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Monday, April 30, 2012

"So, what do they do?"

When I tell people I run a preschool out of the house I am often asked; "So, what do they do?"
We pack so much into the three hours a day I have with the kids, I find that I sometimes don't know how to answer that question. Below is a series of pictures of the children at play over the past couple of weeks, perhaps through these the question of what they do can best be answered.

We play, a lot. 
 I believe in the power of play.  It enhances imagination and it
often emulates life which brings into their experience social skills and learning.
Here we have a day at the beach.  They went diving and lounged on beach chairs they made out of couch cushions

We create magic, for instance we planted jelly beans and grew a "Jelly bean tree!"

We explore with our senses
We discover. 
Here we are observing the birds building a nest in a hole in the porch.
Examining an abandoned nest from last Spring.

We investigate, 
such as when mysterious objects appear on the ceiling and we discover that it is coming from a
bowl of water that is reflecting sunshine.

We make friends
We Create!

We Swing
We Do Experiments

We Move and Sing

We Get Wild!
We Build

We concoct things
We Work together and share

We learn about the world

We weave in and out of moments.

We make Masterpieces

We Enjoy

And we care for each other.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

More Exploring with Printmaking

The wonderful thing about printmaking with Preschoolers is the pure excitement when an image appears that they were not expecting.  There favorite thing to say lately is a drawn out "WHAAT!" which I just adore.  That is exactly what I heard from the kid's when I presented the bottom of a celery stalk for printmaking.  We also explored using the bottom of bottles, and in both cases the results were different than what the children thought they would be.  They made very pretty flower patterns as you will see in the pictures below.  Printmaking is definitely one of those art processes that I am finding the children absolutely love.  We have used apples, potatoes, leaves, paint rollers, peppers, foam, stamps, popcorn, flower petals, cars, hands, snakes, okra, and now bottles and celery stalks I am excited to see what will be next...hmm we haven't done foot prints...

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Little Photographers

One of the parent's of the school lent us his tripod the other day and the children LOVE it!  It has been wonderful watching them take pictures using this new tool.  There was something so inviting about a camera set up on a tripod that had children clambering to use it.  Here are some pictures of the children using the camera and their photographs.  The kids have really been into photography and this is a new element that I am sure we will be playing around with for a while, I can't wait to show them how to use the timer or do a long exposure.

A young photographer busy at work

Taking a picture of his friends at play

Pure joy in taking her friends picture

Her muse caught in a moment

A friend posing for the camera
 The image captured
Enjoying another element of photography, viewing the picture after it has been taken

This photographer enjoyed carrying the tripod around the room to get different shots
Here he lines up a picture of his friend racing cars down the tubes

Now in a different location getting a picture of his brother

I am sure there will be more to come

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Photo Transfer Sun Catchers

Last year we made  flower pedal sun catchers and they were a big hit.  This year I wanted to make them again, however I wanted to change the project a little bit.  I decided to teach the children how to make a photo transfer using contact paper and a photo copied image.
I use to teach this process to my high school students and continuing ed. adult classes, however I wasn't sure if my preschoolers would have a hard time with it. 
Happy to say they did great and loved the process. 

To learn how to make the flower pedal sun catcher view my previous post under sun catchers or click here:

To start our project we first had to gather our materials. We took a nature walk around the neighborhood, but we found most of our treasure at Helen's, my next door neighbor.  We have visited Helen before, she is 95 and loves it when the little ones visit her.  Here are the kids greeting Helen.

 Our nature basket filled with treasures

After we collected leaves and flowers, we then went to work on our sun catchers.
The first thing the children did was paint their borders.

Before starting this project I photocopied pictures of the children.  You can print them as well, but a photo copied image works better because the ink lifts off the paper surface better.
I also cut the circles of contact paper we would need and placed their pictures on them ahead of time. 

The children then took a smooth rock and rubbed it all over their pictures.
This helps the ink to adhere better to the contact paper.

Next, they removed the back of the contact paper and placed it in a bowl of warm water.  It stayed in the water for a minute or so, until the paper was wet through.

They then placed the contact paper face down on a towel and began to rub the paper off the back.  Here is where the fun and magic began.  It was neat for them to see the paper rub away and their faces remain on the contact paper.  It takes a couple times of rubbing the paper and re-submerging the paper into the water to clean it completely off.

When they were done with the transfer they stuck it to their borders and started placing flowers on the sticky side.

Once they felt they were done, I then took a piece of contact paper the circumference of the inner circle and placed it down on top of their flower and leaf arrangements.  They then took their stones again and rubbed all the air bubbles out and pressed their flowers.

I was only able to capture a couple in a photo before moving onto clean up, but I think they look wonderful and they did just as well as my high school students would have;)