We are well into the school year now, summer is but a distant memory, and the early winter weather has arrived. It has definitely been a busy place around TYC! Late September saw a fantastic turnout to the Tender Years Fall Fair with lot of F-U-N had by all who attended. October saw a focus on being thankful to align with the Thanksgiving holiday, and of course it for those who celebrate, we had to acknowledge Halloween with our newly instituted TYC Spirit Days – Costume Day. November was a time for remembrance and has ended with a growing interest in the impending winter holidays.
Apart from a focus on the ongoing holiday and cultural celebrations, all the children at Tender Years Co-operative School Inc. have been learning through their busy hands and bodies!
Ms. Navodya and Ms. Hotchkiss have started the year in the Toddler Program with a bang and they are thrilled to have lots of little friends ready to play, learn, and grow! The goal this fall season for the Toddlers has been to work on self-feeding skills during snack and lunch times, as well as to try new foods. With a focus on communicating their needs, the children have been introduced to some basic sign language, specifically learning signs for “more,” “eat,” and “all done.” Pairing hand actions with verbal language builds connections in the brain and improves the development of early communication and language skills.
This month, continuing to April, the primary goal will be getting dressed and undressed independently (for example putting on/taking off hats, zipping up coats). As a child-directed and focused school, of course the teachers also observe the students’ interests each week to carefully integrate them into the overall Toddler Program. Current interests are: farm animals, play-doh, cooking in the kitchen, taking care of baby, handprint making, and singing the alphabet. At circle time singing songs and using instruments are also enjoyed by the Toddler friends. This particular interest was further explored when Ms. Navodya and Ms. Hotchkiss welcomed in a local musician who entertained the toddlers with an interactive music performance, which included an opportunity to explore the instruments and sing along with some favourite songs!
All three Preschool programs have had a happy start to the year learning the routine, singing songs together, and exploring outside the classroom. Leaves have been raked, collected, used to paint, and examined to determine similarities and differences. Number recognition has been introduced with counting, patterning provocations, including the use of counters, flashcards, and measuring ingredients to make play dough. Mrs. Beebe, Ms. Oteng, Mrs. Charron, and Ms. Melendez have introduced Handwriting Without Tears and Mat Man to all the students. The children are practicing holding a pencil, where to start their letters when writing, and making “big lines and little lines” and “big curves and little curves” to build their writing skills and understanding of letter formation.
The children are also making strides with their independence and literacy by learning their names and what letter their names start with. Our Sheridan College student, Zainab has helped further name recognition skills in creating a “check in, check out station” in Preschool 1, where the students are encouraged to look for their name to sign in and out when they come in for the day, and when they depart.
Fine motor skills are being strengthened through activities which focus on cutting, threading, beading, puzzle assembly, and by using a variety of tools and mediums to create painted masterpieces including cars, trucks, animals, Jell-o, pine branches, and brushes.
Other learning goals include building self-help skills like dressing independently and p
roblem solving by using words to identify and communicate feelings and needs to peers and teachers. The children’s interests have also been followed in the sensory bins and really, throughout the classroom environments. The children have explored various materials such as pebbles, measuring cups, and Frozen characters, and they have also experimented with water running through PVC pipes, even building a working volcano out of boxes and plastic bottles! The learning never ends in preschool!
KICKING IT UP IN KINDERGARTEN
The kindergarten year is off to a wonderful start too! In turn, Mrs. Milec, Ms. Ward, and Ms. Avril have been teaching a lovely class of eleven students on a daily basis. The students have shown a wide range of interests from dinosaurs to doctors, to farmers’ markets, to cities.
In Literacy, the Kindergarten children have started their Handwriting Without Tears workbooks. They are also learning weekly letters and words and are working on daily journal entries. Each day the children are given a thought provoking question to reflect upon and in turn, write and draw about in their personal journals. It has been fascinating to watch their fine motor skills develop in conjunction with their ideas and artwork. Shared writing activities have been posted to Facebook and included a focus on writing “spooky stories” around Halloween time.
In Numeracy, the Kindergarten children are focusing on weekly numbers and exploring them further through patterning, graphing, and measurement activities. It has been very exciting graphing our surroundings and taking note of everything that can be COUNTED. The children especially enjoyed estimating the weight of various pumpkins, and then determining their actual weight!
A prime area of interest for the Kindergarten children has been the block area where complex cities and towers have been created to represent the endless ideas the children have about what to adults,
likely look like simple wooden blocks. This has inspired investigations into towers, buildings, and cities from around the world, which has seen student block creations of the CN Tower, the Burj, and many other cities from around the world!
We’re now moving into the holiday season and the children are busy learning about the importance of giving via our combined Food Drive and Hat and Mitten Drive. Our recent Poinsettia & Wreath Fundraiser was a HUGE success this year, raising twice the funds of last year; and our recent Holiday Concert was enjoyed by an audience of nearly 200 people!
It’s clear the Tender Years Difference is alive and well, and we’re making a difference in the lives of children, families, staff, and the community each and every day!