I have the best job in the world! Supporting children to learn about the world around them, to ask questions and to develop confidence in themselves is a real privilege. This week, the children once again amazed me with their thinking and their ability to apply the knowledge that they have acquired so far this year to new activities. One routine that we have been working on this term is Star Names. This helps children to become familiar with the names of their peers whilst exploring letter names and sounds. Star Names has inspired the children to be writers. At every opportunity the children are writing lists of names or letters to their friends. To support this interest, we have provided students with sensory, physical and motor skill development opportunities.
During Star Names, the children get the opportunity to interview their friends to learn more about them. This helps to develop their questioning, listening and speaking skills. They also explore the Form of the letters in the name by describing what they are like.
This week the children also began to share their Family Books. It has been wonderful to hear about the families and experiences of the children and they have really enjoyed reading each others' books. The children have been incredibly proud to stand up with their parents and present to the class. We are looking forward to hearing more Family Books next week!
One of the best ways to develop an understanding of number is to explore it in an every day context. For K1, that means looking for numbers all around us, comparing heights and through their play. This week, there have been a selection of number stations set up around the room to explore number. The children have been developing their independence to work their way around each of the activities. As they have done this, I have enjoyed listening to their conversations as they explain their answers or ideas to each other. Through observation and questioning, I am able to get a real sense of how well the children are applying their number knowledge to their work and play.
Finally, I wanted to share a moment that really illustrates what we hope to achieve in K1. Pure excitement, enjoyment and love of learning all captured in this photo!
After a bit of a rainy start, the children had a great time at Sports Day, practising their throwing, kicking and jumping skills. It was nice for me to see the children outside of the classroom, joining in with other activities and to see their talents in other areas. I was very impressed by the children's determination and enthusiasm throughout a very hot morning!
This is the first time the children took part in a House event and they were excited to receive their bandanas in their House colours. Once all of the scores had been added up it was Orchard who won overall. However, all teams did very well and I was very proud of everyone. Thank you too to all parents who came and showed your support and a big well done to Mr Inman and Mr Orgee who organised the event and were able to ensure the children had a great day despite interference by the rain!
This week we have been continuing to practise fine motor skills, letter and sound knowledge, number recognition and counting. By regularly practising these skills and concepts, the children become more confident and accurate in their ability to complete activities not only directly linked to counting or writing, but every day activities from fastening buttons when dressing, opening packets for lunch or giving out cakes to the right number of people on your birthday! Take a look at some of the activities that help us develop these skills and knowledge.
We also started to think about our families in our Unit of Inquiry. We talked about who is in our family and how we are connected to them. We even had a Skype interview with my mum to look at the similarities and differences between us. The children were very excited to ask questions and especially to see the different animals in our house.
We have been talking a lot about working together and developing our cooperation skills through the children's learning and play. Learning to take turns, share and not always be the winner is all part of the social and emotional development that takes place in K1. It has been great to hear the children using encouraging language towards each other and inviting others to join them in their games. Below is a photo of lots of the children working together to build a fort.
Mindfulness is a practice that can be used in a variety of situations and for a variety of reasons. It can help to bring calm at times of stress or worry, help us be present in a busy and hectic world, and can bring a sense of happiness. There has been a lot of research over the last few years, which have identified the benefits of practicing mindfulness for your brain and your overall wellbeing. The children take part in mindfulness activities every day after snack or lunch time to help them bring them back to the present and get them ready to engage in their upcoming learning experiences. Take a look at some of the mindfulness activities that we have been doing this week.
This week, we have explored our likes and dislikes as we inquire further into Who We Are. We read the story 'I Will Not Ever Never Eat a Tomato' by Lauren Child and recognised that Lola is a risk-taker when she tries all the food that she thought she didn't like. The children explored lots of different fruit and vegetables and became risk-takers themselves! Some children were surprised that they actually liked the food that they thought they would not! Others were still not impressed but were proud of themselves for giving it a try. They recorded the food that they liked or disliked on a table. The final food they tried was chocolate. Unsurprisingly, that was the favourite!
We also talked a lot about twins this week during our Unit of Inquiry. The children originally thought that twins were always the same but we looked at Anjali and Ashritha and although we recognised that there were some things that were the same, we noticed that there were some differences too, such as their height. We had a special visit from Mrs Contreras who told us about her twin sister and her twin nephew and niece. The children used their observation skills to look carefully at the similarities and differences between the people in the pictures. Finally, we had a visit from Lucy and Grace in Grade 3 who talked about how they liked different things.
In our number work this week, the children have continued to explore size and practised counting through various activities. The children used the blocks to try to build a tower taller than themselves. It was great to hear the children using language such as 'taller, shorter, bigger and smaller' in their play. They also worked on their cooperation skills as they had to work in teams of two or three.
The children have shown me this week that they're starting to feel very settled in their classrooml. Their individual personalities are starting to shine through, with some children choosing to spend their free choice time predominantly in the role play area, or building or writing. Through this free choice, the children get the opportunity to undertake their own investigations, problem solve and also apply what we have been learning altogether. It really highlights the importance of every interaction that we have with the children and our important jobs as role models. For example, listening to the children repeat phrases that I use, such as "I like you're ideas sweetie," when they are playing in the role play area, illustrates that everything you say, even those incidental words like "sweetie," are listened to and potentially used in their own language or behaviours. Below is a collection of photos of the children using and applying what we have been learning about altogether, in their own play.
Using the language of size and measuring.
Writing letters and names.
Our outdoor area is an extension of our classroom, providing further opportunities to apply what we have been learning indoors, extend investigations further and provide different sensory opportunities. Creating different learning environments and experiences helps children to develop their social skills by working cooperatively, develop their communication skills by listening to each other and sharing their own ideas, and to develop self-management skills, such as gross motor skills and spatial awareness. Of course the list goes on and on as the benefits of learning in different environments is endless! Take a look at the children working on some of the skills mentioned above.
Gross motor skills.
Fine motor skills.
This week we also started exploring more about our similarities and differences through our Unit of Inquiry on Who We Are. The children identified that we all have heads, bodies, hearts, lungs and blood, and that our eye colour, hair colour, size and likes and dislikes are different. The children painted pictures of their favourite things and also read the book 'Elmer' to think about and celebrate what makes us all look different. The children created their own patchwork elephants, thinking about the colours they were using and trying to keep each coloured spot inside its own square.