April 23, 2018

Measurement Investigation

It began as a normal building project. When asked, the children had different ideas about what they were making. Some said a bridge, others a caterpillar, others a boat, and some a house. However, they quickly came together after noticing how long their creation spanned.

“Is this a bridge, guys?” – Elizabeth

“It’s almost the same as our class!” – Scarlett

“We need longer, guys!” – Elizabeth

With that they began to take the remaining blocks, adding length to their creation. At this point the goal seemed to be to stretch the blocks from one door to the other.

“We can make it all the way here! All the way to our lunch box!” – Jack

However, before long this investigation of length and measurement expanded again. As the children began to connect the blocks out of the class and into the pod, other children began to take notice. The pod became a maze of block paths, stretching to the other classes.

“It just went all the way inside the Superheroes’ class!” – Jack

As the children from the Superhero Kid class and Dancing Snail class became interested, they began to add their own blocks. Soon children from all three classes were walking on the blocks from one class to the other.

“This is spectacular!” – Rose

“It’s kind of a party!” – Jack

By the end of the building process, the blocks stretched from inside the Superhero Kid class, through the Happy Hippo class, into the pod, and into both the Superhero Kid class and Dancing Snail class. Children from all three classes became engaged in playing together, sustaining play until snack.

“Make another way to the Superheroes. Make it through that door.” – Scarlett

This was a fantastic investigation into measurement, teamwork, cooperation, and construction. The children really took ownership of their own learning, testing their working theories. They used measurement vocabulary, made hypotheses about what would happen next, and discussed the process in detail with their friends.

Later in the week some of the children continued to investigate measurement on their own at the secret garden.

In the coming weeks, it will be interesting to see if the children continue to demonstrate an interest in measurement. We will try to further this interest in the classroom through a variety of intentional provocations and questioning, while also encouraging any opportunities for exploration in their play.

March 19, 2018

Book Week

Last week SIS we celebrated literacy with Book Week. Take a look at all of the ways ECC participated!

Pajama Day dance party and picnic.

Story Walk

D.E.A.R. (Drop Everything And Read). All of Mountainside read at the same time.

Reading during our play.

Ms. Lydia was our mystery reader!

March 5, 2018

Exploring Math in Different Ways

The Happy Hippos have been exploring different mathematical concepts such as patterns, subitization (knowing how many without counting), counting to find out how many in a group and collecting and organizing information. The children have had many opportunities to practice these skills in different ways. Math games, circle time activities, and table activities are some areas where children are able to practice explicit skills. However, children also practice these skills and strategies throughout the day through their play and daily routines.

 Counting who is here and who is absent gives children a chance to practice one-to-one correspondence and subitization.

 Practicing creating patterns.

Oftentimes, children extend activities of their own accord. Using open ended materials allows for lots of opportunities!

Practicing one-to-one correspondence and subitization by playing games.

Using stories to practice counting how many are in a group and subitization.

February 12, 2018

Ringing in the New Year

The Happy Hippos have been learning about Chinese New Year. Most of the Hippos already know a lot about this holiday, and were excited to share their knowledge. We enjoyed making some crafts, listening to stories, and practicing songs and dances for our Chinese New Year Celebration.

The Hippos put a lot of work into their dragons. It involved a lot of forethought, creative thinking, fine motor control, and patience.


The Hippos enjoyed the Chinese New Year Celebration! They sang, danced, and enjoyed watching the lion dance. In the afternoon, we celebrated with all of PreK2 with a special movie and snack.

January 29, 2018

Curious About Babies

With both of the Hippo teachers expecting babies later this year, it’s no wonder the Hippos started getting curious! The children have been asking questions and making observations over the last few weeks, and have been including babies in a lot of their dramatic play scenarios.

We began our investigation by asking the children what they already know about babies.

What Do We Know About Babies?

“Babies need milk.”

“Baby in mommy’s tummy and she is looking.”

We then asked if they had any questions. We have a running record of questions in our investigation area.

Questions About Babies

The children have been particularly curious about how long it will be until the babies come. We decided to make predictions and look at the calendar to see how long it might be. Predictions varied from “two days,” to “three years,” to “rainy day.”

Making predictions.

Collaborating on a calendar.

This week we’ll be taking the investigation further by learning about the different things that babies need. We can’t wait to see where this investigation will take us!

January 15, 2018

How Have We Changed? (Self Portraits)

 “I changed my paintbrush. Get bigger.” – Alina

 “My hair is so small.” – Bryan


 “I change my picture.” – Vicky

 “Run faster.” – Winston

 “Run.” – Sophia

 “My hair has grown longer from the back, and it’s getting a little black from the inside.” – Rose

 “I changed my hair. Because I cut my hair.” – Sarina

 “My hair is longer.” – Elizabeth

 “I changed my house.” – Jack

 “I go to other house.” – Itamar

 “One day my fringe was long and now my fringe is short.” – Scarlett

 “I can run very fast.” – Charlie

 “My hair longer. Very longer.”- Sarah

 “I running faster.” – Kane

 “My daddy say I can run fast.” – Rain

 “My mommy said we need to change house because our house is broken. Because needs to be more colorful.” – Jacob

January 15, 2018

How Have We Changed?

Last week we took some time to reflect on how we’ve changed since the beginning of the school year. We began by discussing what change is and thinking of different ways we have changed in the past. We accompanied this discussion with the creation of new self portraits. After a review of the process for self portraits, the Happy Hippos got to work. There were several other components to this project. Following the completion of their self portraits, each Hippo created a background for their portraits. This added another element of creativity, fine motor practice, and self-expression. As the children assembled their final products, they were asked how they have changed. They chose the color of marker for the dictation, cut out their words, and added them to their work. Finally, during circle time that day, each Hippo had the chance to present their work to the class. They stood in front of their classmates, showed their art work, and told their friends how they have changed this year. They then took their art work around so that everyone could see. Practicing speaking in front of others in a safe space helps children build their confidence and self-esteem. Overall, the Hippos seemed very proud to share their work with others!


Take a look at all of the steps the Hippos went through to get to their final product, and stay tuned to see what each Hippo said!

December 11, 2017

Getting Ready For Our Winter Concert

Last Friday the PreK2 children performed at their Winter Concert. This performance was as much, if not more, about the process it took to get ready than the performance itself. The children chose the song, “Mr. Sun” weeks ago, and have been practicing the song most days ever since. After the children learned the words to the song, we started to think about the performance. We discussed what movements would make sense with the song, thinking about what the audience would be able to see and understand. We decided how long we wanted to sing, specifically thinking that we wanted to sing the ending three times. There was also a vote regarding how we would bow, together or individually. The day before the concert, the children had a conversation about what they wanted to wear for the performance. They decided on colors that were fitting for the song, thinking about yellow and orange for the sun, blue for the sky, white for clouds, and SIS shirts because we’re SIS students. Overall, the children had to take part in many conversations together, voting and coming to a consensus on important details of the performance.

The children were also very involved with the decorations for both the banner and Santa corner. Each class decorated different letters, making for a very unique banner. Children used their creativity to make a variety of decorations, such as trees, snowflakes, and stars. Finally, the Hippos were involved with putting the banner together. We applied blue tac to each letter and decoration, placing them on the background paper. The children were so proud when they saw the banner they decorated and assembled at the concert!

We’re so proud of the Happy Hippos!





November 27, 2017

Celebrating Where We Come From

Last week the children in the ECC began their exploration into their cultures and countries. The Happy Hippos began learning about their flags, where they’re from, and about their friends’ cultures. We sorted the class by nationality, noticing how many children in each group. For our first week, we focused on Australia, America, and China. This week we will continue learning about China, and learn about Canada. The culmination of this learning will take place at our International Parade, where the SIS community will gather together to celebrate our diversity.

November 13, 2017

Our Families

Last week the Happy Hippos began investigating families. We began by taking note of our knowledge. The Hippos were very interested in the kinds of things families do together, such as cook, shop, travel, and play. The Hippos have been building houses out of cushions, blocks, and fabric. They also enjoy acting out family scenarios in their play, choosing various roles to act out. These dramatic play scenarios give us some insight into what the children know about social roles and the world around them.

We also started our house project, beginning by reading various stories about families and discussing our own family members. We noticed that some families live all together in one house, where as others have some family members living elsewhere. Likewise, some people who live with us might not be family. We thought about who lives in our houses, and drew the people we live with.

 Acting out family roles.

 Sorting animals by family.

Drawing our families.

 Cutting out our houses.

Creating our Happy Hippo family neighborhood.