The Classroom environment is print-rich! We have labels for our centers and pictures and labels on storage containers. We have at least 2 group stories each day as well as nursery rhymes or poems. Once each week we have a ‘theme related’ language and literacy activity which could include sequencing a story or predicting what may happen next, creating a booklet, recounting information or coming up with an idea from a story. We have MANY felt board pieces which the children use to retell stories.
We have fun with the beginning and ending letter sounds. We start the school year with the beginning sounds of our letters of the week. Letters of the week are not taught in alphabetical order. Next, we start at the beginning of the alphabet and this time focus on capital and lower case letters. Finally, we spend the last few weeks exploring word families. Simple 3 letter words are made in a fun, hands-on way using word ladders, letter tiles, wooden clothes pegs and letter unifix cubes.
Each day at Busy Bees the children have time at our Math table. Each month we focus on a particular mathematical concept e.g. patterns, weights and measures, ordinal numbers, sorting, 3 D shapes, graphing, tallying, addition, and subtraction. Each month we also do theme related math and science activities (e.g exploring pumpkins, counting and clipping apples, tasting apples and graphing our preferred apple! )
As children begin to grasp one to one correspondence they can start making groups with small manipulative pieces to which they can add or subtract. We’ve found the best way to understand number concepts is hands-on with small objects for counting such as acorns, corn kernels, small eraser shapes, unifix cubes etc. At our math table we also have many opportunities to practice number writing on chalkboard and paper.
We have many opportunities for children to strengthen their fingers. Every day children are invited to ‘sign in’ at Free Play. They receive individualized support and instruction. We plan weekly cutting activities as well as coloring and drawing. We also practice writing letters and numbers each week. At our math table clipping activities, magnets and tweezers help strengthen little fingers. We use Handwriting Without Tears to teach children how to write capital letters and numbers. After beginning to write on chalkboards we progress to writing on Grey Block Paper. The block paper helps to contain the letters within a defined space. When a child is ready we begin to teach how to write lower case letters. Other fine motor activities include beading, lacing, peeling stickers, cut and paste activities etc.