Repeatedly giving young learners “Work Sheets” is a thing of the past, research has found and stated that hands on exploration is more beneficial to supporting a child’s learning. Completing work sheets may give children some knowledge of subjects, but it does not support their deeper understanding of concepts. Work sheets have a narrow focus and do not allow the child to apply and reconstruct their working theories on a particular concept.
The work sheets that you may see your child come home with from our classroom are not given as a part of our learning focus. They are recycled papers from the refuse of the older grades. It is PreK 2B doing our small part to make SIS a bit more “Green”. We put these left over or mistake copies in our writing center and the children choose how they want to use them. They enjoy coloring and cutting them up. Sometimes they give them to each other as gifts or cards, incorporate them into another project or creation or glue them into their writing books to support their drawings.
When your child brings home a “Creation” made from various scraps of paper and/or recyclables taped together, take them seriously and look at them as though they were a mini engineer, architect or designer.
They have taken simple household recyclables and used their representation and symbolic thinking to create something great from their imagination. They take their time and consider each step of the process, planning out where to connect each new piece of paper or plastic/cardboard item. While they work they are excited to describe what they are making and have discussions with other children about different details of their and other’s work.
When children bring home their “Creations” ask them to explain what they have made and ask them questions with interest about their machines, cars, robots, houses…..etc. I am sure that you will be surprised by their amazing imaginations and working theories.
Ms. Dodo lead the children in a cooking activity. Together they steamed baozi, a popular Chinese steamed bun often ate for breakfast. The Laser Bugs made many guesses about what was going to be inside. Everybody at least tried a bite and most children ate the baozi right up!
Each Laser Bug has their own Writing Book to write (draw) their thoughts, stories, creations and experiences in. We will spend time almost every day working in our Writing Books, sometimes at the table or at a self chosen space around the room. Pretty soon, we will take our writing books around the SIS campus with us to document our experiences.
As the pages of our writing books become more full, we will encourage the children to revisit their past drawings. We will encourage them to add more details or to continue their stories. Often, we offer to write the stories for the children and over time this will encourage and support them to attempt to label and add letters to their drawings as a way of writing the stories themselves.
Our writing books will remain at school, but you are welcome to look through them with your children during pick up/ drop off times or during classroom visits. Also, sometimes during conferences I will refer to them as a way to show your child’s developmental progress. Ask your child what kind of things they write about in their Writing Books.
While Settling into our classroom, some of our stories focused on positive behaviors, manners and being a good friend. The Laser Bugs had several discussions about appropriate behavior in the classroom. Each child contributed their thoughts to add to a list of Classroom Agreements.