Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Community Workers

     Community workers are an integral part of every city and/or town. At SMART START our goal is to instill the importance of local helpers in the minds and hearts of our young learners by providing general information of each profession. Overall we have stressed that community workers are here to keep us safe, healthy, educated, protected and connected in our neighborhoods. Children are always pretending who they want to be when they grow up; therefore this unit of study allows us to embrace the opportunity to shine light on our local community workers and how they enrich the lives of all.


     Our students are thoroughly enjoying the community workers unit of study.  Our plan is to continue with this added curriculum throughout the 2017-2018 academic year. During this time, our on-site field trips will coincide with these teachings. Andover firefighters, Glen the Andover Handyman and D.J the mail carrier have all come to our school this past month for on-site field trips! It has been a privilege to learn from them and witness their kind interactions with our group. Upcoming on-site field trips will be listed in our monthly newsletters. 



     SMART START friends have been busy learning, playing and making connections here at school.  We focus on many of the same types of activities and structured learning times and simply diversify the curriculum- routine and consistency are key for our students! Below are featured highlights from our community workers unit. 



   



     SMART START Professionals spent time looking at a wide variety of community worker books from our school and local public library.  They loved dressing up as and reading about the various careers while playing along with corresponding figurines. A few other highlight activities include: playing a matching card game that entailed matching the correct object to the career,  using magnet pieces to put the correct uniform on the worker along with other puzzles and games. Here are two songs and lyrics we learned during circle time that you can sing along with your child at home - "People in Your Neighborhood" from Sesame Street and "What I Want to Be " and "Looking Around My Neighborhood" from Barney. They loved learning these new tunes and singing with friends!




     Community vehicles bring excitement both on and off the streets. Students learned about the different sounds and lights they have and why. While some such as, fire engines, police cars and ambulances are fun to hear and see, we informed that these vehicles utilize flashing sirens to arrive and depart from emergency situations. Our goal is to have our young learners recognize and be comfortable with community workers and their purpose. 



     SMART START's community workers love learning and playing together in our outdoor classroom. Each dressed up in chosen attire and brought a profession to life in their own neighborhood (outdoor structure)! SMART START veterinarians gave Pilot, Charlotte and Caroline their routine physicals, mail carriers delivered packages, fires in the structure's kitchen were put out by firefighters and police officers ensured SMART START citizens were safe. Dress up is always a class favorite!  We love to witness the dramatic play between friends as it confirms they are retaining the material taught. SMART START community workers at your service!

Click on the following videos below to see SMART START Community Worker Fun!




     Thank you for sharing your children and allowing us to continue to care for and educate them.  We take pride in what we do here at SMART START and strive to provide our young learners with the utmost quality of, care, education and enriching experiences.

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πŸ‚ Mary and Francesca πŸ‚

Monday, October 16, 2017

Fall

    Fall is in the air!  We are fully embracing New England's quintessential season here at SMART START. We are so fortunate to be able to  teach the children about Autumn while they are witnessing it through a variety of festive activities. Hands on learning at its finest!
  

    SMART START friends have been busy learning about all things fall!  We have been using an assortment of teaching tools such as books, felt board, puzzles, songs and circle time discussion. We introduced our young learners to the changes in both scenery and temperature. Our favorite song during music time is "I Like Autumn."  You can click the following link to sing this song at home with your child  - I Like Autumn.  Our discussions also included seasonal happenings such as, apple and pumpkin picking, hay rides, hiking, leaf peeping, raking and more! The children loved sharing stories individually and as a group about activities they have done with their families.


    At SMART START we have a hay bale, scarecrow, pumpkins, leaves and flowers.  Fall friends are thoroughly enjoying these Autumn essentials both in our outdoor and indoor classroom. There is something refreshing about learning and playing in nature especially during this beautiful time of year. Simply picture perfect!


   Our students, as well as our classroom pets, have been enjoying the cooler temperatures. Each morning during circle time, we adjust our thermometer and decide what attire is needed for outdoor learning and play. Hay rides in our wagon, collecting acorns and leaves for nature boxes and games has been a delight! 


    Apple picking is a traditional outing here in New England. Miss Francesca has read the children many books about apples. She has taught them the different parts of an apple: stem, leaf, skin, flesh, seeds and core, as well as the many types. A variety of apples have been incorporated into our snacks and meals- Golden Delicious and Granny Smith are the preferred here at school. Our Harvest Mix (pumpkin and original cheerios, raisins, cinnamon apple chips and wheat thins) with apple slices has 
been a repeated breakfast request!


      Fall's classic foliage has been a fun way for our students to enhance their color recognition. We have studied the leaf life cycle throughout the four seasons in addition to the different types of leaves. SMART START Clean Up Crew has been working hard raking and collecting leaves in our
outdoor classroom. One exciting activity for their hard work has been jumping into a big pile of leaves!


        We have been using our SMART START felt board to work on counting, sorting, number identification and patterns through storytelling and dramatic play. In honor of fall we used felt apples,
 pumpkins, squirrels in addition to numbers. 


    Autumn Artists decorated pumpkins using paint,  paintbrushes, glue, tissue paper, sparkles, markers, yarn and leaves to create their festive masterpiece. They were so proud of their finished product and excited to bring home their fall dΓ©cor. 


     Fall friends helped to stuff our own SMART START scarecrow! They stuffed the scarecrow with hay from top to bottom just like they do in the song, "I Like Autumn."  While most of the hay was stuffed in the scarecrow, some flew through the air and friends shared giggles together! This sensory activity was very entertaining and fun was had by all.


      We hope you and your family are enjoying Autumn.  Please make sure to check out our side bar 
on our blog homepage for seasonal activities, both at home and locally.  We are looking forward to 
many more fun filled fall days here at SMART START with your wonderful children!
                         
                       Click below to see some more pictures featured in the Fall video!



                                              Image result for Fall children  Quotes


                                             🍁   Mary and Francesca   🍁

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Aquarium Field Trip

     As part of our extended ocean curriculum and providing our young learners with the utmost hands on experience, we invited the New England Aquarium to SMART START for an on-site field trip!  We are extremely fortunate to live so close to the New England Aquarium in Boston MA, as well as having had the opportunity to bring their experts and ocean life right to our school!  SMART START friends eagerly put on their field trip t-shirts for this highly anticipated field trip!

     Our field trip took place in our outdoor classroom as the weather was perfect for the occasion.  The outreach educator from the NEA came equipped with a variety of ocean life, educational tools and fun activities. Our SMART START Oceanographers were curious and enthusiastic to acquire more knowledge about and physically touch some of the sea creatures! 

     
     The NEA outreach educator assembled the class into a large circle.  She taught about sea creatures by using large picture cards that displayed information about each. Showcased were a snail, sea star, hermit crab and clam.  SMART START friends were engaged and participated with ease.  They raised their hands, shouted out answers when appropriate and asked intelligent questions.

    
Our young performers were delighted by the sea star costume.  All took turns wearing it while the educator continued to use this form of dramatic play to shed additional light on sea stars.  SMART START friends looked adorable! While some may view dress up as a fun and silly activity, we educators see so much more: building confidence, development of social skills and imaginations at work!  

Click below to see SMART START friends enjoying the sea creatures!


     While the children enjoyed learning about different ocean life and playing dress up, the tide pool tanks were by far the best part of the field trip! The outreach educator set up four tide pool tanks with the following: sea stars, snails, hermit crabs and clams. Our young learners gathered around the tanks looking in awe. We loved witnessing our student's expressions as they handled the sea creatures. It was an amazing experience for them to physically encounter the subject matter we studied. 

Click below to see highlights from our field trip!


     We thank you for supporting our on-site field trips here at SMART START. These programs allow us to provide your children with exceptional educational experiences that make real life connections.  We hope your child has shared some of the excitement with you and maybe even taught you something new about ocean life or a sea creature!

πŸ’™ Mary and Francesca πŸ’™

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Ocean Fun

     Last month we incorporated all things ocean into our curriculum here at SMART START.  Our young learners fully embraced this exciting topic and are now little Oceanographers!  Our focus here at SMART START is to provide your children with the knowledge, skills and tools they will need to become successful learners, creative thinkers and confident in whatever they put their minds to.

                                       ocean theme young children
     
      Language arts is a strong focus here at SMART START!  Our bookshelf was filled with ocean literature for this unit of study.  The children thoroughly enjoy circle time, reading books as a group and embracing the opportunity to be active participants and ask questions. SMART START friends are particularly fond of story time in our outdoor classroom. While outside, we introduced our ocean bag of plastic sea creatures. Each child had a turn to reach in the bag and pull out a sea creature to show their peers and learn more about.

Learning and playing in nature has endless benefits such as:

  • Further develop memory, concentration and comprehension
  • Enhances critical thinking and practical problem solving 
  • Improves physical and mental health- reduces stress and anxiety
  • Increases motivation, desire to learn and other social and emotional skills

    
      Our young learners worked independently and together building many ocean puzzles. Puzzles offer much more than simply finding where each piece goes! They are a fun way to improve problem solving, memory, concentration, hand and eye coordination and fine motor skills. Although puzzles require patience and cooperation, self esteem increases upon completion.  


     SMART START puppeteers used their imaginations, puppets, dress up props and music to invent ocean inspired stories and songs with one another. The children love both performing and spectating. Witnessing our students engaging in dramatic play and the confidence it gives them as they perform is entertaining and rewarding for all. 


   Games at SMART START are a perfect way to facilitate group effort, cooperation, sharing and turn taking.  The children play together beautifully and are always willing to help a friend. We introduced three different sensory ocean games all focusing on counting, sorting and color recognition skills. Sensory games are a fun, hands on way to learn! 



     Arts and crafts is a favorite time for our students to put their creative minds to work! We recently started using art caddies filled with different art media for each of the children. This has allowed them to be more independent with product choice, inventive with their project and responsible for their products. They love having their own special art caddy as well as this new addition to our arts and crafts routine. SMART START artists created two ocean masterpieces. Ocean scenes and a cardboard sea creature. Our designers used colored tissue paper, drizzled colored glue, crayons, markers, bonkers, glitter, paint and paint brushes and ocean stamps. All were proud of their vibrant creations and excited to bring them home to show their families!

Click below to see our SMART START Artists!




Click below to see our Ocean Fun video!


SMART START friends thoroughly enjoyed our ocean unit! As always, thank you for your continued support and the opportunity to teach and care for your children.  


πŸ’™ Mary and Francesca πŸ’™