The Act of Hand Washing as a Learning Opportunity

The most effective way to avoid illness and infection is frequent, thorough hand washing. But, let’s face it, proper hand washing is not the forté of most preschoolers, nor is it their favorite thing to do. The abstract idea that germs they can’t see might affect them or others adversely is a tough one to communicate. So what can we do?

The first step is to teach your child how to wash her hands properly. Use warm water, soap, and scrub all areas of the hands, remembering the nails and between the fingers. How long should you wash? Try a simple song to help your child time herself. Things to Share and Remember highlights a great one:

song card 2_thumb[2]

 

Remind your child to wash her hands before eating or preparing food, after going to the bathroom, after outside play, or after coughing or blowing her nose.

Preschool-aged children love to create and admire their art, so work with your child to create your own reminders for your bathroom mirror. Small signs attached to the mirror that remind the family to wash their hands and the proper steps in order to do so. Your child can draw a picture and/or copy the words “wash hands.” Consider laminating the sign(s) so it holds up to bathroom moisture.

Allowing your preschooler to “own” their hand washing skills and feel confident will help them remember to wash their hands, and this activity helps teach word recognition, labeling, and proper hygiene.

Further reading:

A Lesson in Hand Washing

Our Roll-call Tree: Pre-reading and Name Recognition

RollCallTree

Our Roll-Call Tree: Pre-reading and Name Recognition–Square Roots Preschool

Every morning at the beginning of circle time, we sing our welcome song and do roll call, which is also in the form of a song. We sing for each child present while that child plays the tambourine.

Ms. Taryn holds up a name and asks the class who’s name it is. With a little bit of practice, not only can the students recognize their own name, but also the names of other children in the class. And we know they’re not cheating by recognizing only the first letter because multiple students’ names begin with the same letter. They’re reading!

Once the students determine whose name is on the card, they get to carry their own name to our roll-call tree. All the names on the tree represent the students present in class that day.

This activity helps with letter recognition, name recognition, and builds reading skills. Plus, each of the students feel confident and welcomed by being the superstar with all of the attention for a brief period as everyone else sings to them and they hang their name on the tree.

And we all know who’s present!

Related reading:

Taking Charge of Chores Helps Develop Reading Skills

Learning Measurement by Splishing and Splashing

LearningMeasurement

Learning Measurement by Splishing and Splashing–Square Roots Preschool

 

When preschoolers are given the opportunity to experiment with part/whole relationships, they begin to understand measurement and basic fractions, as well as building toward addition and subtraction skills. A fun activity to help them learn the concept of measurement can be done in the bathtub or water table or–during hot summer months–in a pool.

Give your child a set of plastic measuring cups (these sets can often be found at the dollar store) and a small bucket. Let him experiment filling and pouring the water. This act is often a favorite of young children and can keep them occupied for long stretches of time. Ask questions such as “How many small cups does it take to fill up the big cup?” and “How many big cups does it take to fill up the bucket?” Your child will begin to understand that a whole has many parts.

Ask your child to put the cups in order from largest to smallest, or vice versa. Ask “Will it take more of the small cups to fill the bucket or more of the large cups?” and “Can you predict how many big cups will go into the bucket?” Then count together and see.

This activity helps children learn arithmetic, prediction, counting, estimating, and part/whole relationships. You and your child can continue to reinforce this concept in other ways, such as with apple or pizza slices.

When children are having fun, they learn concepts faster and better…they don’t even know they’re learning!

Related reading:

Teaching the Concept of Volume

Caution: Young children should never be left unattended around water.

Measuring cup image source: eco-friendlycookware.com

Our Small Class Size Might be Just the Thing for Your Child

The teacher/student ratio for Arizona is 1:13, but Square Roots Preschool has a ratio of 1:4. We believe that smaller class sizes benefit preschool aged children for a variety of reasons.

• Our teacher truly gets to know each student well–their strengths and weaknesses–and has the time to spend one-on-one time with each student, helping to foster strengths and personal interests and provide help in areas that may need improvement.

• The students get to know one another well and develop deeper, more supportive relationships than they would in a larger class.

• Our projects and lessons are more detailed and in-depth, as we have time to help each student through the process.

• We get to know our families well and have time for more communication regarding individual students.

• Each student gets more “turns,” or opportunities to speak, practice, share, and actively participate rather than sit back and watch others. We believe in hands-on learning.

• Students have greater involvement, and no one is in the background. This is especially beneficial for shy children.

• Each year, we can tailor the classroom activities to the individual students in the classroom. If everyone loves trains, we’ll incorporate that into the class, for example. Everyone becomes more engaged.

• Students new to preschool feel comfortable and secure coming in and older children setting off for kindergarten feel confident and well-prepared.

Could your child benefit from a small, home-based preschool? Please check us out, and please spread the word. We’re currently enrolling for fall 2014 and would love to meet you and your child!

SmallClass

Come Visit Us! See what we’re all about!

Establishing strong roots is important for the future. Square Roots Preschool exists to provide a safe, developmentally-appropriate environment for preschool. Our focus is to provide a secure and stimulating early education experience that promotes each child’s social, emotional, physical and cognitive development. Our goal is to help grow a desire in children to be life-long learners.

Why Square Roots?

• secure, comforting transition between home and school for a successful first-time preschool experience

• small class size of four children (state ratio is 1:13+) enables the teacher to have a powerful impact on each child’s development

• degreed preschool teacher and support staff

• on-staff consultant: early childhood development professor with over 40 years of experience

• healthy snacks, organic when possible

• nontoxic, natural environment free of harmful chemicals

• safe, stimulating outdoor play area

• opportunities for family involvement

• ongoing, thorough communication with parents

Square Roots is a home-based Gilbert-area preschool uniquely designed to be your child’s secure transition into kindergarten. We partner with parents to establish roots for a successful path of life-long learning. Our goal is to have a classroom that encourages imagination and builds confidence. Our creative curriculum is play-based.

We educate our students about their place and responsibility in their community. We teach wellness and maintain an environmentally-friendly, chemical-free classroom.

At Square Roots, your child will be in an environment that emphasized interpersonal skills, environmental awareness, and a sense of community. Classroom materials serve needs from helping children to develop their sensory and motor skills to problem solving and teamwork, all of which help build pre-kindergarten skills.

We currently offer two scheduling options for our two-day, class-only program and are taking names for an interest list for an afternoon class. We work with our families on an individual basis, so please let us know your needs.

We would love to give you a classroom tour! Please call 480.447.ROOT or email taryn.squarerootspreschool@gmail.com for more information.

Taking Charge of Chores Helps Develop Reading Skills

When preschool-aged children see that everyone in the family contributes to chores and has a responsibility, they feel part of the family and a sense of pride by being part of the team. You can take this a step further by allowing your child to be “in charge” of the chore chart, developing pre-reading skills at the same time.

Help your preschooler make a simple chart of responsibilities, such as cleaning up toys, setting the table, feeding the family pet, or doing the dishes. Cut out a photo of each family member and label them with their names. Let your preschooler place the picture next to the chore that each person will do. Each chore can have a picture and a name, as well. Your child will feel pride in helping to designate who will do what and will develop her reading skills, name recognition, and classification.

You can then ask your child to hold one of the family member’s photos and talk about all of the jobs that that family member does. (This is a good one to help with appreciation of others, too!) Then ask your child to read the names of the family members without their photos.

Soon your preschooler will know how to read all of the family members’ names as well as some basic household chores!

Take Advantage of Enrollment Specials

Are you or someone you know looking for a Gilbert-area preschool for the fall?

We are now enrolling for the 2014-2015 school year and forming an interest list for afternoon classes. We will offer a Monday/Wednesday and Tuesday/Thursday program with discounts for students enrolled in multiple programs.

Please contact us to book a tour or learn more!

 

Learning with Laundry

Ordinary household chores can easily become fun learning opportunities for preschoolers. Laundry sorting is a great chore to share with your preschooler. Classifying and sorting pieces of clothing by their similarities helps young children with math skills, preparing them for learning addition and subtraction.

Your preschooler can pull all of the socks, for example, out of the laundry basket and match them. He can sort shirts from pants or white items from dark colors. He can also sort clothes that belong to each family member and deliver them to the appropriate rooms. Asking your child about how many socks and how many pairs of socks there are. Knowing the difference between one sock and a pair of socks is an important concept. T-shirts or other items can be counted, supporting the concept of one-to-one correlation.

Learning with laundry supports your preschooler in learning arithmetic, classification, size, sorting, and matching. Not to mention, you might have a lot more fun folding the clothes with a little helper!

Shape Pattern Activity

At the most basic level, Math is the study of patterns. By recognizing, copying, and making their own patterns, children learn that objects can be arranged in particular ways and have a relationship to one another, an essential pre-math skill.

At Square Roots Preschool, we practice patterns throughout the day. For example, when discussing the date and looking at the calendar, our velcro date cards fall into a pattern of colors: blue, green orange, purple…blue, green, orange, purple…blue, green, orange…what comes next? Our students say, “purple!” As we count up together to today’s date, the students learn the pattern and can predict what color will come next.

Studying patterns at home can be done with a variety of objects. Colored paper is quite versatile. First, cut out multiple squares of different colors. Then place them in a pattern for your child. The younger or less experienced your child is, the simpler the pattern should be. Try two alternating colored squares to start.

Once your child grasps the basic concept of the pattern, make things a little more challenging by varying the number of squares of a particular color: red, red, green, red, red, green…As your child masters more complicated patterns, you can then introduce a variety of shapes. Your child will then need to discern that the next item isn’t just purple; it’s a purple circle. You can also ask your child to create his own pattern for you to recognize.

Starting slowly and creating more challenging patterns over time helps build your child’s confidence and develops his sequencing and problem solving skills.

A Commute of Counting

 

A Commute of Counting. Child image source: moms.popsugar.com

A Commute of Counting. Child image source: moms.popsugar.com

Young children learn through every experience they have, and simple games during times that are typically a bit boring for them is a great way to keep them entertained and teach them valuable skills at the same time.

Counting during your commute is a great game that preschool-aged children can enjoy. This activity helps identification of objects, colors, and letters while teaching counting and one-to-one correspondence at the same time. Children learn these concepts through repetition.

You can start with something simple, such as “Let’s count all of the red cars we see. There’s one! That’s one. And there’s another! That’s two! Do you see any red cars?” Depending on where your travels take you, you can count all sorts of things. Signs, bridges, trees…

As your child begins to learn her letters, try counting a letter. “Let’s see how many ‘D’s we can find!” Look on signs and license plates, and see how many you can count. This activity will help with letter recognition and counting.

You can even advance to basic, common sight words, if you are traveling in an area with lots of signs. See how many “the”s you can find. Or how many “to”s you see. You can get creative with your environment and your child’s skill level and count just about anything!

Presenting your child with a variety of exercises that teach the same concept through repetition is a great way to build your preschooler’s skills and confidence.