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24.02.2016
A Happy Daycare -  August Newsletters                                                         August 4-8, 2014Summer went by so fast and this is the last week of our Summer Program.  This week’s theme was all about pretend play. I am a trained primary school teacher and a mother of two pre-schoolers, so I feel in a good position to explain some of the more opaque language used and to challenge some of the myths surrounding reading.
Different methods of teaching reading go in and out of fashion.The current trend is for synthetic phonics, whereby children learn the alphabet sounds (phonemes), and most commonly used graphemes (blends or groups of letters, such as tr-, oo, -ight and so on).
However, a lot of children will still be learning the old-fashioned way of whole-word recognition and analytic phonics (understanding the basic letter-sounds). My eldest has been very keen on stories and books from an early age, and has largely learned to read by himself. I’m not worried about him getting confused when he goes to school – although it’s not the way he’s learned so far, most synthetic phonics programmes are fun as well as being informative, so I don’t think he’ll be bored.
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You may think that it is simply fun play and it is but research has shown that there are so many benefits to  this type of learning-oriented imaginative play. With so many complicated sounding terms used by educationalists and in the media when discussing reading  - synthetic phonics, analytic phonics, graphemes and phonemes - it's no wonder many parents worry about doing the right thing.
These are generally learned before tackling any text, with schemes such as Jolly Phonics or Oxford Reading Tree commonly used in reception classes.
We have always played games like eye-spy and both love making up silly stories, songs and rhymes as well as reading stories together. If they are ready and want to read, there is no reason why you shouldn’t help them at home – you don’t need to have expert knowledge, just enthusiasm. Children that engage in pretend play activities show increased gains in academic readiness, social skills, and flexible, creative thinking that makes it easier to apply the knowledge they gain daily. Your local library is a great resource, with lots of early reading books as well as stories to share together. The children’s imagination took to the high seas this week and they pretended to be a Captain of their own pirate ship. With all the talk of cuts to library services, there’s no better time to show how much we need them! We had a Captain Hook costume and a Captain Blackbeard costume with lots of extra pirate hats, eye patches, swords, and pirate props to bring their imagination to life. They really got into it and soon they were children no more but a band of pirates sailing on the sea in search of Treasure Island. They turned their clubhouse into a giant pirate ship and shouted out, “Land Ahoy”, when ever they spotted land through the spy glass.
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Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so. Everyone picked out a colorful foam pool noodle to use as a sword and a pirate partner to practice their sword moves with. During Science time the children pretended to be Science investigators digging up shells and fossils. They put on special safari hats and grabbed their favorite scientific tools, a bunch of magnifiers to search through the sand for a seashell treasure.  They played a matching game with their finds to see if they could We used the seashells to count and make a pattern with during Math time too. The children have watched the corn in the garden grow from a little seed into a big corn stalk with little ears of  corn. Today we gave them a small corn stalk  and a little tiny ear of corn to open to investigate how the corn grows inside the husk. On Math Monday the day will be spent focusing on counting, shapes, number recognition, and the exploration of how math is a fun part of our daily lives.  On Tuesday we will be leaping into letters and words. Your child will learn how to recognize a new sight word each week and how to spell and write that word too! Your homework at home is to help your child spell and try to find the word of the week, Go, and the color orange in their surroundings.  On Wednesday we will learn through educational Music, Movement, and Art or as the children say, “We will sing songs, move, and paint!” Research shows that children learn better and memory is improved when you incorporate music and movement as part of the learning process and we have seen firsthand how effective it really is. This week we learned about Seahorses and how Mister Seahorse carries the baby seahorses in his pouch just like a Kangaroo. There are many different kinds of seahorses but the leafy seadragon was the children’s favorite.
The children learned that they live off of Australia and everyone gathered around the map to find the continent of Australia on our World Map.
The organic garden is growing abundantly and the children are enjoying eating the fresh veggies for lunch. The long green beans from our bean tepee have been a big favorite and  great for hands on Science.
Counting and Telling Time and the yellow Bus puzzle activity: shapes and learning how to squeeze glue. Seamore the Seahorse was our tour guide and he showed us all the animals that live under the sea from A -Z.
Seahorse video clips and learning about the unique Leafy Sea dragon.  Green bean and snap pea hands on investigation. The handout included this week explains the reason why we focus on shapes and colors in our program and how these basic concepts serve as building blocks to future success in math, science, and reading! It is the perfect story to go along with our sight word of the week: See, and a great way to practice recognizing colors and matching them to their corresponding words. The children made their own brown bear puppet and glued on the different animals they had colored.


Then it was time for a special Brown Bear Story time using our puppets to help read along with the story.
To help the children to recognize the new sight word they decorated glasses made out of the letters in the word see. We have been practicing simple addition with the children at Math but Morgan surprised us all this week when we were helping one of the children with their 2nd grade homework.
Leaping Letters and Phonics: Sight word see and how to spell and recognize the word orange. How to harvest Corn.                                                                                            It’s all about me!                                             August 25-29, 2014I can spell me.
M-E, M-E, me, me, me, me the children sing together in unison on Leaping into Letters and Words Tuesday.
The group is very excited to add a new word to their sight word list and they should be excited because they are forming the basic foundation for reading and writing. The younger group practices adding the word to their vocabulary and recognizing the first letter of the word, and it’s beginning phonics sound.
While the older group practices spelling the word, recognizing it on flash cards, reading it on the chalkboard, and writing it with pencils, markers, or their favorite, sidewalk chalk.  We have made a flashcard ring for each family so the children can practice reading their words at home too. During Math time the children are learning to count by 1’s and skip count by 2’s, and 10’s.  We are reading the fun math story of the Five little Monkeys jumping on the bed and using an accompanying monkey hand puppet. This teaches the children how to add or subtract numbers within 5, and to build their one-to one correspondence skills which are both part of the new common core Kindergarten standards.
On Art and Music in Motion Wednesday we incorporated this week’s sight word into our Art and Music time too as your child explored painting “Me” in a Picasso styled self-portrait. They also explored the different body parts that make up “Me” in the Heads, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes music and movement song.  Their self-portraits came out wonderful and are on display for all the parents to see. On Thursday we explored a little art history as the children discovered a bit about Picasso the famous artist and how much he loved drawing and painting as a child too! Math: Counting by 1’s with exercise to 100, bunny hop count by 2’s to 20 and counting by 10’s. Writing with markers and pencils, Sidewalk chalk writing activity, Name practice, Pat-a-cake letters, phonics songs and take home flash card ringsArt and Music in Motion: New bug dance and Heads, Shoulders, Knees, and toes song.
The crab walk dance and the wheels on the bus is also still a big favorite.  The Orange song march.



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