Early literacy, when combined with engaged learning, involves individual, small-group and a whole class focus. At Classy Kids, early literacy is a cornerstone of our work. However, we take it a step further and truly engage our young learners in ways that transcend looking at words and pictures in a literacy-rich environment. Our approach to early ENGAGED literacy is designed to build on our children’s prior knowledge, so that each can make brand new connections based on previously held understandings he or she has about the world (and his or her place within it). We select highly engaging books, where the opportunities for further engagement are limitless. Students, through our approach, become active participants in the development of their own literacy and in cultivation of understanding the whole new world of reading. It’s a delight to see this unfold within them each day!
“D” is for Dinosaur, and what better way to learn the shape of the letter than to use other materials to cut, tear and glue to make the letter of the week? By consistently utilizing and refining these fine motor skills we are not only exposing them to learning – we are cultivating skills.
But that’s not all! Games are an integral part of the engagement process. To that end, we played dinosaur matching games to teach the children names of different dinosaurs.
Integrating the arts into our curriculum is also one way we further engage our children. One of the most enjoyable (and perhaps messy) activities was the Dinosaur Tracks Painting Project created during art class. Students dipped dinosaurs’ feet into paint, and they let the dinosaurs then “walk” across the paper. It was such fun! Children also enjoyed creating what they thought dinosaur feet might look like by using a variety of materials. Our shape of the week was an oval – so we worked on using oval fingerprints to explore bends, sides, and the way the shape comes together. We love our time exploring how art can play a role in everyday learning.
During circle time, our classes engaged in dialogue about where dinosaurs might live if they were here on Earth presently. Most of the answers from the children involved dinosaurs living in the woods, which inspired us to create leaf rubbings to mimic the look of a fossil. Child-based and child-inspired learning opportunities abound in our classrooms! Our children also had the opportunity to go on a fossil dig, utilizing our sand sensory tables where baby dinosaurs and eggs were buried. We are sure you can relate when we say that there is nothing quite like the excited look of surprise and awe on the face of a young learner who has discovered something cool and fun!
Our K4 learners sported safari attire complete with binoculars, digging tools, flashlights, and magnifying glasses to search for oval (reminder: our shape of the week!) eggs. These dinosaur eggs were made from playdough made in class. We left these eggs to harden overnight – so the students were active participants in the process from start to finish. Each student had a bag of playdough to take home for a little lesson for parents. We love activities that bridge the home and school connection.
Thank you for catching a glimpse into our week!