Bark Boat

Making Bark Boats

Posted by: Rhonda October 15, 2019

Inspired by the plentiful fir cones lying about, Winnie-the-Pooh invented the game “Pooh Sticks” (so named because he found that sticks were easier to identify than pinecones). Even kids unfamiliar with A.A. Milne’s’ classic story enjoy playing Pooh-sticks at every bridge they cross; seeing whose stick will emerge first on the other side. Try taking this activity a step further by challenging your kids to craft little boats out of natural materials.

A bark boat is one of the simplest boats to make, and perfect for autumn when there are lots of beautiful leaves to use for sails:

What you’ll need: sticks, pieces of loose tree bark, leaves

  1. Choose a sea-worthy piece of bark. (Will it float?)
  2. Bore or dig a small hole in the center.
  3. Shove a twig into the hole for a mast, making sure that it fits snuggly.
  4. Thread a big leaf onto the stick for a sail.
  5. Find some water and launch your fleet!

Project Approach

The Project Approach for All Learners

Posted by: Rhonda October 8, 2019

A preschool class with a wide range of abilities can be very challenging. How can you successfully reach and teach learners of all backgrounds and abilities?

A popular and proven teaching method, the Project Approach provides a framework that can work well in an inclusive classroom. Dual language learners or children with disabilities can work side by side with other learners, collaboratively within the context of the student-selected study.

Rather than providing a cookie-cutter solution, project-based learning can be individualized to meet the needs of each of your students. Learning is an exciting adventure, leading to authentic knowledge and engaging every child. Read more.

Blocks for SOC

What Makes a Good Toy?

Posted by: Rhonda October 1, 2019

A plastic fried egg can never be anything but a fried egg. A simple block of wood, however, can represent a phone, a camera, a piece of cake, or even a baby.

Play materials that are open-ended and ambiguous permit a child’s creativity and experience to shape the play. Where details are built into a toy, a child’s own ideas cannot find full expression.

The play equipment you choose needs to support your developmental goals for children. What makes a good plaything? The Stuff of Childhood offers time-tested guidelines to help you select appropriate equipment for young children. Download or request your free copy here.

Classroom Design

Organizing, Editing, and Inspiring

Posted by: Rhonda September 24, 2019

The process of editing distinctly shapes the quality of a piece of writing. Red strikethroughs, rearrangements, and finicky comments in the margin hone the text down to what is essential and inspirational. The fluff must go.

Try the red pen out on your classroom. What elements are necessary to support healthy development? What elements distract or over stimulate? Experiment with “editing”, offering fewer materials in a thoughtful manner promotes purposeful play.

Keeping a classroom orderly and organized is important for maintaining children’s interest and providing just the right amount of stimulation. With what we know about brain development, this is perhaps most important in infant and toddler settings. Read more.

texture rubbing

Texture Rubbings

Posted by: Rhonda September 17, 2019

The world is full of different colors and sounds which can grab the attention of a child. Less noticeable perhaps is the great array of textures that can be found out in nature. One of the best ways to explore and appreciate the varied surfaces and patterns of the environment is to do crayon rubbings.

Bark rubbings are the easiest to start with. Give the children a piece of copy paper and some dark colored crayons (with the paper cover removed). Tape the paper onto the trunk of a tree and rub the side of the crayon firmly over the paper. Try different kinds of trees and notice the different patterns and textures that appear. But don’t stop there! Leaves, grasses, ferns, or rocks will make intriguing rubbings.

When you’re done you’ll have a big sheaf of patterned papers for your next art collage! But more importantly, your children will have a growing interest and awareness of the richness of their environment.