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Curriculum Post any curriculum ideas, activites or projects that wouldbe helpful to our Daycare community. What is your teaching philosophy?

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  #1  
Old 03-01-2011, 01:58 PM
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SilverSabre25 SilverSabre25 is offline
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Default How Long With One Theme?

For people who make their own curriculum--

how long do you spend with one theme? A week? 2 weeks? a month? Even if you're doing a theme that the kids are interested in (say...Rainbows, or Trains) do you ever call an end to that theme and try for another?

If a theme is running for a long time, do you keep coming up with new activities, or recycle old ones, that are pertinent to the theme?
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Old 03-01-2011, 02:03 PM
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We end when the kids lose interest. If it goes on for several months, I keep looking for new ideas. Usually, they will express interest of a "theme within a theme" For instance when we started learning about "the inside of my body" as a child wanted know what it looked like, it evolved into other areas, such as health, safety, nutrition, exercise.
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Old 03-01-2011, 02:09 PM
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I plan one month at a time.... I always reteach in the afternoon what we learned in the morning. I then look to see which of the songs, activities, lessons the kids picked up on the best and excited them the most.

I will then make sure to add these to our daily lessons. by the end of the month we are having a blast.... it also helps me to learn which way the child learns best..... or group
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Old 03-01-2011, 06:12 PM
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I like Crystal's answer and it's how I used to do things, but am having a hard time keeping their interest (I think because they are only here 2 days/week for 3 hours). So, right now I switch it up every week or two.
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Old 03-02-2011, 04:15 AM
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I never heard how your no toy week went. Did you post about that?
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Old 03-02-2011, 04:28 AM
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i basically do the same as crystal.

mine are all young 2's right now, so some things last a week, a day, or they seem to drag on forever...lol

so even though we are stuck on trains i'm trying to web off of that, like tractors, or other forms of transportation, just to change it up a bit, and add a little spark.

or sometimes i will throw something out there, just to get something else going.

i put out a large cardboard box and painted it brown, thinking it could be a bear cave. however, it ended up being....you guessed it......a train station
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Old 03-02-2011, 08:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nannyde View Post
I never heard how your no toy week went. Did you post about that?
Thanks for asking Nannyde, I think I posted something brief, but things were so busy with Christmas time, I never got around to posting more.

It went pretty well. For the week, we called our playroom the Invention Room. The children obviously knew that we weren't going to have typical toys and instead we would make our own toys and play with whatever we could find.

Some of the children spent a lot of time making and playing with forts and by the end of the week, they were getting great at setting them up themselves or at least knowing how they wanted it and asking for help when they needed.

We had one whole day (and then some...) where we spent most of our time rolling balls and cotton down long cardboard tubes. The cotton balls kept getting stuck, so we had to problem solve how to get it out. The kids tried putting more cotton balls down (didn't work ), then they tried getting a ruler to push it down (wasn't long enough). They tried hitting the tube on the ground, didn't work. Eventually we taped together a bunch of pencils to poke it through. They put the cotton ball in and got it unstuck dozens of times- it was a huge hit and all their own doing-which was great.

We did a lot of other things, we made guitars (boxes and rubber bands) and did a lot of recyclable art and made boxes into train cars, etc etc.

As many people predicted, it was more work for me, which was fine. They needed help problem solving and trying to figure things out more then normal, which I expected in some ways, but didn't realize how much help they would need. I didn't really like the level of teacher involvement that it needed, I thought that the children would be able to figure things out by themselves more. I'm not typically one who leads their play (I much prefer to follow their lead), which is what I felt I had to do when they were stuck on how to do something or make something.

I think the No toy week probably would have been more successful if I had already had an "Invention Corner" and the children were used to putting things together and figuring things out themselves. I also think that it would have gone better if I had done this with older children. My group this year is young (2-3's) and if I'd had some 4-yr olds, I think they would have been able to lead the pack more and I would have been able to be less involved. This is why I prefer mixed age groups, and I think I'll have this mix next year (fingers crossed).

I did continue the No Toy theme for a while with an Invention Corner. I really wanted to be able to supply these items on a regular basis to the children, so that they could start figuring things out for themselves. I just recently took down our Invention Corner to make way for Sensory items (although there are still lots of Invention materials around, just not in one area). I really wish I had a bigger space...

We continued with our "Invention Room" and made one area of our room into an "Invention Corner" and things continued for quite a while. I actually just took some of the stuff out to incorporate sensory stuff. I really wish I had more space and could have in everything that we wanted.

Overall, I'm very glad that I did it. I think you were right Nannyde about it being a huge parent pleaser, which is was, and it was a nice way to kick off our "Invention Corner" and it was a nice way to do things right before Christmas, when things are so focused on buying buying buying. Also, I was just really glad that the kiddos didn't get bored and didn't start having negative behaviors (like, making tubes into swords or death rays or something). They were great and enjoyed themselves and yeh, we all learned a little at least.
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Old 03-02-2011, 02:46 PM
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Would you have that BE your program if you had the space?
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Old 03-02-2011, 04:53 PM
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No, I would never really do away completely with toys. However, I need to be more intentional when I purchase toys or add toys into the room. What exactly do I hope to accomplish with each addition? I follow several blogs that seem to have almost all real materials and only a few store-bought toys and I would aspire to having a program like those. These are programs that usually have fantastic outdoor spaces full of life and earth and real nature (not the plastic cars that I have in my yard presently ).

Keep in mind, I don't think there is anything inherently wrong with toys, not at all! There are soo many great toys on the market right now, but I just don't understand (well, I understand, I just don't want to get caught up with it) being caught up in the toy mania and buying everything under the sun for children. Children need to explore. They need to use real materials. They need to use their imaginations and not have toys that 'do it all' for them.

I know a few people here follow Teacher Tom's blog. He is a preschool teacher in a parent cooperative. They seem to have a tremendous space (in size and contents) dedicated to their preschool. The materials that they have allow for creative expression, creative thinking, problem solving and creating lots of 'Inventions' . I am amazed by so many of his posts.

If you check out his blog, check out his post from a couple of days ago about the sequencing cards...love it.

In order to accomplish what I really want to, I would need an outdoor space that was truly mine and I could do anything with (I rent now) and would like to have a larger indoor dedicated space. I would also love to have a few more children and another teacher working with me. Oh how I miss real-life coworkers (although I really do LOVE coming on here and going on and on about what I really want ).
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Old 03-02-2011, 05:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kendallina View Post
No, I would never really do away completely with toys. However, I need to be more intentional when I purchase toys or add toys into the room. What exactly do I hope to accomplish with each addition? I follow several blogs that seem to have almost all real materials and only a few store-bought toys and I would aspire to having a program like those. These are programs that usually have fantastic outdoor spaces full of life and earth and real nature (not the plastic cars that I have in my yard presently ).

Keep in mind, I don't think there is anything inherently wrong with toys, not at all! There are soo many great toys on the market right now, but I just don't understand (well, I understand, I just don't want to get caught up with it) being caught up in the toy mania and buying everything under the sun for children. Children need to explore. They need to use real materials. They need to use their imaginations and not have toys that 'do it all' for them.

I know a few people here follow Teacher Tom's blog. He is a preschool teacher in a parent cooperative. They seem to have a tremendous space (in size and contents) dedicated to their preschool. The materials that they have allow for creative expression, creative thinking, problem solving and creating lots of 'Inventions' . I am amazed by so many of his posts.

If you check out his blog, check out his post from a couple of days ago about the sequencing cards...love it.

In order to accomplish what I really want to, I would need an outdoor space that was truly mine and I could do anything with (I rent now) and would like to have a larger indoor dedicated space. I would also love to have a few more children and another teacher working with me. Oh how I miss real-life coworkers (although I really do LOVE coming on here and going on and on about what I really want ).

I would love to know what the addresses for those blogs are, if you are willing to share
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Old 03-02-2011, 05:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ammama View Post
I would love to know what the addresses for those blogs are, if you are willing to share
oops...

Teacher Tom
http://teachertomsblog.blogspot.com/

Irresistible Ideas...
http://www.playbasedlearning.com.au/

There are others...check out the sticky list of websites at the top of the curriculum forum page.

Sorry to hijack your thread SilverSabre...
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