February 13, 2008

INVESTIGATORS' NEWSLETTER - Feburary, 2008

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(Illustrated by Emma).

Hello everyone! We hope things are going well for all of you. Life in the Investigators' classroom has been very busy and fun these days. It's amazing to watch the children grow and how they change in their play. They are constantly making us smile and laugh; they are a fun group!

Circle time has changed slightly. The books that we read are getting a little longer with a plot or containing factual information because the attention span and interest of the children is expanding. While we are reading, we use pre-literacy skills, such as building on prior knowledge, recalling information, and understanding the story's sequence, in order to make predictions about the story. Singing finger plays is another thing that we do at circle time, mainly corresponding with the current unit. The children love singing and dancing to them and definitely have some favorites!

The Investigators have really been into playing games, such as Go Fish, Animal Dominoes, Candyland, dice and counting/sorting games, and matching/memory games. These serve many wonderful purposes, such as enhancing the children's language, since they have to talk with each other about the rules of the game. The games allow for many social interactions with their peers and the adults. They also enhance their math skills, such as counting, one-to-one correspondence, addition/subtraction, etc. Many of the children play a game at least once a day and they really enjoy them. Let us know if you would like any of the names of these games, and we will be glad to pass along that information!

The children's block building has also expanded. Their structures are more elaborate; certain blocks represent an idea, ramps and inclines are added, and the whole structure itself represents a huge plan that they children have before they build. It has been great to see how proud they are after they have accomplished something they have set their minds to.

The dramatic play area is another huge interest. Children are always working out social/emotional issues. It's great to use the animals as a way to set up scenarios to work out the issues they may be going through. There is always a plot with their play with the small animals. Their language really continues to grow and dramatic play is a great support of it.

The children also loved our pet shop, Pettie Pet Pet! They had the greatest time playing in this area. We have decided to change the housekeeping area every few weeks depending on what the children are interested in since the pet shop and animal hospital was so successful. This will also allow them to expand their play. Next week, we will turn it into a fire station. They have been playing this scenario out a lot so we thought they would en joy this.

We are so pleased with how well the unit on pets went The children really got into this and especially loved choosing their own pet and taking care of it. We examined different types of pet food, painted with dog bones, made houses for our pets, discussed different pets, etc. It was a great time!

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A Few Reminders

Please continue to bring boots and other winter gear daily (snowpants, hats, mittens, scarves, boots) because we never know when we will go out to play in the snow.
Please go through your child's basket to make sure s/he has 3 complete sets of weather appropriate clothing (including socks!) that fit them.
Please make sure to take blankets home at the end of the week to wash and bring them back on Monday. The children really like to use their own blankets at nap time.
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And now...for our next unit...It is All About Us, The Investigators!!!

We have decided to do a unit on families and all about us. Since some pets are such a huge part of the children's families, we thought this would be a great way to start talking about everyone's individual families. We talk a lot about our families at the lunch table; who is in our families, what our parents do, etc. Since this has become a hot topic of conversation, we decided to expand on this and do a Family Unit or "All About Us, The Investigators". We have art, language, science, and math activities planned, but we are also going to include all of you on this, too!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008
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