Welcome to Little Hive!
Mrs. Sewell/Mrs. McKnatt
In the Little Hive classroom we are always busy as bees working and playing in a variety of centers. To the average person it may just look like we are playing all day long, but in reality there is a lot of hard work and skills that are developed throughout our play. A plethora of research supports the importance of play based learning in the development of the brain. Hirsh-Pasek et al. conducted a research field study in 2015 in which they identified four ingredients that lead to successful learning. They concluded that the best learning occurs when children are mentally active, engaged in learning and not distracted, socially interactive with their peers or adults, and are making meaningful connections to their own lives. If you think about it, PLAY contains all four of these constructs that help promote successful learning, which is perhaps why play is such an important tool when learning!
The vast majority of what you see in our classroom on a daily basis falls under the category of guided play experiences, guided play continues to let your daughter engage in the joyful aspects of child-directed free play, but adds additional light guidance, direction, and scaffolding from a teacher to ensure progress towards a learning goal. Guided play provides a discovery learning approach that increases student’s knowledge base through a variety of learning opportunities, coupled with meaningful and engaging feedback from teachers. Weisberg et al. (2014) found that guided play is especially important because it helps develop proactive control, an area of the brain’s prefrontal cortex that determines what happens next. In animal studies, researchers have even found that play in the early years leads the brain to be more adaptable in later life especially with social skills and executive functioning skills (Pellis, Pellis, and Himmler 2014). Guided play also helps to develop language and mathematics and spatial skills which are important pre-academic skills as your daughter prepares for reading and higher level math skills. It truly is amazing how important play is!
As you see pictures of your daughter playing around the room, you may think that they are simply engaging in play but in actuality she is growing her brain! A girl that plays with others in the dramatic play center or in the block center is actually working on a variety of social skills such as sharing, turn taking, and working cooperatively. She is also developing key language skills, such a learning to engage in conversational speaking, learning to listen to her peers and formulate an appropriate response, as well as developing her vocabulary. She is also developing key executive functions such as paying attention to the play schema, planning responses, and working on her proactive control in her prefrontal cortex!
You may also see your daughter playing with playdough, pom poms and tweezers, and stringing beads. While your daughter is enjoying these fun play activities she is also busy developing tiny muscles in her hands and fingers and fine motor skills that will help her when she learns to write her name. Her hand-eye coordination is growing and improving while enjoying these activities and important skill that will help you daughter as she begins reading and decoding words.
Girls in the classroom are always engaged in a variety of art activities, coloring, drawing and painting. While exploring these guided play experiences, girls are working on developing important pre-writing skills such as learning to make straight and curved lines. They are also working on fine motor skills such as the correct way to hold a paint brush, marker, and crayon which translates to holding a pencil as your daughter learns to write.
Play is an important part of childhood and as your daughter plays throughout the day in the Little Hive classroom she is working on developing critical academic and social skills she will continue to use throughout her entire life!
What a busy few weeks we have had in Little Hive! As we begin our study of colors, the girls have been investigating all things Red. We have loved learning the “Red Song” and creating with the color red over the past two weeks. We have made red playdough and the girls have LOVED playing with this at the playdough center. The girls have also worked on developing fine motor skills through painting and collaging. Painting is a precursor for important writing skills and we will continue to work on developing these skills throughout the remainder of the school year!
The girls have also worked on stretching their ability to work together and develop team work skills through our red scavenger hunt throughout the classroom. The girls each had to practice taking turns, waiting patiently for their turn, and making sure that everyone had a turn during our hunt. The girls did a great job practicing these important skills, talk about some hard work!
We also donned our chef’s hat this week as we made red jello to enjoy as a special snack. We each had a turn adding to the mix and stirring. The girls practiced using three of their five senses as they smelled the jello as we were making it, saw how it changed from a liquid to squishy jello, and tasted it after. It was a BIG hit, one of the girls exclaimed “This is DELICIOUS!”
In addition to our study of the color red, we have also begun to investigate the world around us. As we look about the world around us, we start by looking at ourselves and discovering things about ourselves that we can do, our preferences, and our similarities and differences. We have been doing lots of discussion about our body parts the past few weeks and the girls have loved giggling and laughing while singing “Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes”! We have also discussed the things that our bodies can do. The girls have all realized that they can do a lot of things even though they are small. We have talked about how they can run, jump, dance, walk, and throw! One of our favorite activities has been throwing the bean bag into a basket during circle time. The girls love this game and they are secretly practicing and developing their hand-eye coordination skills!
We have also been talking all about our similarities and differences. One of our big focusing points the girls loved looking at was how we all had different colored hair! We had the best time sorting our pictures by hair color to see which hair color won in our classroom (it was the dark hair!). The girls have been working so hard over these few beginning weeks of school, and they have been adjusting so well to our classroom routines! I am so proud of them and cannot wait to see what is in store for the rest of the school year.
It is hard to believe that we have already been in school for a whole week and a half! The girls have been settling into the routine of school, and have been learning lots of important skills that we will use throughout the remainder of the school year. We have been practicing using our rope to walk in the hallways, learning our playground rules, using nice hands and words with our friends, and using our first time listening ears. The girls have been doing great and are quickly learning what Little Hive is all about! Check out some pictures below from our first week in Little Hive. We are excited for a great year :)
Welcome to Little Hive! We are excited for a wonderful school year. Check back here for updates on what is going on in our classroom!