Sunday, June 6, 2021

Animal Life Cycles

     During the spring season, SMART START incorporates the study of animal life cycles into its curriculum. Our young learners are provided the opportunity to be involved throughout the process of this natural science in a realistic setting. 

Learn about four different animal life cycles and the benefits of experiential learning below:

๐Ÿฅš๐Ÿฃ๐Ÿฅ๐Ÿ” Caring for chickens in our outdoor classroom is a segment of SMART START's daily routine. Classmates contribute to feeding, watering, cleaning and egg collecting. Everyone was eager to further their knowledge on the life stages of a chicken: egg, hatchling, chick and adult. Pupils participated in placing eggs inside an incubator, adding water to monitor humidity and rotating egg positions. We discussed the changes occurring within the egg as it forms from simply a yolk into a chick. After 21 days of anticipation, 7 chicks hatched! The class has been enthusiastically nurturing the hatchlings and have recently acquainted them to a coop outside. This biology teaching continues indefinitely as all will witness and assist the chicks as they grow into adulthood, lay eggs and begin the cycle again- learning through experience at its finest. 

๐Ÿ›๐Ÿฆ‹ Eager Entomologists look forward to viewing the developmental timeline of a butterfly at school each year. This process consists of: watching a caterpillar come out of an egg, seeing it form into a chrysalis, celebrating the butterfly's emergence and releasing it into nature. We successfully hatched 10 Painted Lady butterflies this spring! Caring for the butterflies consists of adding sugar to a wet cotton ball for nourishment. It is exciting to view the insects using their long proboscis (straw-like tongue) to drink. To conclude this curricular aspect, the group circled together to hear the classic story, "A Very Hungry Caterpillar" by Eric Carle through a story time and short film. Learning about metamorphosis firsthand is certainly an unforgettable educational event. 

๐Ÿž Hatching ladybugs is another annual favorite. Tubes of larvae are poured into our ladybug habitat and a small amount of water is added each day. After about ten days, there were dozens of adult ladybugs crawling about. SMART START Scientists used magnifying glasses to inspect the insects up close and were able to hold the ladybugs. We discussed that ladybugs are a type of beetle that are bright red to protect themselves from predators. After this hands-on encounter, the ladybugs were set free in our nature classroom. All were surprised to discover a few eggs left behind in the habitat. These were carefully placed outdoors for the life cycle to start once more. 

๐Ÿƒ Last but not least, the life cycle of a praying mantis was explored. These critters develop inside a large egg case that can take up to 6 weeks to hatch. Peers waited patiently for the insects to arrive. Friends were fascinated to see hundreds of mantids one morning at school. Magnifying glasses and natural curiosity were utilized once again to examine. All bravely held a praying mantis and some even carried a handful of them outdoors to be released into the school garden. 

๐Ÿ“š To reinforce life cycle learning, all took turns reviewing themed literature and materials to reflect and ask questions. Weeks have passed and our young learners are still applying the knowledge they gained from this unit. From finding a butterfly and stating that it, "emerged from a school chrysalis" to reminding the class that if we place eggs in an incubator they will take, "21 days to hatch", It is incredible what children can retain when exposed to subject matter through real life experiences. This method of teaching promotes a child's genuine desire to discover the world around them and sets them on their path to becoming a life long learner. 


Thursday, May 13, 2021

All About Maeve!


     Prior to the Spring season, SMART START celebrated star student Maeve! Miss Maeve completed her “All About Me” poster beautifully and presented it to her peers. The class was impressed with Maeve’s public speaking skills, confidence and charm. Magnificent work, Maeve!

Maeve's Poster 

Class Presentations 

     Miss Maeve’s 4th birthday party at school was a marvelous event! Maeve brought in mermaid cupcakes to share with her friends. Classmates gifted Maeve with a book and sang, “Happy Birthday” to her in both English and Spanish. 

     Maeve has been coming to SMART START with her big brother, Gus for over 2 years! Maeve is a smart, savvy and sharp witted student. She is free spirited, full of fun and the emblem of friendship. We are excited to witness your further development and successes as a pre-k student, Maeve!


Thursday, March 18, 2021

Winter 2021

SMART START young learners had "snow" much fun at school through an abundance of activities.

❅Read about our winter unit below❅
๐ŸŽจ Seasonal studies commenced with a craft. Aspiring artists created a snowperson decoration using a variety of materials such as paint, glue, buttons, sparkles and more!

❆ Classmate chemists concocted their very own snow indoors mixing baking soda, hair conditioner and glitter. Snow people, snowballs, snow storms and more were made from this sensory science experiment. 

๐Ÿฅž Pupils sported their favorite pajamas and lined up for a "make your own snowperson" pancake buffet.

๐Ÿ•ฎ Our outdoor classroom transformed into a winter wonderland. The class circled in the snow for a season themed storytime and discussion. Here is some information we learned:
  • Winter begins around December 21st and ends around March 20th
  • The season starts on the Winter Solstice: the longest night and shortest day of the year
  • A nor'easter is a storm which blows strong winds over north east states such as New England
  • Winter is the coldest season of the year

๐Ÿ›ท Everyone enjoyed exercising gross motor skills as they pushed, pulled and raced each other on sleds, free played in the snow and shoveled out their play structure. 

⛄ The class participated in the classic winter pastime of building a snowman. All assisted in creating a snow student named "shovel."

๐ŸŒ‹ SMART START scientists sculpted a volcano out of snow. Baking soda, vinegar, dish soap and food coloring were combined to elicit an exciting eruption.

๐ŸŒŸ Each student brought in a special item for "snow and tell." Peers participated in this public speaking assignment by presenting their item, answering questions and viewing each others presentations. 

๐Ÿจ Classroom chefs made delicious snow cream sundaes using snow, whipping cream, chocolate and toppings.

๐ŸŽฒ The group engaged in games galore to enhance cognition, hand to eye coordination, fine motor abilities, cooperation, patience and have fun! Don't Break the Ice, Bingo, Pin the Carrot on the Snowperson and Memory Match were a few games played.

❄ Each child decorated a large felt snowflake. We discussed how every snowflake is unique just like each individual person. 

➕➖ Basic addition and subtraction were practiced using pretend snowballs and flashcards. 

๐Ÿ“šThe themed display portrayed books and other props for all to ponder over and explore. 


Wednesday, March 3, 2021

All About Luke!

    Mr. Luke was SMART START's star student of January! He enthusiastically brought his very first "All About Me" project to school. Confidence and charisma were exhibited by Luke as he presented his poster to the class. Terrific assignment and performance, Luke!

Luke's Poster

Class Presentations

    Luke's 4th birthday party at school was fun for all! He brought in cupcakes and goody bags to share with his classmates. Friends sang, "Happy Birthday" to Luke and gifted him with a book. 

    This is Luke's second year as a SMART START student! Luke is a passionate, clever, inquisitive preschooler that is a friend to all. He truly loves to learn, play and grow with his peers. You continue to grow leaps and bounds each day, Luke!


Sunday, January 31, 2021

Animals Around the World

    Throughout the month of January, SMART START studied Animals Around the World. 

๐Ÿ˜Read below to follow along with our young learners on this wild science and geography unit๐Ÿ˜

๐ŸฆŠ Forest ranger friends constructed habitats using recycled materials, a woodland creature, paint and glue. Creativity and imagination magnified as egg cartons became mountains, cellophane embodied ice, toilet paper rolls turned into tunnels and Styrofoam symbolized snowbanks. Binoculars were used to appreciate all angles of these masterpieces. 

๐Ÿง Wednesday, January 20th was National Penguin Awareness Day. Our school recognized this time by dressing in black and white and placing a focus on endangered species. Peers played the game "Penguin Tower" and completed worksheets. Both activities challenged hand to eye coordination, cognitive skills, group cooperation, counting and more. The need to preserve wildlife worldwide was discussed. 

Here are "everyday efforts" the class comprised:
  • Recycle 
  • Do not litter/pick up litter
  • Connect with and respect nature 
  • Turn our yards/outdoor classrooms into an animal friendly space
  • Learn about different species
  • Share information with others

๐Ÿงผ SMART START Zoologists eagerly anticipated a visit from Animal Adventures Rescue Zoo. The class collected food and cleaning donations to support the organization located in Bolton, MA. 

๐Ÿ Ed, the owner of the outreach program, arrived with an abundance of animals ranging from native to exotic. Students were introduced to an armadillo, chinchilla, boa constrictor, porcupine, alligator, bearded dragon and more! This hands-on, engaging experience provided the opportunity for pupils to interact with the subject matter up close. In addition, all were fascinated by Ed's expertise on animal behaviors, diets, habitats and shared rescue stories. 

๐ŸŒ Regions and ecosystems inhabiting various animal types were explained during outdoor circle time. SMART START recently partnered with an educational company, "Fly Little Dragon" and we incorporated aspects of their Learn & Play Program into our curriculum.
Here are a few facts we learned: 
  • Arctic: contains the Artic Ocean, and multiple countries (USA, Canada, Russia) animals include walrus, seal, arctic hare, snowy owl, polar bear and puffin.
  • Rainforests: located in numerous countries (Africa, Asia, Australia) animals include: toucan, anteater, sloth, leopard, monkeys, tree frog and snakes. 
  • Savannah: hot and dry environment, animals include: elephant, lion, giraffe, cheetah, hippopotamus, zebra and gorilla. 
    Afterwards, activity pages from "Fly Little Dragon" were used to reinforce our lessons. 

๐Ÿ•ฎ An assortment of themed centers were enjoyed: Monkey Barrell (connect and hang as many monkeys as you can), research display (observe and locate habitats using books and a globe), Hoot Owl Hoot (group effort board game) and a Jungle Puzzle (100 pieces/Kindergarten level). 

๐Ÿงฉ A language arts lesson was integrated into our unit review. Prekindergartners and Kindergartners completed puzzles to sound out, spell and rhyme animal types (Ex: B-A-T & R-A-T, D-O-G & H-O-G). Preschoolers practiced differentiating uppercase versus lowercase letters and their corresponding sounds using jumbo alphabet flashcards. 

๐Ÿ’We hope you enjoyed reading about Animals Around the World studies๐Ÿ’


Thursday, January 21, 2021

All About Cody!


    Kindergartner Cody was exceptionally prepared to be SMART START's student of December. Cody completed his 4th "All About Me" assignment to share at school. His expertise and superb public speaking skills were evident throughout each presentation. You are a stellar student, Cody!

Cody's Poster 

Class Presentations

    Cody's 6th birthday celebration at school was a special event. He brought in yummy brownies and goody bags for his friends. Classmates sang "Happy Birthday" to Cody in English and Spanish and gifted him with a science book. 

     At just 9 months old, Cody became one SMART START's earliest students. We have had the pleasure of sharing in all 6 of Cody's birthdays. Cody is the pillar of our S.M.A.R.T character building blocks: service, mindfulness, achievement, respect and trust and is an outstanding leader and role model for his classmates. It has been a privilege assisting you on your educational journey, Cody!


Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Happy Holidays 2020

    Holiday Happenings at SMART START commenced December 1st! Young learners celebrated this magical month through a variety of engaging, hands-on activities. 

Please join our festivities below:

 ๐Ÿ“… Christmas crafters created a Santa Claus countdown calendar. Materials used included: red paper, white poster board, Santa face paper plates, cotton balls and glue. 

Santa's beard is very bare 
on his chin there is no hair 
so each day add a puff of white 
when it's full he will come that night!


๐Ÿคถ Mrs. Claus visited our school all the way from the North Pole! Students had a holly jolly time delighting in classic carols, music and movement games and placing their letters/wish lists for  Santa inside Mrs. Claus' "Letters to Santa" mailbox. 

Mrs. Claus At School

๐Ÿž Merry and bright bakers measured and mixed ingredients to make gingerbread loaves. Older peers had the opportunity to put on oven mitts and place the bread in the oven all by themselves. 

Baking Spirits Bright

๐ŸŽ„ Everyone enjoyed trimming the tree and decking classroom halls while listening to traditional tunes. Afterwards, surprise presents for friends from home were placed underneath the tree to be exchanged at our holiday party.

Oh Christmas Tree

๐ŸŽ€ Yuletide traditions continued on as fine motor skills were challenged while weaving wreaths using Ribbons, string, bells and bows. "Snow" was sprayed as a finishing touch. 

Tis The Season

☕festive friends wore pajamas and brought cookies to swap with each other on "Holiday Hot Cocoa & Cookies Day" A Hot Chocolate center was arranged for all to make a custom cup of cheer. 

Oh What Fun

๐Ÿงธ SMART START embraced the season of giving by participating in two donation drives. Classmates contributed and collected gifts for "Toys for Tots" and non-perishable food items for "Lazarus House Ministries" The children were grateful their offerings brought good tidings of comfort and joy. 

Giving Is Better Than Receiving

๐Ÿ•ฏ Hanukkah was observed on the first day of its season. The meaning of the menorah was taught and reinforced through a worksheet and group discussions. 

๐Ÿ•ฎ Winter holidays celebrated around the world were introduced at the indoor book display and outdoor story time. 
Here are some facts we learned:
  • Hanukkah lasts for eight days
  • The colors of Kwanzaa are red, black and green
  • Winter Solstice is the longest night of the year and is usually on December 21st.
  • Santa Claus has many different names: Kris Kringle, Saint Nicholas, Father Christmas etc.

๐Ÿง SMART START Elves were busy in their workshop making school-made presents for their parents. Hand sanitizer was formed mixing aloe & alcohol and sachets were constructed using scented pine cones, netting and ribbon. 

Elves Hustling & Bustling

๐ŸฆŒ Our holiday extravaganza was a joyous event! Pupils painted ornaments, played bingo, exchanged gifts, freeze danced and ate delicious treats. All were astonished when Santa Claus himself came to visit and deliver toys for our classrooms! 

Party Highlights

๐ŸŽต SMART START Chorus assembled to sing "Feliz Navidad." This enhanced our Spanish language studies as lyrics were translated to "Merry Christmas." In addition, classmates practiced their counting and colors in Spanish playing jumbo UNO.

Feliz Naviad

๐ŸŽ… The enchanting essence of Christmas Eve was embraced through a fun finger play:

When Santa comes to my house 
           I'd like to take a peek               
         but I know he'll never come           
                    until I'm fast asleep              

 Finger Play Performance