Managing and teaching in a shelter child center

Archive for the ‘Elk center’ Category

Ice is nice!

Today we did the ice experiment. It was really fun. and some of the conversations were just funny. But then, with three year old children, it always is.

F0r people who have never done the ice project, its really easy and pretty fun as long as you don’t mind freezing dyed water and/or messes. *giggle* Its really only the following:

  • First prepare tables by putting down four towels and placing  trays on each.
  • Put blocks of ice into basins and put a basin on each tray.
  • Put colored water into jars and put eye droppers (pipettes) and jars next to each basin (on the tray).
  • Get a couple of “tunnels” started in the ice blocks, so there will be a place for the colored water to go . (If the children don’t choose to just squirt the water at each other)
  • Add four children, one for each tray  =)

The main goal (since one always has to be stated) is to observe what happens when colored water is added to ice.

Some of the comments were “does it hurt?” “Looks, It lighted up!” And it did look that way. “It looks like that thing at the bottom of the ocean. (coral reef.)

I have to say, “It lighted up!” was my favorite. When the block of Ice was pressed down against the basin, it did look like it was lighting. I had never seen that effect before. Totally cool!

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Water makes it better.

Water play is great for my very wild Porcupine class. But we can’t afford the water toys that all the slick magazines advertise. There is no way we could get a fancy draining water table either. But we are the preschool that can, and nothing stops the porcupines! We solved the issue fast.

First, we went to McDonald and asked them for some trays that they were getting rid of. Then we went to the Dollar tree and stocked up on plastic animals, plastic beads, marbles and such.We also bought four large basins, about the size that fits in the sink. Then we went through the collection of old toys, measuring cups of different sizes, water bottles and like objects. The bead necklaces were cut, so they were all different lengths,varying from 3 beads to half of the necklace.  (maybe 15-20 beads).

Then the fun begins. We set up four places at the table, each with a tray, a towel and a basin of warm water with that days items in it. The items can be everything from  a water bottle, a cup, a handful of glass rocks, shells, pony and troll dolls, the beads,sponges and plastic animals. Sometimes we add extra treats to the water. We may add soap, that they won’t notice till it starts bubbling as they play. Or it may have tinting from dye, either blue, purple, of pink. We don’t use yellow, because it triggers one of the kids with autism, and green stains too much.

Snail Tree..

Yesterday when we went for a walk after lunch one of the girls stopped at a tree and started staring at the  trunk. She was looking at something my level, so I checked it out. It was a tiny shining black snail. A “baby shnail”. Other children came over to explore the snail. I looked up and saw that wasn’t the only snail.There were snails of all kinds of sizes, and and colors. Some were hanging upside down in groups, some a lone. But the whole tree was pretty much covered! I wouldn’t have noticed though, if that child hadn’t found the first one.

Its important to pay attention to what children may be looking at. You can see amazing things that you may not even have noticed otherwise. They truly can give you a whole different perspective on the world.

sensory fun!

Today was yucky  day. And that’s actually a good thing. Today we experimented with different kinds of sensory experiences. Things like “What’s in this bag”, Gak, Clean Mud, Sand and water tables,  shaving cream and food coloring and some games like a balancing contest, snakes and snake charmers, Turtle and Rabbits, cross the room like a ________,and the ever popular “Seals on the bus”. (Wheels on the Bus goes on a field trip and accidentally pick up some seals) This activity also includes some of the animal poses, as the seals first leave the zoo and go to a farm.

Obviously we did different activities with the cruisers, but it was along the same lines.  And yes, we took our guarders into consideration. For every messy activity, there was a non-messy alternative. But one thing I noticed is that some of the guarderes, when they realised they would be given a choice,were at least willing to attempt some of the “neater” messy activities. Like when they learned “clean mud” is soap. Some didn’t have a problem with soap, and got more into this activity than they have gotten into others. And as long as the teacher paid attention, and let them quit when they had enough there were few upset children.
I will post some pictures when I have sorted them. I have to make sure none have children in them that the parent doesn’t want.

Why Technology can be good in Preschool!

I know that there will be endless debate about technology in preschool. And I have to say that I am very against the “Plop the kids in front of a screen” method. This has very little benefit (in my opinion).

However I found a very good use for Technology in preschools. It may even save a culture. But I have to start at the beginning for that to make sense.  I am Native American. I go back to my reservation every summer for two weeks. I have noticed that our language and stories and many of our ways of life have all but disappeared.

One of our “Grandmothers agreed to be part of a project that uses technology to preserve culture. She told all our old stories to the children at “circle times”  and had them recorded. She also spoke of the history she remembered, and the things she used to do, and the foods that were eaten, and the old ways of life.

It was a huge hit! The children loved having someone talk to them, and play music and dance  with them, and teach them things. It was fun to have an honorary gramma for two weeks! And Gramma loved being with the children and continuing the old way. In the end we had over 200 videos, photos and voice recordings filled with an almost lost culture. We are now trying to come up with even more ways of using them, maybe having my brother (who designs apps and games) come up with preschool appropriate apps.

What makes this even more important, is that shortly after I left, the honorary Gramma we had died. But she left us the gift of language,culture and a community that very often gets lost in the shuffle.

But there is another benefit of this technology. I can take it back to San Francisco. I can use it to teach my homeless city children about a whole different way of life. I can teach other children the importance of culture. Theirs as well as mine. They can learn about children they have never met. It can show them how to preserve their cultures.

Childhood Cancer Awareness month

 

September is childhood cancer awareness month. Gold is the color for the childhood cancer awareness ribbon. Every September I go gold on everything. This is sort a warning for people who may not want to hear a lot about childhood cancer and cancer awareness.
Many children at my center are cancer warriors, or cancer survivors. I do this not only for me, but to spread awareness to them. There seems to be so little awareness for such a huge disease!

 

Not sure why I’m surprised when people do the right thing

But for some reason, I always am. So I have a lotof people to thank. As a result, this particular blog may seem like an Advertisement. its not. I am just truly grateful. SO here is an open letter

To all the Children’s Haven’s Angels, your kindness and generosity to the children in my center is amazing. I am so grateful I am speechless. I want to make sure that I thank you all.
First to our A. Nony Mouse angel that donated cash and kept our lights on last month. It was too much. I don’t even know who to thank. (Although I have an idea.) Putting that on the card was cute, buy the way!

Gladstone market, thanks for the rice, beans, tomatoes and kale! We had real food every day for two whole weeks! The kids are doing much better after having fruit and veggies instead of cake and not sure what all else.

Old Navy, Thanks for the uniforms for the older kids, and fall/winter outfits for the younger ones, infants and parents.

All u named stores that supplied back packs, school supplies. tech gadgets and toys, thank you, too. There were I believe over 100 of you and I don’t have the complete list.

Payless Shoes, thanks for the shoes, socks, hair things and jewelry.

University of the pacific school of dentistry, thanks for the dental work. The kids may not be thrilled about it now, but they will thank you later. =)
All of you have worked miracles for over 400 homeless kids and their families. I can never thank you enough

(Overwhelmed by your generosity) Teacher Turtle
!!!

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