As we get Down to Earth in the month of May, we are celebrating and enjoying gardening, plants, the earth, and more! How do we approach learning at all ages? Here’s a sneak peek into how we’re launching this month’s inquiry:
Toddlers love helping, and when it comes to gardening there are so many ways in which they can do so. In gardening, Toddlers are able to understand the parts of a flower and learn how things grow around them. There are loads of toddler garden tools specifically designed for young children, which they will love using, and will also help them develop the skills needed for moving on to more ‘adult’ gardening tasks within a few years.
Whether inside or outside, two year olds are at the age where they want to touch and explore everything. Flowers are a great tool for children to learn about how things grow, and what it takes for them to live. Giving them responsibilities, such as watering flowers,
helps them to understand what it takes to care for something. Flowers are just one type of
plant that can grow in a garden. Engage children in learning about the parts of the plant
by examining the pieces to see how they all fit together.
Preschoolers are captivated by digging in the dirt, planting seeds, using water, and watching plants grow and change. This month’s inquiry will provide preschoolers with
important knowledge of what plants need to grow and how other living things depend on each other. The wonder of watching a tiny seed sprout and grow into something so complex is amazing at this age!
Want to join our learning adventures? Find a Creative World School near you! Want to be a part of this awesome investment in young learners? Find out how you can open a Creative World School.
So many of our infant classes have amazing, developmentally appropriate learning experiences happening everyday. Well, you’ll have to enroll to see just how great it is. In the meantime, we want to share another peek of how we teach infants from our school in Land O’Lakes, FL. Just how do infants learn about Animals? Read on to find out:
Art experiences, sign language, and teacher made puppets.
Tummy time as we look at more animals.
Playing with our enrichments.
A variety of age appropriate enrichments.
Puppets everywhere… including teacher-made ones!
Using props for animal identification.
Animal talk with puppets: what do they sound like?
Finding and following animal tracks.
We make animal prints, too!
We used tools to have sensory explorations…. do the bristles on a paintbrush feel like a doggy tail?
The children took a buggy ride outdoors to see the cows. They read “Old Macdonald had a farm” and explored all the animals in the book.
We took our learning outdoors as we observed the animals right outside!
Our artwork was on display… again, at the baby’s level!
More displays of our learning adventures were posted on shelves where infants could see them.
It is important that displays are accessible for infants… this means, at a baby’s level! Pictures of infants were placed in a dog house. Pictures were posted by cribs..
Our annual Curriculum Contest is always an amazing time for teachers to share the awesome learning happening in their classes. We love watching as they put their passion for Early Education into practice by crafting the most engaging explorations for their young students. We want to show off some of their Learning Journeys… so check out how one of our INCREDIBLE Infant Programs at CWS Rivercrest (in Riverview, FL) took their babies on an exploration of Animal Adventures:
Animals live in all kinds of weather! Our Whales children had the chance to play with frozen critters.
Developing listening and imitation skillsacting out the following nursery rhyme, while babies are lying on backs and watching each action, “ This little puppy jumps up and down”
Developmental objective: Matching words with textures, sensation and objects through rhymes, songs.Singing our favorite song “ slippery fish”. In our song we sing about different types of fish, so we put each fish in a ziplock bag with blue paint to represent the fish swimming in water and naming each one as we sing.
Showing baby how puppy follows her around when she holds the string. “Look, the puppy is walking with you. You can take him for a walk too.”
Paw print art!
Singing old Mc Donald had a farm using finger puppets while encouraging baby to reach and play with the puppets.
Listening to and developing an interest in books.We introduced the animals in my world book by saying “ I have a book about animals for us to read. Look, I see a dog looking at the baby on the cover.”
We took our animal books outside for story time. By taking babies outside we expanded their world and introduced them to new and sometimes surprising stimuli.
Bring on the beautiful outdoors! We love adding inspirational touches to our Springtime fun… and DIY Wind Chimes are all over our favorite sites right now. Check out some of our favorites (hover over the pic for basic instructions):
Painted sticks, strings, and colorful keys
Upcycle tin cans for a buoyant and bold clanking chime
Collect nuts and other found materials for a natural, soft chime
Strung beads and silverware… find motor and upcycling all in one
Painted strings: experiment with the tone and timbre different widths and materials make
Stack painted bottle tops
Live near the beach? Collect and string shells together
Painted stars beautify your space… add bells for a tinkly chime
Stack thick, colorful sticks and experiment with a rhythmic chime sound
The latest use for mason jar lids… string bells inside for an extra sound
Reuse bottle caps: paint them and string them loosely on a stick
Paint old CD’s and string them together for a splash of color and a metallic clink
Acryllic paint and vertically strung sticks makes an unobtrusive and simple wind chime
Paint plastic discs and string them together… add bells for more tinkling fun
Stack tin cans in an overlapping fashion and finish off with a bell
Stringing beads and metal discs is a great fine motor exercise for little hands
A different take on your CD chime: add beads and bells
Have old silverware? Keep it simple and string them close together for a chime
Dip your shells in glue and sprinkle glitter on for a colorful, mermaid-inspired chime
Or… keep it simple and natural with shells on a natural wood stick
Every decision we make as parents can feel monumental… and our access to wide (and sometimes contradicting) information is ready and overwhelming! With a culture that increasingly values Early Education experiences and as parents who are increasingly choosing Early Education over babysitters, where do you begin sifting through and making this important decision?
There are a few guiding principles to start with:
- This is not a test. Or an experiment. There are some very modern, very unusual or specialized practices out there that may not have enough history to be trustworthy. Go with your gut: does this feel right… does it feel safe and fun and warm?
- Trust (some) expert opinions. The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), for instance, is an organization that “vouches” for certain styles of early learning with their long history and credentialed experts. Check who a school is associated with or accredited by as a standard of trustworthiness.
So, let’s break it down. Amidst “Montessori v. Reggio Emilia v. Academic v. Progressive” your head might be spinning with all of the labels and what they mean.
Linda Whitehead, vice president of education and development for Bright Horizons, simplified it like this: “There are a number of early childhood philosophies, but they tend to fall into two broad categories in [the United States]. The first philosophy is learning through discovery, which includes programs with a focus on child-directed activities. Teachers serve as guides and plan activities based on children’s developmental levels. The second philosophy centers on programs that are more academically based, and typically include drill and practice components.”*
The best way to make this huge decision is to tour schools and look around:
- What is on the walls? Does it look like a teacher did it or a 3 year old? Do you see 24 of the same penguin… or 24 totally different pieces of art?
- How are the classrooms set up? Does it look like the room is set up for children to sit and learn or are there a variety of open spaces for exploration?
- What kind of learning devices do you see? What kind of toys do you see and does it look like the children have easy access to them?
Studies have shown that young children learn best through open-ended play. At Creative World Schools, we believe in the unlimited potential of each young learner! Children who are allowed to drive their own learning journey become lifelong learners. So, get your child off on the right start! If there’s a Creative World School location near you, come start your learning journey with us.
We’ve blogged about our awesome iSTEAM Make It Create It Spring Break Mystery Box challenge before… and how a few miscellaneous materials mailed in a box to each of our School Age Spring Break programs transformed our schoolers into engineers, scientists, and artists!
At Creative World School in Aurora, Illinois, our schoolers were hard at work exploring and discovering as they used their amazing logic and creativity to fashion a truly unique piece of art, on display in their Exploratorium.
Check out their process…
Want to get in on the fun? The laughter and learning are happening all summer long… sign up for CampTastic today!
Every year, we join The National Association for the Education of Young Children, as well as Early Education organizations and schools around the country, for a celebration of young children! At Creative World Schools, we are passionate about setting early learners on a course of lifelong learning. We believe (and research confirms!) that these early years are pivotal as they set the trajectory for a child’s intellectual, emotional, and social development.
Our schools around the country are busy celebrating early learners… which we have a blast doing with learning adventures every day!
Our littlest ones at CWS Rivercrest are enjoying some soft, inspiring building shapes during their outside time!
Toddlers at CWS Plainfield are having a blast upcycling and discovering what they can do with cardboard tubes.
CWS Crosscreek was full of giant dino art as the children experienced color and texture by painting bubble wrap.
School Age students (CW Kid’s Club) at CWS Estero rocked it out as they took the challenge to make up their own games… rules, boards, and all!
This month at Creative World Schools, we are taking the challenge to Build It Up! From our in-class construction inquiries to our Extreme Sizes: Skyscraper Architecture competition, we are donning our hard hats and getting in the zone to learn all about the blueprints, plans, tools, shapes, and materials that go into building amazing things.
Here’s a sample of some of the books we’re using to supplement our awesome inquiry:
As Toddlers explore construction using blocks, tubes, bridges and tunnels they begin to understand the position of objects and how it affects the way things work and relate to each other.
Two Year Olds
Twos explore ways to travel from here to there, including rolling, crawling, creeping, walking, running, jumping, and climbing. In their homes, they have felt the textures of the carpet, wood, and tile. They have seen the painted or wallpapered walls. You can explore these questions while learning about homes: “What is it doing there? How did it get there?”.
The building team is an important part of our community. They represent a specialized team with unique knowledge, skills and tools who work closely together to create and build.