GTMS Life > Blog December 1, 2021

Ms. Michelle: November 2021

Toddlers’ Growing Independence Self-Care and Caring for Others The materials in the classroom are selected or created for a specific purpose. The purpose behind each work will lead each child toward a more independent version of themselves. Some of these materials, like the hand washing work have a more obvious purpose: washing hands! This work […]

Toddlers’ Growing Independence

Self-Care and Caring for Others

The materials in the classroom are selected or created for a specific purpose. The purpose behind each work will lead each child toward a more independent version of themselves. Some of these materials, like the hand washing work have a more obvious purpose: washing hands! This work allows the children to explore with water, get their hands all soapy, and then scrub their fingernails with the brush. They can sit for as long as they need with this work, and then clean up when they are finished. This cleanup includes pouring our the dirty water and drying the contents of the tray along with he table. This work can be used for the sensorial experience of manipulating the soap, and then will be used for the practical purpose of cleaning one’s hands when dirty, perhaps after painting.

Other materials in the classroom that require a palmar grasp like carrying a tray, squeezing a sponge or playdoh, transferring objects, building with Lego blocks, holding a paint brush, etc., aid in strengthening the muscles necessary for dresing and undressing as seen when taking off and putting on shoes. Once a child is successful in helping themselves, they often enjoy using their strengths to help others. This altruistic gesture gives the child a sense of confidence and feeling of significance.

Caring for the Environment

The more opportunities a child has to be an active participant in their day, the more significant, confident, and in control they feel. They may not complete a task 100% by themselves, especially the way an adult would, but they are contributing to their community. Creating daily opportunities for a child to contribute is a path toward success. As Maria Montessori says, “Repetition is the secret to perfection.”

At home, consider:

  • A child sized dust pan and brush to help with sweeping.
  • A child sized broom.
  • A small bucket with a scrub brush for scrubbing
  • Towels that are accessible to your child. They can help to dry the floor or table.

Caring for Plants

A goal for our environment was to bring more nature into our classroom and we have succeeded in doing so thanks to all of your donations. The best part is that the children are interested in caring for them. We are so thankful for the children’s contributions to the maintenance of our plants. On the surface you see the plants being watered or the leaves are being cleaned, but there are other skills that are being strengthened and refined through this work:

  • Carrying smaller plants from the shelves to a table (balance and coordination, as well as fine motor control)
  • Filling up a pitcher with water and carefully carrying it through the classroom (balance, coordination, and body control)
  • Squeezing the nozzle of a spray bottle to spray the leaves of the trees (eye-hand coordination and fine motor control)
  • Retracing steps with a towel to wipe up any spills (memory, order of operations, fine motor control, and independence)
  • Gross motor control and coordination is a huge element, as children are continuously walking, standing, and squatting. 
  • This also strenthens a child’s confidence, maturity, and self-calming.

The Work Cycle

The children’s work cycles have been full. They have been interested in and focused on the works that they have been selecting, and are using them repeatedly.

Our classroom rug has been replaced by tape. The fibers in the rug were sticking our clothes and began to feel uncomfortable on our legs. After talking to Teacher Emily, Mr. Ben, and the children I removed the rug and placed green tape in the shape of a rectangle down on the floor. The tape has been a nice visual for where to sit at for Circle, and some of the children have been practicing walking on the line while holding a shaky egg on a spoon. I am currently searching for a replacement rug.

Snowy Day Dinosaurs

This year at Greene Towne we are having a door decorating contest. When Teacher Emily, Mr. Ben, and I found out we began to think about what our door might look like, how it would represent the children in our classroom, and how it we could turn this into a child led activity. As we were thinking about a theme we noticed that most of the children were wearing dinosaurs on their clothing and masks. We envisioned the dinosaurs dancing around in a snowy scene, which made us think of The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats. The next day teacher Emily brought in a large sheet of muslin. She set up bowls of paint and sponges for the children. They sponged on the colors, and then scrubbed the paint off the table afterward. Then they painted their dinosaur and chose a hat for their dino to wear.

Circle Time Adventures

The children have been so excited for Circle. Some of them have been asking for Circle during the work cycle, and often when we give the two-minute warning for Circle the children are already sitting and waiting before the lights go out. We have been singing songs to get their bodies moving in different ways, like squatting or bicycle motions with their legs. They enjoy using shaky eggs and the guitar as well. We introduced a new song this week called the walking song. As I play the guitar, I sing as two children walk slowly away from Circle. They stop and then I sing and play fast for them to run back. They really enjoyed it.

Songs

The Scarecrow Song

When all the world is sleeping (pretend to sleep)

And the cows have gone to bed,

UP jumps the scarecrow and this is what he said: (pop up)

‘I’m a wibbly wobbly scarecrow with a flippy floppy hat!

I shake my hands like this (shake hands)

I stomp my feet like that!’ (stomp feet)

The Walking Song

(Name) and (Name) are walking walking, they are walking far far away

(Name) and (Name) are walking walking, they are walking far far away

(pause and wait)

Here they come back again, back again, back again, back again

Here they come back again, back the same day!

Song Books

  • Every Little Thing by Cedella Marley
  • Jenny Jenkins by John Feierabend
  • Miss Mary Mack by Mary Ann Hoberman

Books

  • Not A Box by Antoinette Portis
    • This book asks a rabbit a series of questions. When I read this book I start each question with, “Excuse me, Mr. Rabbit.” The children find it to be really silly.
  • It Looked Like Spilt Milk by Charles Green Shaw

Phone Call Check-ins

I will be scheduling 15-minute phone calls for the week of December 13th. If you are interested in speaking over the phone, please sign up here: Parent Signup. Also, please remember that if you ever want to speak over the phone, just send me an email and we can schedule a phone call.

Upcoming Dates

  • Phone Call Check-in: December 13th-December 17th
  • Winter Break: December 23rd – January 3rd
    • We will be sending clothes, masks, and indoor shoes home with your child. Please let me know if you are leaving earlier than the 23rd for vacation so we can send everything home.

Thank you so much!!

Michelle

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