Thursday, September 29, 2011

Nature's playground

We had a lot to do today!  We started with shovels in the dirt, both digging and pounding on the many molehills in the field.  During circle time today we learned the Apple Poem.  The Apple Poem has American Sign Language that goes along with it.  Ask your child the sign for apple!
Way up high in an apple tree.
Two red apples smiled at me.
I shook that tree as hard as I could.
Down came the apples! Mmmmmm they were good!

Here is a link that shows how to make the sign of the apple!

After our circle time we had a fun tour of the farm led by Farmer Linda.
We got to feed Daisy the cow and go into the chicken coop and count the eggs! (there were 5 today)  We heard the donkey hee hawing and began learning the Donkey Song from Teacher Ann.

Then it was time for snack and a bit of a hike.  Teachers Jen and Ann went in different directions with their color groups .  We hike with the kids separately  from time to time in order to help them create bonds and friendships easier.  Teacher Jen is always with the blue group and Teacher Ann leads the yellow group.  The children are changed from group to group every few weeks.

Children in the stream.
Today in the yellow group 2 children were very engaged with playing, holding and observing a worm that Isaac had found.  It was still wiggling when we left it behind so I guess they were gentle enough!  3 boys climbed on a downed tree for a long time and played with hitting it with sticks.  

The children are taught very specific rules about how to play with sticks so that no one gets hurt.  They cannot hike with sticks but can use sticks as long as they are away from other children.  In this case, the 3 boys had short sticks and they were pretending to chop down the tree.  It was a good activity to bond them in imaginary play.

In the blue group they played for a long time in the stream.  Then they hiked to the "elephant tree" and found new ways to climb on it.  There was a lot of imaginary play going on with them as well!

 At the end of the day we fit in apple prints.  We are happy to use paint while the weather permits-aka is sunny! 

What a great day!  Please use this blog to engage your child in conversations about what he or she did today.  This will help reinforce their learning.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

A muggy day on the farm...

Kids stomping in the mud.
We started the second day at TOP with new buckets and old shovels. The kids dug into dirt, mole hills and around the foot of a big tree.  Kids made dirt hills and castles, found an earwig and flying ants and lots of spiderwebs on the tree bark. Some of the children were playing together, building and digging.  Other kids were pretending to be baby fawns and lying on the grass.  Teacher Jen and I could see that some of the kids were working on adjusting to a new school and adventure.
Both teachers got lots of hugs and love today.  Kids wanted to hold the teacher's hand as we hiked.  Some needed a bit of reassurance, yet there were no tears saying goodbye or any little voices asking when mom would be there.
After our digging we hiked over to an apple tree in the horse pasture.  The horses weren't in the pasture but they were next door.  We used the big apple picker to get each child an apple for snack.  Some chose to eat the apple, some to take it home and some lost interest.  But they did get to learn about apples from our book choice at snack time.
Before we started hiking the kids wanted to take some time at the tireswing.  There were exclamantions for "higher, higher" and some kids just wanted to dig in the rocks. 
There were a few minutes left to hike through the woods back for lunch. 

Teacher Jen and I are so happy with how well the children are adjusting to school.  Many are beginning to get each other's names and to share their play.  Expect your child to be tired upon pick up.  I heard a few voices today that "my legs are tired".  We will extend the hiking as the children get stronger.  By the end of last year we could hike quite a ways without any complaints.  But we will break the kids in slowly.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Kids looking at a fish.

What an incredible first day we had!  The kids practiced walking in a line like ducks and sitting in a circle while we waited for everyone to arrive and made sure that all of the papers were turned in.  We will get quicker starts once all of the paper work is in!

We began our circle time singing the TOP song.  The kids from last year helped the new kids by doing the motions and singing along.  I'm sure they will all know the words before long!

Then we walked to one of our favorite playing spots with a few stops along the way to see the bird nest and big fallen tree again.  We practiced walking in a teacher sandwich along the way.  A teacher sandwich is one teacher in the front and one in the back-the children are the sandwich makings in the middle!  Everyone did very well following the safety rules of TOP!

At our special place we first stopped for a much needed snack and funny story called "Friends".
We talked about all of the new friends they were going to make at TOP.  We had the kids look around at their new classmates and say hi to them! 
After snack and story, the kids climbed the big tree, crawled under it, played horse on the branches and just explored.  Some kids walked through the shallow stream looking for fish and bugs. Theo was able to catch a small fish and shared that experience with many of his classmates.

We were so impressed with the children's abilities to connect with new and old classmates.  Many children were playing imaginative play together.  The kids in the stream were sharing their experiences.  For those children having a harder time working into the group, we will be assigning partners next week so they can get to know one child at a time which helpss to build a friendship.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

The Outdoor Preschool begins a New Year, 2011/2012

Teacher Jen and Teacher Ann are so excited to begin a new year of outdoor explorations with our new and returning students. 

Dates to be aware of:
We will be meeting for The Outdoor Preschool orientation on September 13th from 10-11am at Farrel-McWhirter Park. We’ll meet near the flagpole by the small white building.  (the Ops Building)  Please be prompt as there is a lot we want to share with you in a short hour.
First day of school: September 20th. 10am-1230pm.


1.      Please send a healthy lunch and a separate small snack with your child daily.
2.      Please take your child to the potty before school begins
3.      Dress your child for the chilly and rainy weather and in layers in case the sun comes out!

Please note that we require the students to dress appropriately for The Outdoor Preschool. 
Your child must have waterproof pants, a waterproof jacket, rain boots, mittens or gloves and a hat.  You do not need to send all of these garments to school every day-but please dress your child for the outdoors.  You can find waterproof clothing on line at Oaki Wear for Kids and REI. Our favorite boots are the bogg boots.  They are worth the cost as they keep the feet warm and dry.  (both Jen and I wear them )

Here are some links to appropriate clothing:

This blog will be the main communication between the teachers and you, the parents-other than when there is something we need to discuss about your child.  Please take a look here, each week at what we have done at TOP.  It is a good way to help your child to be able to talk with you about what we did at school.  Plus it is fun to see all of the cute photos!

We look forward to meeting with you on September 13th.  Please bring your filled out medical forms and the "TOP-Tell us about your child" form on orientation day so we can get to know your child before school begins!

See you soon!
Ann and Jen
425-503-6953 for questions