Mrs. Sweezey

Welcome to Mrs. Sweezey's K4 Classroom

Posted: January 19, 2020

Last Friday was a particularly busy day and the children seemed a little restless.  Before things got too out of hand, I decided it would be a perfect time to complete a science experiment. 

Science is a great way to have fun and sneak in some learning and this day we made a lava lamp using oil, water, food colouring, and alka seltzer tabs.  Science allows the students to practice their listening skills, wonder a loud, and get excited about something new.  The response in the room to this simple experiment was amazing.  The children were excited and did so well listening, following instructions, and being safe.

Great job Team K4 <3

Posted: January 19, 2020

Since returning from the winter break, we have been reviewing our Zoo-phonics and practicing our letter recognition.  I tell the kids every day, that we do this important work because it is going to help us become awesome readers and writers.

Zoo-phonics is a hands on program that teaches us our letter sounds using fun animal friends with movement.  Each animal has a name, signal, and sound and the children are showing great progress.

Here is Sophie practicing her Zoo-phonics during morning free-play by reading the animal magnets on the white board.  Way to go Soph <3

Posted: January 19, 2020

I have spoken about the importance of proper gear and emphasized preparedness because appropriate clothing really is one of the most important items/topics a forest and nature school student needs to be safe and comfortable when outdoors.  Ultimately this means staying dry and warm throughout daily activities, however, even with all the right gear, children can still get cold, and a cold child, is a whiney child.  It happens to the best of us and while there are a number of ways to keep warm, one tip that I find most effective is to KEEP. MOVING.

Movement is a natural language in most preschool bodies and for the most part is strongly encouraged in our classroom - indoors and out.

When we move our bodies, we generate energy, which creates heat that gets trapped under our gear and helps us feel warm.  This is easier said than done and most little ones, even our busiest and wiggliest, may struggle because they have a hard time moving around all bundled up, which then tires them out.  When the children start standing around, it's only a matter of time before they start feeling cold.

In this video, we got ourselves moving by singing one of our favourite GoNoodle songs, Purple Stew.

Posted: January 19, 2020

For the last few years, I have taken a number of steps to educate myself on outdoor education, get myself trained and prepared to be the best educator my kiddos need, and currently I am working towards completing my practictioners course in forest and nature school.  With that said, I have had to do a lot of self-reflection, habit-breaking, and pretty much completely over-haul my teaching philosophy because afterall - #imhereforthekids.

Now, I'm not perfect.  In fact, while we have gone outside A LOT in the last 5 months, we've also been indoors a bunch too - and I take blame for that.  Getting outside is our goal and top priority, however, it is hard.  There is more to it than just gearing up and getting out, and at the same time, it's as easy as just that - gear up and get out.  

But sometimes, even with all the "right" gear, getting outside can be difficult if your mindset is not in a good place. 

Enter all the excuses.

When I wasn't working hard enough or complaining, my mom use to point out, "you're just making a 1000 excuses, smarten up" - so I will.

The joys of nature and outdoor play can't be limited to sunshine and warm temperatures.  In fact, as we seem to be entering deeper into our winter season, we must remember that snow is a massively important piece to our planet's climate!  The snow cover acts as a blanket to help regulate the earths surface temperature and once that snow melts, it will refill our many rivers and reservoirs.  Obviously, this bit of info may be a little over our K4 students heads, but if they can get outside and find joy in the many seasons mother earth provides us, there will be a better chance of them growing up to appreciate this planet and have the desire to take care of it.

On this particular day, we had just returned from Xmas break and were exploring the snow mountains built by our amazing community helpers.  It was cold and especially windy, but we went outside anyway.  We geared up and stayed outside as long as we could - approximately 25 minutes.  The weather challenged our clothing, but it was a perfect learning opportunity for all - 1) dress for the weather, 2) protect your face, 3) keep moving, 4) stay closer to "home", 5) keep it fun, 6) use your judgement, and 7) stay positive and know when to call it quits.

We may have only lasted 25 minutes, but a quick visit to Arendelle was all this group needed and back inside we went to warm up. 

 

Posted: January 19, 2020

See a pencil, pick-up the pencil, hold the pencil, then move the pencil - that's all writing is right?  Easy peesy?  Well, not so much.  There is a whole bunch of skills and steps leading up and inbetween that need to be considered and one big suggestion I can provide is to first - cut your preschooler a break.  Writing is hard work, especially if your expectations are not in line with where your kiddo is at developmentally.

In preschool, my main focus is on what early year education calls, "readiness" skills, and in this case, were talking about "pre-writing skills."  In K4, I see everything!  I'm constantly observing and taking note of the children, their interests, and progress, and using that info to challenge them. 

"Writing" at this age is great and does happen, some can write their names or make letters, but writing should not just be seen as a means to an end.  It's the journey baby and any form of "mark making" is acceptable, encouraged, and praised.  You may see scribbles or a messy colourer, but us educators see the beginnings of the next big deal.

Writing isn't just something we do with our hands - it's a whole body experience - we do it with our mind, heart, and with a core of steal.  It's all connected and so in K4, before we "write," we must climb and winter play provides the perfect conditions and whole body workout needed to strengthen our littlest scholars. 

Balance and coordination ---> hand-eye coordination ---> body awareness ---> muscular strength & endurance ---> postural control ---> etc.

With that said, encourage play, get those kiddos outside, and they'll be writing those manifestos before you know it. 

But first, lets give them something to write about.

 

Posted: January 19, 2020

Posted: November 22, 2019

Posted: November 8, 2019

I LOVE a group of students that enjoy dancing and boy, does this group of 12 like to boogie.  Every day we break out and move it, move it to help get out wiggles out, and in this clip Storm is tearing up the floor during our time in the gym.

Dance and movement is great for our physical development, social awareness, communication skills, self-expression, and cognitive development, just to list a few.

Posted: November 8, 2019

No one can resist a puddle. 

Storm was been with us since week 1 and he was grown soooo much.  Day after day, we would outside, and Storm would watch the other children run and jump in all the puddles they could find, but this day, something changed - he was finally ready to take his turn.

Playing in puddles is a great activity to investigate concepts like floating and sinking, and measuring depth.  It's also an awesome physical workout because it helps improve balance, gets that heart pumping, and can help improve sleep. 

Posted: November 8, 2019

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Added: Sun, Jan 19 2020

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Added: Sun, Jan 19 2020
Kicking it up a notch.
"We're making a purple stew . . ."
It was a cold and windy day . . .

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