  I was recently chatting with a parent of a past HCMA student.  She said to me, "First grade should still be fun!"  Yes, it should and we so agree!

Have a great week, and I am going to try to take a bit of my own advice - we should all work hard and leave time for play!

Jennifer MacDonaldComment