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Thursday, August 19, 2010

Leaf Print Project

I know it's not fall, but we have this HUGE tree out front that has been slowly dropping some great leaves. I thought it would be fun to paint them and make a picture.

Our tree is called a paulownia tree which is mostly indigenous to southern areas. We got our about 6 or 7 years ago. It has grown magnificently. It's super tall and the leaves on it get really big. When the tree is full it reminds me of a tree a child would draw. One great big trunk with a full beautiful green top. I love the tree, but we didn't know it would grow so big and it is outgrowing its space. We are trying to hold onto it as long as we can.

We got a large piece of white paper, some leaves from the ground, and some paint. We painted the backs of the leaves so that when we pressed them to print them on the paper we would get that great design. We did this outside because it can get a bit messy.

We made a flower with our prints, but this project could be turned into anything; individual prints of the leaves in different colors, or any type of object or picture they would like to paint.

As I was doing the project I thought this would make a good cooperative project. You may or may not remember that I had done a course stating the importance of doing projects where the children have to cooperate to complete them. If the paper is big enough and there are enough leaves a group of children could create a wonderful masterpiece.

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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

New Resources

I have gotten a couple of emails showcasing some new sites that may be helpful to educators out there.

The first site is called Early Learning HQ. This site contains "100's of foundation stage and KS1 resources to share..." It contains many downloadable resources for use with early learning concepts.

The second site is called Kidopo. Lots of stuff to do here! There are reproducibles to use, games to play, and crafts. I think you could find a wealth of information here.

I hope you enjoy.

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Friday, August 6, 2010

Creations With Colored Sand

Last night I decided to experiment with our play sand to see if we could make some colored sand creations with it. We did and had a good time too. There is definitely the possibility for some mess with this, but go ahead and have a good time with it.

The first step was to make the different colored sand. You will need:

play sand
plastic bags
food color
place for drying

Pour some sand into a plastic bag, then add the color of your choice. Mix the sand and the food coloring together and you have a beautiful new color of sand.

Pour the sand on to something flat and let it lay out to dry a bit. (Here is where my little guy got quite colorful. We poured the sand out and he flattened it out with his hand, hence the colored hand.)

After the sand has dried, it's time to get creative. You can do anything you want with this sand. If you have a nice little vase or glass jar you can fill it with the different colors to make a nice little accent piece.

We decided to create some works of art. We each got a piece of paper, some glue, and a paint brush. (I like to use a heavier stock of paper when working with sand.)

We painted a design with the glue, then sprinkled our dry sand over it--one color at a time. (When the sand is dry the color doesn't transfer to hands as much). For example, when we wanted to use the blue sand, we painted with glue where we wanted blue, sprinkled blue sand, and shook off the excess. Then we did the same for each color.

I think they came out pretty great and we had a good time. It was also super easy. Have fun!

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Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Book Review

I have spent the last few days busily reading a wonderful book. A reader sent me a book called, "How to Choose the Best Preschool For Your Child," by Jenifer Wana. Before I continue I want to let you know that I was in no way compensated for my review of this book.

So what did I think of the book? WOW! Ms. Wana has included every possible scenario that a new parent searching for a preschool may encounter. I don't think I have read a more thorough book in my life.

She has examples of different kinds of preschools with details of each. From there she helps parents get organized for their journey to preschool. She starts at the list phase of preschool and takes parents up to the first day they drop their children off at the new school.

I believe that Ms. Wana has not missed one small detail with the writing of this book. If a parent has ever had any ponderings about how to choose a preschool for their child this book should be the first place you can send them. It answers every question I could think of and more.

The book was also easy to read and well laid out, making the process of finding a nursery school understandable and not so scary. I believe she did a wonderful job.

There is just one small point that I took "issue" with. It is an extremely small and possible unimportant part, but being a parent in the situation I have a different point of view. Ms. Wana talks about "redshirting" children--a new term to me. This is the practice of waiting to send children on if they seem too young.

First I didn't like the term, "redshirting," but my husband had no problem with it. Second, this is such a difficult decision for parents. I fretted over this decision for 6 months. Ms. Wana states that "redshirting doesn't give children any practical advantage or improve their school success in the long term." This may be true, but when your child spends the last three months of school being frustrated and unhappy, this is one thing you may want to look at. For me holding my son was one of the hardest, but best, decisions of my life. The following year of school was just fantastic for him. He was a leader in the class, helpful with all tasks, and confident. He ended the year winning the Principal's Award for his class. He is happy, I am happy.

If this situation does arise for you, make sure you look at every possible scenario. Maybe it will be fine to send your child on to the next level. On the other hand it may be just as wonderful for them to wait to move on.

In conclusion, I would recommend this book to any parent in a second. I believe that it is an invaluable resource for those that are entering the world of preschool. Many parents are surprised at how the preschool process works. After reading this book, a parent will know every nook and cranny of looking at and finding the right preschool for their child.

Thanks Ms. Jenifer Wana for taking the time and using your talents to put together such a comprehensive book for parents.

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