Rivendell Preschool

“…that’s why we need diversity!”

This month we are learning about the industrial revolution. We have defined industrial as making something and revolution as change. Thus, the industrial revolution is the change of how we make things from creating by hand to producing products by machines in factories. Students will also learn how people moved from farmlands to cities to be near the factories.

These are the industrial revolution dramatic play areas in the classrooms.

Along with learning about the industrial revolution, our preschoolers also spent some time this year learning about diversity and inclusion. When the subject of slavery came up, one young girl shouted out, ” That’s why we need diversity!”

The preschoolers learned about Eli Whitney and the invention of the cotton gin. Next we will be learning about George Washington Carver, former slave, and his contribution to agriculture (crop rotation) and the cultivation of the peanut plant. We will end the unit with Mary Walton, inventor of two pollution reducing devices in 1880’s.

Cityscape scissor cutting project. Students practice cutting rectangles from ovals.

The preschoolers will explore these ideas by hand sewing a dress for a doll and creating a scissor cutting project of a truck through the process of working on an assembly line with each child having their own specific job.

Preschoolers sewing a doll dress.

Postcards, science, and holidays, Oh my…..

This month the preschoolers finished the unit on maps and the European continent.  We made passports and took a pretend flight to London. We had high tea and rode the double decker buses before heading off to France to see the Eiffel Tower.  Students also visited Greece, Iceland, and Romania. At the end of the trip, the students wrote postcards to their families.

Preschoolers also had fun ringing in the Lunar Year of the Ox with lion dances and eating noodles with chopsticks.

We are now studying physical science until spring break. Our first topic was light. The preschoolers learned that light travels in a straight line and why shadows appear. Next, we will be exploring sound and sound waves and making some of our own instruments. We’ll finish our unit with a look at magnets and a class science fair project.

Grab your bags…… We’re going to Europe!

Our current school-wide thematic unit is the continent of Europe. Before the preschoolers are able to jump into learning about Europe, they must first get a sense of our planet. In order to do that, the preschoolers have been learning about maps!

Students worked on their spatial awareness and abstract thinking skills by taking a bird’s eye view of their classroom.

There are many different types of maps: city, state, country, continent, and world maps. Next students learned how different maps relate to each other and where they are on the map. We did this exercise by using concentric circles starting with a self portrait on the smallest circle and ending with the Earth on the largest circle.

Just for fun, preschoolers used their newly required mapping skills to map out the sequence/ journey the family goes on from the book: We’re Going on a Bear Hunt. We’re going on a Bear Hunt map. Students also made popsicle sticks people and will follow along on the map as we read the story to sharpen our map skills. It’s been so much fun learning about maps!

After getting our passports, students board a pretend flight to London for sight seeing, riding a double decker bus, and enjoying a tea party. Next we’re of to Paris!!

Celebration of Lights

December is such an exciting time and we’ve been having a lot of fun learning about holiday traditions and fairy tales! Students got to enjoy playing in and with castles and dressing up in courtly clothes.

Preschoolers learned about the winter solstice and the importance of the “evergreen” tree and the yule log.

Students learned about a relative of Santa Claus called a Tomten. Tomtens are small, little gnomes that live on the farms and take care of the animals. Farmers leave small bowls of porridge for them and if you forget, the Tomten may come into your cottage and eat all your Christmas pies!

Students learned the Turkish legend of Saint Nicholas and his generosity and we celebrated Saint Nicholas Day by leaving our shoes outside the classroom during naptime for a visit from Saint Nick.

The preschoolers learned about Hanukkah and the miracle of the oil lasting for eight nights. Preschoolers made menorahs and received chocolate coins.

We celebrated Santa Lucia Day and the feeling of giving to others. The oldest girl from each class wore a crown of candles and white dress and led a parade around the school bringing cookies to teachers.

The preschoolers loved learning about some of the different celebrations around the world.

Human Body

The preschoolers have just finished the systems of the body unit. The students made body vest and brain headbands representing each of the systems (nervous, circulatory, respiratory, digestive, muscular, and skeletal) that they learned about during the unit. They learned that we are all the same on the inside and that all our systems work together to keep us healthy.

Two preschoolers share their human body vests and brain headbands. The yellow pompom is a bite of food in their stomachs.

Next month, we will be learning about different world holidays and traditions. We started our celebration of lights last week learning about the Hindu holiday of Diwali. A time of year when we celebrate light over darkness, good over evil, and knowledge over ignorance.

The preschoolers made paper Diya’s lamps for Diwali.

The preschoolers will also learn about and celebrate Saint Nicholas Day, Santa Lucia, Hanukkah, and the winter solstice. We will make clove oranges, cut stripes for evergreen trees, and listen to Russian and German fairy tales.

Community in the Classroom

We have been learning about community helpers. The dramatic play area has a post office, humane society, and farmer’s produce stand. For community helpers, we’ve been working through a children’s book series called “Whose Is It?” looking at the different tools, hats, hands, and clothes that people use for different types of jobs. The preschoolers are finding that every person’s job affects the next person and that all jobs are important no matter how big or how small!

We are now focusing on democracy. The preschoolers had a “king” rule the classroom and make every decision even what they got to eat for snack! The king ate chocolate kisses and the students got one string bean! “No Fair!” Democracy, the voice of the people, was heard and they voted for everyone to get a chocolate too! We also looked at how diversity played into democracy by looking at how different groups of people were allowed the right to vote at different times.

Next the students will learn about the Mexican holiday of Dia de los Muertos or also known as the Day of the Dead. Not to be confused with Halloween. Dia de los Muertos is about honoring and connecting with ancestors who have passed. We will be decorating sugar skulls and dancing skeletons.

Preschool Circle Time

Hello families!

It has been a fantastic 26 days of school!! During circle time, your kids and I have been having lots of fun. We’ve done some invitation to create crafts that have produced very cute projects. We’ve learned about ours and others’ unique qualities. We’ve also been playing some games encouraging cooperative play and good sportsmanship. And of course, we start each circle with a good book to read. A couple of my and there favorites have been “There’s a Monster in your Book!” by Tom Fletcher and “One” by Kathryn Otoshi.

I will be loosely following the preschool curriculum as I lead the circles. Therefore, we did a lot of apple activities and learned about the letter “M”. The next couple of weeks we will be having fun with leaves.

Ancient Greece

 A long, long, long time ago…..is how we started our unit on ancient Greece with the preschoolers. Our 3 and 4 year old students are studying ancient Greece with the rest of the student body at Rivendell. They first learned the definition of ancient and then moved on to map skills to find Greece and Crete.

Working on map skills: coloring Greece and Crete with green and brown crayons and then painting water with blue watercolor.

 The preschoolers learned about the science of archeology and the tools- paint brushes that  are used to discover about the past. 

A young student exploring the work of an archeological dig with tools and artifacts.

We looked at mosaics and pottery of the ancient Greeks and made our own mosaics and pinch pots. 

Creating ancient Greek mosaics of scary blue dolphins.

We will go on to compare and contrast the past and presents examining home life, family structure, community helpers, and the marketplace. We will bead “gold” and “lapis” necklaces, try some greek food, and write a journal page on what they learned. 

Exploration and integration of ideas and concepts of ancient Greece.

But before we leave the topic of ancient Greece, we will learn of Athena and her gift to Athens and we’ll escape the Minotour’s labyrinth with a ball of yarn!. 

We’re serious about play!

With the warmer weather, the preschoolers have been getting more creative with their play on the playground.

Students used wagons to build a fort for their game.

We have also added some new trucks, pails, and shovels to our sandbox area.

Preschoolers are working on digging a hole that reaches the cement at the bottom of the sandbox.
Obeying traffic signs

The preschool teachers bought traffic signs for the playground with money raised from the Rivendell Fun Run.

First signs of spring.
Friends dancing together.

The preschoolers are making new friends on the playground and creating new dance moves together.

Westward We Go

Hello families!

This was the first week that we began to delve into our newest thematic unit-Westward Expansion. We made predictions about what we might want to take with us as we travel across the country. We also explored life at that time, common objects, and the pioneer experience through our dramatic play centers. Students have become so creative as they try out these new centers.

In P.E. we have started a new unit-juggling! We began with scarves and bean bags. This is another way for us to incorporate our conceptual lens-balance-into our day to day activities. Although it is challenging, it sure is fun!

Hope you have a great week!