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Pre-K: Patterns, Picasso and Pollock

Last week, I attended our son’s Curriculum Night, during which his grade-head talked about taking a “restorative” approach towards behavior management. While Charlie is now in 6th grade, I am trying to work some of the same ideas into our Pre-K classroom more concretely. For instance, when a child is disruptive during morning meeting, we take a few minutes to talk about how that behavior affects his/her peers’ learning rather than simply that one child. When one classmate feels excluded by others, we are encouraging the kids to listen respectfully to each other, even if that means missing out on some time to play. There are still times when, after a warning, we may close an area of the classroom to a child for a few minutes. And, 4-5 year olds aren’t yet ready to engage in the same more lengthy discussions that older children can handle, so we keep everything brief. But, because this is such a kind group of classmates, we hope that this ongoing discussion will encourage children to ask themselves, “How can I fix this?”

Language and Literacy

Pre-K learned a new phonics game this week that we will modify throughout the year. It’s called "Kaboom!" and it helps children connect letters with their sounds. We will be using it much later in the year to practice consonant-vowel-consonant (CVC) and sight words, but, for now, we are simply using it for children to recognize and articulate the sounds that letters (both in their upper and lower case forms) make.

Last year, during Bowen’s canned and boxed food drive, children counted and sorted items for the Newton Food Pantry. On Friday, each child created a postcard for a client of the Food Pantry, who is less lucky than we are, and I will deliver them as soon as possible. In addition to having a brief discussion about the Food Pantry itself, we talked about what each element of a postcard is (address, stamp, signature, etc.), and children drew pictures and signed their names - we were "Pproud"!

Math and Science

We started "Pp" week in math by creating patterns with unifix cubes and then pom poms. Using unifix cubes, children followed a pattern set out for them, but, with the pom poms they created their own patterns, which can be seen on our math bulletin board. Eventually, we asked them to continue a pattern that was started for them, and they did so magnificently! We also created paper plate pizzas and asked children to count the number of pepperoni slices, pepper pieces and cheese pieces that they used.

On Fridays our group work is Science Friday, led by Martine. This Friday, the children learned about pulleys and how we use our bodies to push, pull and create power. Ask your child to demonstrate this simple machine - you will be amazed at how much they can do with items from home.

Dramatic Play and Building Rug

Our Dramatic Play area was a post office this week, and our Building Area incorporated both playstix and pipes. Children created ladders, houses, tools and more with all of those materials, and we loved seeing their creativity.


We had our first Music with Steve this week, and it was a success! He gets the kids up and moving, singing and dancing. Next week, we will meet with Steve as an entire school, which is so much fun.


Our artists of the week were Pablo Picasso and Jackson Pollock. After reading Picasso and the Girl with a Ponytail, we looked at some of Picasso’s cubist portraits. We, then, incorporated math into our work; children used shapes to draw a portrait of a friend. The next day, they used cut-out colored shapes to make a cubist collage of a person.

We used the second half of the week to explore Jackson Pollock. After watching a video about how Pollock worked, while listening to jazz and dancing, each child chose a sheet of colored paper, a tool and paint colors. The next day, we moved outside and, to big band music, children painted like Pollock on the ground. Our only rule was that they could NOT touch their tool to the paper. Tools included bottle brushes, rollers, sticks and turkey basters! On Friday, we moved our painting inside and made a collaborative Pollock, which is now up on our classroom wall. Our Picassos and individual Pollocks are in the Bowen hallway; make sure to take a look.

We hope that you have a wonderful, long weekend and wish a happy Rosh Hashanah to those who celebrate!

Emily and Martine

Questions to ask your child:

Which friend did you draw with shapes?

What did you sing in Music?

What was your pattern?

What colors did you use for your Pollock?

How does a pulley work?

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