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Pre-K: Lionni, Lawrence and Legos

For "Ll" week, Pre-K explored the author Leo Lionni and the American artist Jacob Lawrence, in addition to our work with letter and number lacing cards, Lincoln logs and light!

Language and Literacy

As we’ve mentioned before, part of our job in Pre-K is to build up the core strength your children will need as they sit for longer periods of time at tables in Kindergarten. In addition to writing while lying on our backs underneath our table, we are also starting to do some of our work on vertical surfaces, which builds arm, shoulder and core strength. This writing exercise also helps children to balance their bodies in a different way while using their fine motor skills. Pre-K enjoyed vertically writing, coloring and stamping on table easels for the first few days of this week, and we will continue to return to this activity throughout the remainder of the year.

Our literacy work centered on Leo Lionni, specifically on his books little blue and little yellow and Pezzetino. I’ve sent out an email to the class with a more in-detail description of our author study so that this newsletter can remain broader in scope.

Children loved the book What the Rat Told Me: A Legend of the Chinese Zodiac, which we read in honor of the Lunar New Year! On Friday, we made Lunar Lanterns, which children crafted using only a little adult support and then decorated to bring home.

Math and Science

Martine and I have been thinking about how we might incorporate more materials into our everyday work. With that in mind, in addition to revisiting number locks and keys (which the class seems to love), we painted on ice and discussed what happened as it melts. We used dry erase markers on mirrors and eventually built with Lincoln logs on top of mirrors, noticing what happened to the image of whatever we built in the mirror. This will be a good introduction to symmetry later in the year.


Learning about the artist Jacob Lawrence (American, 1917-2000) this week was a fun way to tie in our many discussions about maps and neighborhoods. First, we read parts of Story Painter: The Life of Jacob Lawrence, and children noticed what shapes and colors Lawrence used to paint his Harlem neighborhood, while also imagining what other sights and sounds might have been around him as he worked. Then, they sketched either something from their own neighborhoods or ones from their imaginations. On Thursday, we used Lawrence’s signature colors to paint over their sketches, and, for group work that day, we had an art exhibit in the big room, during which each child had the opportunity to talk about what they had created. Both the paintings and quotes are on view in the hallway.

Building Area and Dramatic Play

Legos in the building area were a HUGE hit this week, so much so that we will be leaving them out for at least part of "Rr" week. One thing in particular we love about Legos is how accessible they are to everyone. It was so much fun to watch so many different children cycle in and out, using their imaginations, cooperating, working on their own and increasing their fine motor skills as they played. Our dramatic play area was transformed into a cozy library for the week, and children loved just sitting on our giant white comforter reading on their own or in pairs. It was a nice escape from the hustle and bustle of our week.

A final note: we are starting to intentionally mix up groups of children, whether in pairs, at tables for snack and lunch, for group work or as they play. We’ve loved watching our class get comfortable with one another and want to give everyone the chance to get to know as broad a range of classmates as possible. Every so often I’m checking in with each child to ask for names of people they’d like to spend some time with the following week. So, we are certainly following their lead while also interspersing a little guidance of our own, from time to time, during our days. We hope that this “mix it up” will spark new friendships without neglecting the old! This will be an ongoing trend for a bit, so don’t hesitate to let me know if you have any observations or questions.

Thank you again to Lindsay, Nate’s mom, for stepping in on Friday! And please continue to give your child lots of practice getting all bundled up to go outside on their own. The more independent they can be and the faster they can manage it, the longer we have outside on the playground.

Have a wonderful weekend; see you on Monday.

Emily and Martine

Questions to Ask Your Child:

How many animals are in the Chinese Zodiac? Why?

Did you like Glueing about Reading or Ripping about Reading more? Why?

What did you build with Legos and/or Lincoln logs?

Which did you like more, It's Mine! or An Extraordinary Egg?

Can you sing "Five Little Lions"?

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