The EC3 Connection ~ July 19, 2021

Published: 2021-07-20

The EC3 Connection
EC3’s Monthly News from the Classrooms
July 16, 2021

Ladybug Class
Christina Young and Casey Fowler

 

During some of their nature walks, the Ladybugs encountered a few butterflies fluttering around. They were fun to talk about, and had many different interesting colors, so the teachers incorporated them into their lesson plan. Sensory exploration is a child's way of examining, discovering, categorizing, and making sense of the world. In the butterfly sensory play there are different textures and objects to help develop fine motor skills. They pick up small objects and pinch the mashed rice cereal (the Ladybug version of sand) in between their index fingers and thumbs, and they also pick up the small butterflies hiding under the rice cereal sand and non-toxic paint foam. Fine motor skills are those that require the ability to use and coordinate small muscle groups and are important for future abilities such as writing, shoe-tying, buttoning, and zipping, among other things. As the teachers sit with the infants, they verbally describe new and different words as they explore/play with butterflies in two different types of textures. Hiding the butterflies is important to this activity as well. Searching for an object that is partially hidden, searching for hidden objects, and searching for objects concealed within view helps children gain understanding of object permanence - learning that objects and people still exist even when they can’t see them.


The teachers also noticed that the infants seemed to really enjoy banging things together. They provided metal pots and pans, and small wooden spoons on low shelves that are easily accessible to the infants. The teachers showed the infants how to beat loudly, quietly, quickly, and slowly. Then they let them enjoy beating, clanging, and banging on the pots and pans. They are learning and exploring different textures/materials and sounds and rhythm. They are learning to beat quickly and slowly. It also opens up a platform for great discussions, which builds language skills. Some of the questions they would ask infants included “Does it sound different if the pots are upside down?”,
“What if you stack them on top of each other? Do they sound different then?”, “How about with your bare hands? Can they make noise?” The teachers would demonstrate as they asked the questions. The infants are learning rhythm, texture, and language as they have so much fun just beating pots and pans!


Bumblebee Class
Carley O’Byrne and Sarah Stein


The Bumblebee room has welcomed back Sarah Stein and she has missed them so much! She has been spending a lot of time bonding with each child and getting to know their individual needs and preferences. They like to spend time outside as much as possible (weather permitting). Going for a buggy ride is a way for the kids to get some fresh air and see more of their surroundings. They like to point out different things they see as they walk along, like trees or cars. When they don’t make it out for a buggy ride, they will spend time out on the deck exploring nature. Being in nature provides a sensory enriched experience that promotes the formation of brain synapses, a critical part of cognitive development.
They love to get messy in the Bee room because it means the kids are exploring on their own! From marks on a paper to purposeful drawing, your child’s artwork will evolve steadily during their first two years. Aside from providing endless cute keepsakes, art activities are developmentally beneficial too. Children develop life skills through artwork. It promotes their communication skills, problem-solving skills, social & emotional skills, fine motor skills and their self-expression and creativity. This month, they painted an art project for a Father’s Day gift. Allowing the children to paint with their hands offers them a sensory experience while they move the paint around. They plan on “ice painting” to cool off in the hot sun during the month of July.

Dolphin/ Penguin/Seal Class
Claudia “Burger” Conley, Ada Scott, Jennifer Enterline, Amanda Brock, and Claudine Wilson


Toddlerland is made up of children ranging from 14 months to 2 and a half years of age, and every developmental level you will find in between those ages so the ability to build skills at whatever stage the child is at can make for some interesting game play. Outside on the “mountain” and around the tree, the play has been magical. The littlest ones fast walk beside the mountain, or slowly crawl or scale the side, while the biggest ones run up and down yelling, “Ready, Set, GO!” There are those who are really good at climbing up that are attempting to walk down, that need a close adult to lunge if they start to somersault, and those that are walking down backwards. The children have enjoyed marching around the walnut tree while singing or just listening to a teacher sing while they move with the big kids and try not to tumble down. If they do tumble, a teacher helps them up and asks if they want to rejoin. These activities build an awareness of space for the older kids and empathy for the little ones that they watch out for. The little ones get a huge grin as they are included in the games and gain strength and ability.
The sandbox is another great way kids of differing skills are playing next to each other. On a recent day there were children scooping sand to fill pails and carry them, while another child lifted scoops of dirt to the funnel system that ran down a ramp, while a child sat beneath and dropped handfuls of dirt on the ramp. Nearby, a very young toddler was feeling the texture of the warm sand as it ran through his fingers. Each child was gaining large or small motor strength and ability and the older children were modeling for the younger. It is a beautiful thing!

Frog Class
Catherine Carroll and Mercedes Steward


The Frogs have been growing their green thumbs! They have planted an herb garden together with the Geckos. The garden has moved from individual cups to a large bin in the classroom and has finally made it outside into the planter on the playground! They have grown cilantro, thyme, parsley, and dill. The cilantro is doing really well.
The children began by planting their own seeds into a little plastic cup that they filled halfway with soil. They would water their seeds every couple of days. They became very excited after sprouts started shooting up! As the sprouts grew it was time for them to be moved into a bigger plastic tub. Each child helped to plant their sprout into the tub. Each child has continued to take turns to help water our seeds to help them grow. As soon as the herbs were strong enough to handle the outdoors, the class transferred the tub of herbs into a planter on the playground. The children will continue to water the herbs and hopefully everyone will have some herbs sent home with them soon! The Frogs have loved this activity, especially checking for new growth every day.

Teacher Feature: Ms. Mercedes Steward


Mercedes Steward is an older toddler teacher in the Frog room. She has been teaching toddlers for the past six years. Mercedes earned her CDA in infants and toddlers. She loves being a teacher because she gets to help children grow and develop. Their imaginations are so fun when playing, and it’s rewarding to see their language skills develop throughout their time in her classroom. One of Mercedes’ favorite things to do in the classroom is to play in the house area with the children. They have fun making food for her and pretending to go on picnics. One of her favorite memories actually comes from attending a Bear room graduation. She was so proud of her former students for how much they had grown! When she’s not at work, Mercedes loves to read mystery books, hang out with her younger cousin (who is also a child care worker) and swap work stories, or settle in for a Mexican dinner at Acapulco Grill.

Gecko Class
Julie Douglas, Tammy Epling, and Ehricka Masalkoski


Spring has sprung! The Geckos had fun unit on spring time. The first week they talked all about the weather. Every day at group time, they would choose a weather reporter who reported the weather to the class. The Geckos even have increased their weather vocabulary and have learned such terms as partly cloudy, stormy, etc. They also did a fun sensory activity using plastic containers with holes and water to make it rain. The teachers continued the spring unit by talking about gardening. The students conducted an experiment using food coloring and white carnations. The children were predicting what color the flowers would turn. They also planted seeds, watched them grow, and transplanted them outside. After reading books and talking about what grows in gardens, the children brought in their favorite veggie to make a big pot of vegetable soup. Yummy! Ending the spring unit, the Geckos learned about insects. They borrowed a really cool insect box from the Bears and explored it using magnifying glasses. They also used their creative expression to use fly swatters to paint on big paper.


Lion Class
Dani Douglas


With the weather being somewhat cooperative and nicer out, the Lions have been spending more time outside. The children are learning so many things outside while they are playing in the different areas available to them. The outdoor classroom is up and running with sand and water tables for the kiddos to play with and explore, different rocks for them to look at and study and large spool tables for activities. They are so excited when they get to use the outdoor classroom, it is a nice change of pace for them. They are enjoying their weekly water days in the big field. They have used a splash pad, been sprayed with the hose by a teacher, and have used a traditional sprinkler. They look forward to seeing what new/different thing that is next! They are always happy to play on the playground side and stretch their muscles as they continue developing their gross motor skills. They have been trying the monkey bars more often as well as learning to pump their legs on the swings. They are doing great. Summertime means fun time and what better way to have fun than trying science experiments? We tried to make Elephant Toothpaste and the kiddos loved it! They were able to sit back and enjoy popsicles and watch the show. After that, the teachers turned half of the sandbox into a mud pit and they had a blast! They were able to use dump trucks, shovels, buckets, and other toys to explore the difference between sand and mud. They all had a great time. They are looking forward to seeing what else the summer brings!

 

Tiger Class
Angie Mendenhall


Welcome to camp WanttobeaTiger. The Tigers are spending their summer doing lots of fun things and themes. They spent a week learning about summer and doing things they like to do in the summer, like blowing bubbles. The Tigers made a special bubble solution and large wands to make giant, long-lasting bubbles. They also made tasty homemade popsicles and made giant flowers that they put up outside the classroom. They celebrated the 4th of July by painting fireworks, making hats, and making elephant toothpaste. The children have been pirates, going on a search for treasures, making maps, and going to the booty store. The teachers have so much more fun planned to do before summer is done. They will go camping, have an art show, and be Olympians, just to name a few. So much to be done at camp WanttobeaTiger and so little time.

 

Bear Class
Wanda Bancroft and Sofia Stathoulia


The teachers have taken a step back and noticed that the Bears have grown up so much. They have developed their skills in all the developmental domains and they are ready for kindergarten! Although their academic skills are high - they know how to count to 10 and to 20, they know the alphabet and most of them write words - this is not the only important sign of readiness. Kindergarten readiness is about the development of the whole child. When entering kindergarten, children should have developed their gross and fine motor skills, for example, how to hold a pencil or use scissors. They should have practiced certain cognitive skills including being able to solve small sized puzzles, understanding the concepts of one-to-one correspondence, and sorting and matching. Additionally, it is important to have a developed vocabulary, and an expanded imagination through many creative and open-ended activities such as loose parts play. But the most important aspect of their readiness is their social and emotional development, their self-care skills, independence and confidence skills, and problem-solving skills. Children are ready when they know how to use their words to end a conflict or solve a problem or when they interact cooperatively with the other children in a large or small activity. They should be able to recognize and manage most of their emotions and be able to separate themselves from parents or legal guardians without getting overly upset. The Bears have had lots of opportunities to develop throughout the year by participating in small and large group activities and during free play. In kindergarten, they will have the opportunity to improve themselves more since they will take on more responsibilities as kindergarteners. They will keep developing in the Bear room overall while having fun and exploring the aspects of the summer!


 

I trust EC3 with the most important thing in my entire world. The staff and leadership have earned that trust. Please keep up the good work, friends.

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