Saturday, February 27, 2010

World of Color

This week students will continue to learn about colors. This unit explores a lot more than just naming and labeling colors. Students will learn about how to interact with colors, and explore topics such as color mixing, stains, fading, camouflage, and color patterns. Students will learn that color can be found in nature, that color can carry information, that paints and dyes are used to color things, that colors can be mixed to make new colors, and that sun and washing can make colors fade.

One of my favorite books on color mixing is "Mouse Paint" by Ellen Stoll Walsh. In this book 3 mice dip themselves into three different paint jars: red, blue and yellow. They quickly learn that when they mix the colors they create whole new combinations. Children learn that if you mix red and blue together you will get purple, if you mix yellow and blue you make green, and if you mix red and yellow you will make orange.

Take a trip to the Burlington Public Library and take out a copy of "Mouse Paint." When you finish reading this story with your child be creative and play with colors. This can be done several ways. If you are up for mess you can certainly do it with paints. You can also recreate this activity by using water and food coloring. Put water in 3 cups and add a few drop of food coloring to the water. In cup one add red food coloring, in cup two add yellow food coloring and in cup three add blue food coloring. Using an eye dropper have the children mix the colors between cups and let them explore what happens when you mix the colors together. You might want to guide them at first and refer back to the book to see if they can recreate some of the colors. If left on their own they will most likely mix all of the colors together at once and make black.

Another great book on color mixing is "Little Blue and Little Yellow" by Leo Leoni.

This book also focuses on color mixing and can also be used to teach colors and what happens when you mix colors together.

It's All in the Name

Since we have started our program blog I have spent a lot of time looking at other early childhood blogs to see how they share information with families and other early childhood educators. This past weekend I saw several posts about beginning letter
identification by using the letters in a child's name. One of the things we know is that in order for children to make connections and retain information it has to
be meaningful. What better way to begin letter recognition then through beginning to identify the letters in their names? This is done several ways in the integrated preschool that are simple and can be recreated in any educational setting.

When the students arrive every day, they have to find their name tag on the door and check themselves in school by putting their name tag in a designated space. By engaging in this activity, children not only recognize their names, but also begin to practice one to one correspondence skills at circle time by placing their name tag on a number line. I'm always amazed at how quickly the children not only learn their name, but also the names of their peers. In one of the classrooms, when children move from center to center, they have to find their name and sign in. This idea not only works on name and letter recognition,
but it also works on development of fine motor skills. Notice how the names are posted on the wall. This works on several aspects of development, such as the development of shoulder and hand strength, refinement of small muscle control, as well as proper wrist extension Teachers place the children's names on their spots on the rug. Some name tags have the child's entire name, others have the first letter of the child's name. Of course, children are always provided with name tags to put their name on their work. Some students can do this independently, other need models and some students require their name to be dotted out for them to trace.

All of these activities are embedded into the daily routine of the program. They facilitate not only name recognition, but also a connection to alphabet awareness in a developmentally appropriate, meaningful and contextual way.