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5-Day: Learning About Families

This week's focus in 5-Day has been on families. Our morning meeting discussions have been about: What is a family? How many people make up a family? Is a pet part of a family? What about family members who don't live with you? We have been comparing and contrasting our thoughts about siblings, babies, pets and grandparents as well as traveling far and near to visit. As we delve into these ideas, the children analyze facts and examine differences and similarities on an extremely personal theme.

We looked at the family through art in different ways. First, we created a family tree. The children traced their arms and hands to make their tree trunks with branches. Then, they added a canopy of leaves. Next, they placed circles on their trees representing family members. Some children put faces on the circles. They came out wonderful. As a class we looked at the whole group and we noticed that some trees were very full, while others had a few circles. Some had eyes and mouths, while other circles were more detailed. We decided everyone had a family, but there were differences between each and that's okay. Another way in which the class represented their families was to draw them. Each child really thought about how many members there were in their family and many wanted to know how to write the names of each. The proportion of the drawings was also important to many of the children; for example, we heard comments such as, "This is Daddy because he is very tall." The use of color was also considered by some, as one child said, "We all have golden hair, except for Daddy." And, some children focused their attention on the detail within the family drawings; for instance, one child said, "My brother and I each have shirts with faces." The focus, attention and enjoyment given to this task were fabulous to watch and to be part of. It was absolutely priceless. The children were very happy explaining who was who in each family and they were so proud of what they accomplished.

Our dramatic play area is back to being a home, full of princesses taking care of babies while Daddy cooks. Water play is a busy station as well, with floating homes, blocks and people. We also brought a doll house into the block area to further enrich our theme. The class created a family graph, using math vocabulary such as less/more/equal. Our playdough table was very popular this week, as the children created people with the playdough, pipe cleaners for arms, and beads for eyes and clothing. We have also seen a lot of family dramatic play on the playground, too. The children play "house" in one of the structures and, then, have to chase the runaway baby around the playground.

We continued our study of letters - how they are shaped, sounds they make and words they may begin. The children exercised their fine motors skills by drawing with markers, cutting spaghetti with scissors or stretching elastics on geoboards. As always, the book and puzzles area was busy and the easel was usually full.

Thank you for the contributions of empty food containers and boxes--keep them coming!

Thank you to the parents for taking the time to come to a conference. We love having this special time with you to share how wonderful your children are.

Some books we read this week:

Go, Dog. Go! by P.D. Eastman

The Visitor by Antje Damm

Alphabet by Matthew Van Fleet

The Teddy Bears Picnic by Jimmy Kennedy

I Got a Family by Melrose Cooper

What Mommies Do Best/What Daddies Do Best by Laura Numeroff

Caroline and Cathy

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