Sunday, March 31, 2019

Nutrition

     Healthy eating is a priority here at SMART START! While it may be a challenge to get children interested in learning about nutrition and healthy eating, it is possible when you make it fun.  We are fortunate here at school to have an abundance of resources, an excellent curriculum, hands-on activities and a connection with a local nutritionist.  Students thoroughly enjoyed our extensive nutrition unit last year as well us brushing up on it again this year in our new school. We  hope you enjoy this tasty throwback!
Image result for nutrition childrens clipart
📚 Book Display 📚

     The nutrition book display featured a healthy eating poster, pictures of food from different food groups, informative cardboard books highlighting foods from each food group and a variety of nutrition based books. It's the perfect spot to sit alongside a friend, browse through an interesting book.  This nook creates an environment for our young learners that is conducive to focusing primarily on the topic we are studying without distractions.

📖 Books and Puzzles 📖

   SMART START is keen on reading and our students have fully embraced all we have to offer surrounding books.  Whether it be reading alone, with a classmate or in a group, reading time is a class favorite!  Our bookshelves were lined with a variety of nutrition based books including topics such as food groups, healthy eating, healthy habits, food preparation, grocery shopping, good hygiene, etc.


     SMART START friends gathered in our indoor and outdoor classrooms for circle time as Miss Francesca read different books.  Most notably students learned about nutrition, making healthy choices, colorful plates and growing what you eat. The children were attentive and engaged with the material and offered great commentary and asked interesting questions.  This is a subject matter that applies to their every day lives and we loved hearing their stories, comments and questions.  They are so bright and inquisitive!  


     
     Busy hands worked on puzzles featuring a wide variety of foods.  The children love working on puzzles together with friends, as well as independently.  No matter the subject matter, puzzles are always a fun, hands-on activity that benefit children on many levels: cognitive skills, problem solving, fine motor development, hand and eye coordination, social skills and self-esteem. 
 
🍎 Posters 🍌

     Throughout our classroom there were various posters hanging on the walls featuring nutrition facts about healthy eating and choices, food groups and food items.  We used this posters to engage the children in different learning activities.  Young learners pointed out food items when asked to identify them and matched food items to the corresponding food groups.  
     
     Full of energy and fun, the children dressed up in a banana costume during our poster learning sessions and played the part just perfectly.  The children were quite "a-peel-ing" dressed up like a delicious and ripe banana!   

🍲 ABC Food Puzzle 🍲

     Young learners had a blast playing with the magnetic ABC food puzzle.  Students played in pairs with the ABC food puzzle and worked together to fit he puzzle piece into the refrigerator.  Once they placed it in correctly, they pressed the letter down and it said the letter name and the food item.  A wonderful learning tool that incorporates both letter and food identification.  
"A" is for Apple
"B" is for Broccoli
"Ch" is for Cheese



 🍅 Farmers Market Board Game 🍅

     SMART START Farmers enjoyed playing the Hillside Farm board game.  Each player received a playing board and took turns spinning the spinner.  Upon their turn they would pick a tile from the middle of the table and place it into the correct space on their individual playing boards. First student to fill all their tiles correctly wins the game!


🏬 Grocery Shopping 🏬

     The SMART START Grocery Store was open for business during our nutrition unit here at school.  We set up the store both inside and outside and the children absolutely loved this activity.  Children dressed up as store employees and worked the cash register and bagged the food items.  They used a toy cash register, money and even managed checks.  Both employees and customers learned about coins, dollar bills and checks.  Students even learned how to write out and sign a check!  





     To set up the store for grocery shopping, we used a variety of recycled boxes and cartons, as well as plastic food items.  Customers browsed the "aisles" and filled their shopping baskets and carts with various items before checking out at the register.  
     
     What a fun-filled activity that was full of hands-on learning and important life skills such as managing money and exchanging pleasantries.  We hope your child(ren) can share some of the things they learned and experienced at our SMART START Grocery Store with you when they take a trip with you to the grocery store.

🍞 Sandwich Game 🍞

     Preschoolers embarked upon an exciting new Sandwich Game.  This game entailed creating a "sandwich" by adding in different food items.  Each food item had a sight word on it.  The children practiced identifying letters and reading each word with teacher assistance as they created a delicious "sandwich." Friends worked together beautifully as they helped each other identify and read the sight words and offered encouragement.
🎂 Lacing Food Boards 🎂

     Students took turns working with different food lacing boards.  They used their fingers to manipulate the strong and weave it in and out of the holes that lined the perimeter of each food board.  A simple yet fun activity for children to sit down and focus on fine motor skills.  It allows them to perfect their pincer grip which in a necessary skill for holding a pencil properly.  They also get to establish the use of their dominant and non-dominant hand as they use one hand to stabilize the board and the other to weave the string through the holes.  Always a way to squeeze in learning!


🍕 Pretend Food and Pizza 🍕

     SMART START friends were exposed to a wide variety of toy food items during our nutrition unit.  This exposure allowed them to learn about different foods they have not seen before or had the chance to eat, as well as play with the food during free play or other structured activities.  Some of the food items came in pieces and this presented the children with opportunities to use plastic knives and other utensils to cut the food items into pieces and then match them back up correctly.

     Pupils made their own pizzas using wooden pizza slices and fit them together to create a pizza pie and then added toppings.  Once complete, they used a pizza cutter to slice up the pie and serve to their friends.  Yummy!
     
     An extra special treat for our SMART START chefs was making their very own pizza!  Each chef received pizza dough, cheese, sauce, pepperoni and green peppers to create the perfect pie!  They followed simple step by step instructions.
  1. Knead the dough
  2. Roll the dough 
  3. Spread the sauce
  4. Sprinkle the cheese
  5. Add additional toppings
  6. Bake in the oven
  7. Remove from oven with assistance when done
  8. Put it in a box to bring home






     Students love cooking activities!  Not only do they learn how to follow simple directions and basic cooking skills, they feel a sense of pride creating something they can eat and enjoy with others. The children placed their finished pizzas in individual pizza boxes to take home to their families. We hope you enjoy!  Mangia, Mangia!


     🍓 Strawberry Game 🍓

     Strawberry lovers enjoyed a rousing game of "Apple, Banana, STRAWBERRY"  in our outdoor classroom.  Just like the classic game of "Duck, Duck, Goose", students gathered in a circle, sat on a large strawberry place mat and walked around patting each friend's head naming a different fruit.  When they said "Strawberry", the tagged person had to run around the circle in an attempt to catch the friend that tagged them before returning to their spot.  Preschoolers were all smiles and giggles.  Fun was had by all and everyone received extra practice naming different types of fruit...always learning!






🥕 Nutritionist Field Trip 🍍

     Our eager young learners always look forward to our on-site field trips!  They put on their SMART START t-shirts and waited patiently for the nutritionist to arrive.  they have been learning all about nutrition, healthy foods and making healthy choices, so they are excited to learn even more!

     Miss Nina arrived with delicious fruit and the children couldn't wait to see what she had in store for them.  They put on their aprons and chef hats and gathered with Miss Nina around the table. She presented the different fruits she brought with her. All took turns washing and cutting up the fruit to prepare for a homemade smoothie.  This was the perfect opportunity to learn the importance of washing fruit thoroughly, using safe knife skills and following simple step by step instruction when adding fruit into the blender.  They each picked their favorite fruit to add into their smoothie and Miss Nina added in yogurt as well.  Time to mix it up in the blender!  What a healthy and delicious snack!








     Smoothie lovers enjoyed this refreshing treat during circle time in our outdoor classroom while Miss Nina taught them about a variety of different fruits and discussed their color, shape and size, as well as vitamins, fiber and the importance of eating healthy. 





 

More Nutrition Highlights From Our Healthy Bunch!




Click on the video below for some more SMART START Nutrition Fun!



     Thank you for supporting our on-site field trip program here at SMART START.  We take pride in continuing to provide our students with these extended learning opportunities that educate, enrich and enhance our curriculum.  


💙 Mary and Francesca 💙

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Cody's "All About Me" Book and 4th Birthday!

     SMART START's "All About Me" poster assignment has been a beneficial component of our preschool curriculum. This activity provides students with the opportunity to develop public speaking skills, as well as provides insight into their peers interests outside of school.

     Recently we implemented an "All About Me" book project for our Pre-Kindergarteners. This more extensive assignment allows pupils to decide what special things about themselves they would like to highlight upon.

     Cody was our first "All About Me" author! Each page was thoughtfully designed by Cody and contained interesting facts about himself. Cody articulated the book's information with ease and eagerly answered all of his classmates' questions.  It was evident that his vocabulary, self-confidence and communicative abilities have tremendously flourished during the past year.  All at SMART START enjoyed learning more about Cody! 

Here are some details from the chapters in Cody's Book 📖
  • Birthday is on Christmas Day 🎄
  • Favorite colors are red and blue ❤💙
  • Likes to play with Legos 👷
  • Plays Paw Patrol with little sister, Kinsley 👫
  • Favorite superhero is Spider-Man ⚡


     All were thrilled to celebrate Cody's 4th birthday party here at school! Cody kindly brought in cupcakes and goody favors to share with his friends. Classmates gifted Cody with a book and sang "Happy Birthday" to him in both English and Spanish. 

     Cody was one of SMART START'S first students and has celebrated all four of his birthdays with us! We are amazed by all he has achieved. Cody is an intelligent, caring, inquisitive boy who serves as an excellent role model for our younger preschoolers. It has been a pleasure taking part in your education and care these past four years, Cody!


Mary and Francesca