Saturday, January 28, 2012

Exploring Colour Mixing

Our emergent topic of blue+yellow= green started when a group of children made a great learning discovery at the art table.  We had put out pastels and paper, with the intention of building fine motor skills, discovery and creative expression.  A wonderful learning experience emerged when 'Saa' discovered that a yellow pastel-  coloured over the blue pastel- turns to the colour green.  She had this amazing expression of wonder on her face, like a light-bulb just turn on in her brain. She looked at me- She didn't speak, but her facial expression seemed to say, "I just discovered something really cool with the art material".  We had a lovely group discussion about colours and colour mixing.  The other children at the table quickly joined in the discovery, attempting to recreate the same colour mixing on their own paper.   

These are the provocations that we introduced over the next few classes, based on the interest of the group.

A story about colour mixing, friendship, being yourself and inclusion.
The book was out of the library, so I made up a prop story using pompoms.  I squished together a blue and yellow piece of play dough to demonstrate the part of the story where they turn green.  During group time, the children were sitting so still throughout the story- silent, with big eyes watching- even the wiggly-young-boys were silent and still.

Some of the children were interested in cars and had been driving over 'mountains' and through 'valleys' in the block area. Bringing something of interest into the art area encouraged the few art-reluctant children (boys) to investigate the activity. 'A' eagerly drove the cars through the paint and all around the paper, smiling from ear-to-ear. 

Alhamdulillah, Allah gave us a perfect natural material to use in the classroom.  Snow made a great material to explore colour mixing and also expand knowledge about temperature, melting, sold/liquid, Allah's creation, weather...

We started out in the water table with a simple colour mixing science experiment, then later added more water and tools to extend the exploration. 

Play dough is always a big hit with the children.  A wonderful sensory exploration that is perfect for building fine motor skills and creativity.  It works phenomenally for a hands-on experience in colour mixing. 
 By the end of class-all the play dough was a nice green colour.

Of course, we had to bring the science of colour mixing with us when we went outside.  Most of the children spent the whole outdoor time turning the snow into colouful designs.   This time- yellow snow was safe to touch!

Math and Manipulatives:  Do they weight the same?  Lets count how many.   Lets  make a pattern or sequence with the blocks.  There are many easy ways to expand the interest of the group into different curriculum areas.  

More colour mixing-squishy bags.

It is always a joy to experience learning with the children- and I thank Allah for every second I get to spend with the children- engaged in meaningful learning experiences together.  One of our goals for the children is to discover ideas and knowledge themselves, instead of the teachers 'telling' them.  Yes, we often 'set up' the environment for these discoveries to happen (and often the children discover additional things we were not 'planning' for)- but when the children figure things out for themselves, the learning will 'stick' with them- it becomes meaningful to them...Their new brain connections are set for life, insha'allah.

Play = Learning

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Play Dough Exploration

1: X said, "I can make it like a green snake !" Y answered, "My one is bigger"-Children are learning language when they are sharing their ideas with their peers. They are also comparing the lenght of the play dough-big, small ,bigger, longer, etc.

2: F is working so hard to cut his play dough with the scissor. I was holding my scissor, describing and showing him how to insert his fingers -he was observing my fingers and he did it! The use of scissors helps develop children's fine motor skills. 

3: Children have their unique style to interact with the medium .They need ample opportunity to explore. D was using his scissors to mark his play dough -Another child said- "Are you making pizza?" He was kneading his play dough for a long time.

4:F decided to knead and roll it his play dough. He just started preschool with us. He was observing other children and than he carefully picked up his play dough and rolled it like X.  When he have finished he said, "I want green scissor ".

5: J was decorating her play dough with lots of light green balls. I said, "I can see you put so many green balls on your play dough". She replied, "I am making chocolate chip cookies".

This play dough exploration develops children's fine motor skills-creativity, language and social skills...and more.

Homemade playdough recipe

3 cups boiling water

  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 cups salt
  • 4 Tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 4 Tablespoons cream of tartar
  • food coloring optional -


Mix all ingredients except for the flour in a large bowl. Once well mixed, add flour. Stir continuously until the dough mix leaves the sides of the bowl. When well blended, remove from bowl and knead on floured board. Careful! The dough will be HOT - especially in the center. Until it cools, this is a job for an adult. If the dough is too sticky, add more flour. At first it will seem undercooked, but as you knead and sprinkle with flour, you will find you have made a nice, soft playdough. Store in an airtight container. I never refrigerate my dough as putting it in the fridge makes it sweat and it goes sticky.

Things to add to dough

  • Glitter
  • Rice for texture
  • Vanilla or a few drops of essential oil for scent

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Different Ways of Learning

For one of the art activities, I put multicolored pompom balls, glue and Popsicle sticks- and also displayed colored pencils, if they wanted to explore more. X is the only child who often ignores the art activity. When he saw that we put pompom balls, he was really excited to join with the other children. He was very careful to spread the glue on his orange paper, then with his two fingers he picked black, orange, black and white balls--whenever he was picking, he was saying the color. I was amazed to observe how the other children were helping him to tell the colors as well. They were improving their fine motor skills, counting the balls, sorting them and being very creative when they were placing the Popsicle stick on their paper. X was so engaged and enthusiastic while gluing all the materials I provided for the children. When X had finished his art, he was looking at it with his beautiful smile and told me, "Sister Fatima-I did it, I will show mummy."  I have seen the enjoyment and passion in X-how happy he was when he had finished his activity. He recieved uninterrupted time and various materials to explore his creativity and expand his skills.  Children always need that support from adults-no matter if it is from their parents or teachers.  Please give that opportunity to our young people to be confidence and secure.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Getting Ready for Kindergarten

At Sprouts of Iman Preschool we prepare children for all areas of Kindergarten readiness. Our training in Early Childhood Education, specifically in child growth and development, enables us to plan and implement programming based on the most current research into how children learn. In consultation with Kindergarten teachers and by following the BC Guidelines for Early Learning we are able provide a complete Kindergarten readiness program.

It is well researched and documented that children learn best through play based activities. That is why at Sprouts of Iman, learning through play is vitally important to us. We want the best possible environment for your children to learn and thrive in. All areas of child development are built when they play. From fine motor skills to Cognitive development, play is children's work- building strong minds and bodies. Based on observation of the children, we carefully select preschool activities and experiences that work on developing specific skills needed for Kindergarten success. Each children is unique and on their own time-table with regards to their development. That is why we use emergent curriculum, following the child's interest and developmental needs, when planning our curriculum. This way, we can plan exactly what each child in our program needs to work on for Kindergarten readiness.

Read what the BC Kindergarten guide has to say about learning through play...

Much of children’s early learning takes place through play. Play is so important that its
significance in children’s lives is recognized by the United Nations as a specific right. The
positive emotions associated with play are as important as the skills children are building
in creating a disposition to enjoy learning and to embrace it with confidence.

Play promotes healthy physical, intellectual, and social-emotional development in ways that
cannot be achieved by focussing on narrow pre-academic skills, such as counting to 10 or
learning the alphabet. For example, when children play with blocks, sand, or water, they are
learning the basis of logical and mathematical thinking, scientific reasoning, and cognitive
problem solving. During dramatic play they are re-contextualizing what they have learned
from personal experience or listening to stories. In symbolic play using literacy materials,
they are deepening their understanding of the nature and purposes of written language.
During active play, children learn to have fun while being physically active. They have
a chance to release their energy, display calmer behaviour during the day, and sleep
better at night. During group play activities with their peers, children are building
relationships, combining ideas, compromising, developing oral narratives, and learning
to take the perspective of others — key elements of social competence, creative thinking,
imagination, and emerging literacy.

To foster optimum development in all domains, children need two kinds of opportunities
for play: child-initiated and teacher-initiated. These are described in detail in the pages
following. Both opportunities contribute to the development of children’s language
skills, early literacy, conceptual learning, problem solving, perspective taking, creativity,
memory, and representational skills.

In both, the teacher or teacher assistant supports
children to extend what they are doing and to make meaning as they engage in
play activities. Teacher-supported play based programs have been shown to support
children’s self-regulation and academic learning more effectively than control classrooms
that did not include any support from teachers.

Read more about how children learn and what they learn in Kindergarten.
BC Full Day Kindergarten Program Guide