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.
This week we introduced a new routine - Star Names. A different child's name will be selected every two weeks and the children will explore the letters in that name. They will look at what the letters sound like, look like, and their name. Sammy was our first Star Name and the children had fun with different activities to develop their fine-motor skills and letter formation. They also had the opportunity to develop their questioning skills by interviewing Sammy to find out all about him.
We had fun counting and writing numbers this week. The children spotted different amounts of objects around the school and took photos of them using the iPads. We then printed out the photos and stuck them in our Number Journal and tried to write the number next to it. The children were great thinkers and explained that they could find the number 4 written down somewhere and then copy it into their books if they didn't know how to do it. It was great to see the children using their problem solving skills so early on in Kindergarten.
We also explored measurement a bit more this week, connecting it to our Unit of Inquiry and exploring 'Who We Are.' The children compared themselves to their friends to see who was the tallest and who was the smallest. They then had fun ordering each other and different objects by their size.
This week the children also had the opportunity to extend from last week's self-portraits and create self-representations using different media. They used modelling clay and tools and explored making different marks and using different techniques to vary the shapes they were making. They looked closely at the shape of their noses and how to make different mouths in the clay to show their emotions.
The children also used the iPads to create digital faces and record their descriptions of themselves. We talked about the colours they saw in the mirrors to help them choose matching colours on their digital face. We also talked about using loud voices when we record so that they can listen back and hear themselves. Look out for these on the blog next week!
The children have had a super second week at school. They have remembered their morning routine of unpacking their bag, signing their name and then going to play. We welcomed Reika to school this week and the children have been very caring by helping her to find things in the class and to follow the morning routine.
This week, we introduced the first Unit of Inquiry in K1 - Who We Are. When I asked the children what they thought we might find out about during this unit, they came up with the following list -
We began by exploring the Key Concept of Form by identifying what we looked like. The children used their observation skills by looking in the mirror and seeing the different shapes and colours of their faces. Throughout the week, the children have had many opportunities to apply their knowledge of what they look like. Ms Hima joined us to create charcoal self-portraits, and the children used play dough and various resources to make their faces. Take a look at the children in action.
We also spent time this week exploring our names and the letters that are in our names. We talked about what makes our names special and read a number of stories about names and the alphabet. The activities also helped children to work on their fine-motor skills and spatial awareness as they cut, stuck and collected the resources they needed.
We have already completed our first week of school! It has been wonderful welcoming the children to their new school and helping them to settle into their class. Already I have seen the children organise themselves, taking responsibility for their things and becoming more confident to join in with the different learning activities. At this point, some children choose to observe their peers before interacting with them, something completely common at this age. As time goes on, we will see the children getting more involved in shared play but also choose to engage in individual play at times.
I have really enjoyed spending time getting to know the children in K1 this week. It has been great learning about their likes and dislikes, discovering their personalities and listening to their stories. Take a look at some of the things we have been up to this week.
The Kissing Hand
We read 'The Kissing Hand' by Audrey Penn, a story about a young racoon's first day of school. Mummy racoon kissed his hand and told him that if he ever missed her when he was at school, he could put his hand onto his cheek to feel his mother's love. The children made their own kissing hands to help them think of their family if they are missing them at school.
Our Class Agreement
We also talked about how to make sure we have a happy and safe class and came up with a set of agreements that we said we would keep.