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Pre-K: Degas, Dinosaurs and Density

Pre-K’s week was filled with all things Degas, dinosaur and density…

Language and Literacy

Although we focus on the lower case alphabet in Pre-K, we still want to make sure that children connect the upper case form with the lower case form of each letter of the alphabet. We play lots of games that enforce that connection, including the one we played at the beginning of the week: each of 2 pieces of a ladybug puzzle fit together only if the upper/lower case match is correct. The other side of the ladybug shows a word starting with that letter. Children loved it and we highly recommend games like this as your child becomes more and more interested in reading actual text. Soon we will also be introducing rhyming to get children starting to think about entire words and word families.

Our other language and literacy excitement was that we brought in a large egg, put it in water and asked the children to look and predict what they thought might hatch out of it...the guesses ranged from dinosaur to chicken to turtle. The next day, the egg started to hatch, so children again drew what they saw and revised their written predictions. On Friday, we had our answer, and we leave you to guess what emerged from our egg!


Our math work centered on counting on (which is a precursor to addition); we also focused on using comparative math terms, such has longer, shorter, biggest and smallest. We challenged children to use eye droppers and watercolors to fill circles of different sizes, and then to compare the number of drops each circle required. The coordination and precision needed for squeezing out individual drops from eye droppers also helps to develop the fine motor strength children need as they start to write and encourages them to use proper pencil grip. Later in the week, children played the game “Race to Fill the Cup” with die and dinosaur counters. Each child took a turn rolling two die and adding that number of dinosaur counters to their cup. Whoever filled their cup first won! We also used dominos and had children count the dots of each half of a domino tile. They represented that number both cardinally and using the tally marks we practiced last week. Finally, we had children work in table groups to measure and compare images of dinosaurs. One table used tiny cubes, another used larger unifix cubes and the last used mosaic tiles. We talked as a class about how using larger units of measurement would require fewer of them than using smaller units would to measure the same distance, and children again had a chance to practice math vocabulary, such as shortest, tallest, longest, biggest and smallest.


Steve the Scientist started our week with a visit that combined both magic and science. Children loved learning about magnification, sinking and floating. Martine extended our time with Steve to teach the class about density during Science Friday! After a brief discussion to define the term density and to demonstrate it as well, she tested a number of objects and had children predict which would sink and which would float in water. Children marked a “d” next to the pictures of the items that sunk because of higher density than the water.


Children learned about the artist Edgar Degas this week. After reading Dancing with Degas and Marie in Fourth Position, we first discussed the differences between a two-dimensional painting and a three-dimensional sculpture. Instead of Writing about Reading, as we usually do on Wednesdays, we tried Sculpting about Reading; children worked with clay to create their own little dancers. The next day, they again used watercolor to decorate cupcake liners for tutus, which we then attached to their dancers. Their sculptures are on view in the big room. At the end of the week, we made our October self portraits using pastels, just as Degas did for a lot of his two-dimensional art. They are on view above our cubbies!

Music and Gross Motor

We were so excited to have music with Steve after a break last Wednesday. We were also lucky to be able to have Creative Movement with Coach John outside because of the beautiful weather. Children are learning to listen and be attentive in an active environment as well as in the classroom, and are honing and strengthening their gross motor muscles for games like soccer and hockey.

We hope that you have a wonderful weekend and get lots of time outside enjoying the crisp fall weather with your families!

Emily and Martine

Questions to ask your child

  • Why did Penelope Rex from We Don’t Eat Our Classmates have trouble making friends at school at first?

  • Which animals were in The Circus Ship by Chris Van Dusen?

  • Can you show me your dancer’s position?

  • What hatched from the egg? What had you predicted would hatch?

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