Month: August 2013

Science Learning at Home

Helping our children recognize that science is everywhere in the world and a part of their daily lives is not only important for their cognitive development, but also fun for the entire family. The National Association for the Education of Young Children just published a great article on how we can all further our children’s interest in science outside of school, and even more helpful? They broke it down by age. Here are a couple examples:

Infants/Toddlers

* Describe the physical characteristics of living and nonliving things during play, such as “The water is cold!” and “Kitty’s fur is soft”

* Play peekaboo together using direction and position words: “Where is baby’s belly button? Under her shirt!”

Preschoolers

* Go on a shape scavenger hunt to find and name as many shapes as you can. Sort them afterwards by shape.

* Play with sand and water, discussing your child’s observation as he pours, fills, measures, scoops, and dumps.

* Explore the concept of gravity by having your child toss objects of different weights in the air, noting the speed with which they fall

Encouraging and participating in enjoyable science activities such as these above will help your child establish an interest in science education and build inquiry skills that are crucial for the elementary school years.

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Natural Art

photo(19)

So we ordered this table from the Nature Explore folks awhile ago and unfortunately we thought our kiddos were taller than they actually are:) It was too high for them to use as anything but a fort to be underneath, which was absolutely fine, but not the original intent. So we had our playground maintenance crew bury it a foot or so and wouldn’t you know…….5 minutes later we get this.

THIS is outdoor art, nature being used as a canvas, and creativity with whatever materials she has at hand. All of which was done without a word from me as to what this table was designed for. THIS is what the idea was behind this playground a year ago when we moved to Wilderness Place; a space where everything that is available in the classroom – art, music, building, writing – is also available outdoors. We are accomplishing this slowly but surely (Nature Explore is not cheap) but we are accomplishing it.

Big thanks to everyone who has supported this vision and here’s a link to Nature Explore if anyone wants to help further it!

Nature Explore Program

What is Happening to Play?

What is Happening to Play?
July 22, 2013

 

Let’s be the school that helps change the norm back to PLAY!!!

In his article, “The Connection Between Play and Character,” in the Beginnings Workshop curriculum unit Imagination, David Elkind asserts…

“Free, spontaneous, and self-initiated play was once the norm for young children.  This is no longer the case.  Even toys for infants both talk and move with little left to the child’s imagination….  Both parents and early childhood educators, who once encouraged young children to choose their own activities, are being pressured to replace them with adult directed games, sports, and academic instruction.

“All of this reflects a changed conception of the meaning and value of play.  Free, spontaneous, and self-initiated play was once welcomed as a measure of healthy growth and development.  Today, however, true play is often looked upon as frivolous and a waste of time.  Only toys and games that are educational, in the sense of teaching concepts such as colors, or tool skills such as reading, are worthwhile.  In short, even for young children, promoting academic and athletic achievement is now seen to be more important than the encouragement of imagination and creativity.”