This is the sixth and final article in a series about The Grove School Summer Program. The program runs from Monday, June 7 through Friday August 27, 2010 at both our Cary, NC and Plano, TX schools. Learn more about the program.
Outside My Window
After learning about the Earth’s five biomes — deserts, forests, grasslands, tundras, and aquatic — this unit introduces children to ways of caring for and preserving our planet. The dramatic play center will become a recycling center filled with a variety of materials for children to discover, explore and dispose of in the appropriate recycling bins.
Literacy activities include making nature booklets and writing a class letter to the Earth. In small-group science activities, children will experiment with Earth-friendly energy sources such as the wind, and even plant their own marigold seeds.
What We’ll Read
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle by Rozanne Lanczak Williams
This book introduces the concept of recycling to children in a format they will enjoy — a song! Each page of the book contains a line of the song and shows how simple items children use every day can be reduced, reused, and recycled. Children learn how they can work together to perform the very important task of taking care of the Earth.
Culminating Event — School Cleanup
In this final unit’s event, children will put what they have learned about caring for the Earth into practice as they participate in a school-wide cleanup effort. Children will also help sort recyclable materials in the classroom recycling center to be taken to a real recycling center. Children will learn an ecology pledge encouraging them to continue to help take care of our special planet.
This is the fifth article in a series about The Grove School Summer Program. The program runs from Monday, June 7 through Friday August 27, 2010 at both our Cary, NC and Plano, TX schools. Learn more about the program.
During this unit children will have many opportunities to learn about the frigid climates of the Arctic and Antarctic tundras. They will discover how animals are able to survive the harsh tundra weather through large-group discussions such as How Tundra Animals Stay Warm. Children will practice fine-motor skills as they write or draw pictures in their journals of an imaginary journey as a polar bear. Math skills will be expanded on as children sort items in ice-cube trays and measure ingredients for sugar cookies.
What We’ll Read
The Emperor’s Egg by Martin Jenkins
At the very bottom of the world, in a place called Antarctica, the Emperor penguins rule. In his book The Emperor’s Egg, Martin Jenkins describes the life of the world’s most devoted father: the male Emperor penguin. Children will be amazed to hear how he stands in the cold for two whole months with nothing to eat, all while balancing his baby’s egg on his feet and keeping it warm by tucking it up under his thick tummy feathers.
The Emperor’s Egg is a fun, fact-filled book sure to capture every child’s interest during the two-week unit about the frozen tundras.
Culminating Event — Arctic Games
The culminating event for the unit Arctic Adventures will find children slipping, sliding, and sledding in their own Arctic Games! Children will work together to learn fun winter games such as the Dogsled Race and the Penguin Snowball Pass, which they will play during the Arctic Games.
This is the fourth article in a series about The Grove School Summer Program. The program runs from Monday, June 7 through Friday August 27, 2010 at both our Cary, NC and Plano, TX schools. Learn more about the program.
Under the Sea
This unit is awash with fun opportunities for your child to learn about the water biome. Large-group discussions include differences between saltwater and fresh-water bodies of water, whether or not water animals make good pets, and fun fish facts. Since many children are fascinated by sea creatures, they will have fun practicing measurement concepts in activities such as How Big Are Whales? Science concepts will also be introduced in water-related activities such as testing objects that sink and float, and experimenting with funnels. Throughout the two-week unit, children will have many opportunities to explore an under-the-sea environment — complete with treasure chest! — in the dramatic play center.
What We’ll Read
The Ocean Alphabet Book by Jerry Pallotta
“A is for Atlantic Ocean…B is for Bluefish….” In The Ocean Alphabet Book, children are invited to come along on an alphabetical journey through the North Atlantic Ocean. While having fun identifying different sea life from A to Z, children are also making connections between letters and their sounds. Each page answers ocean-related questions and gives fascinating details about sea life.The book’s watercolor illustrations in ocean-color hues of blues and greens are inviting elements for readers of all ages.
Culminating Event — Water Day
Splish! Splash! Sploosh! The Water Day event at the end of this unit is sure to provide wet and wacky fun for all. During this event, children will demonstrate different water-related activities they have enjoyed over the past two weeks. Will this object sink or float? Let’s test it! Let’s make bubbles with our hands! Here’s how!
This is the third article in a series about The Grove School Summer Program. The program runs from Monday, June 7 through Friday August 27, 2010 at both our Cary, NC and Plano, TX schools. Learn more about the program.
Where the Green Grass Grows
During this unit children will have fun learning about different grassland environments and the wonderful animals that live in the grasslands through a variety of small-group and large-group activities. For example, children will draw pictures of and practice writing about an imaginary walk in the grasslands in their journals.
They will also explore measurement in the activity The Length of a Giraffe’s Neck, and graphing and patterning in the activity Animal-Coat Patterns.
What We’ll Read
We All Went on Safari — A Counting Journey Through Tanzania by Laurie Krebs
This delightful book by Laurie Krebs takes children on an exciting counting adventure through the grasslands of Tanzania. As children help count the animals from one to ten that they encounter during their Tanzanian journey, they also learn how to count from one to ten in Swahili. Informative and entertaining, We All Went on Safari — A Counting Journey Through Tanzania is a book children will delight in hearing again and again.
Culminating Event — Wildlife Safari
To celebrate the end of this unit, children will have opportunities to express their creativity by making their own animal masks. They will also be encouraged to wear their masks during the event and pretend to be the safari animals their masks represent.
This is the second article in a series about The Grove School Summer Program. The program runs from Monday, June 7 through Friday August 27, 2010 at both our Cary, NC and Plano, TX schools. Learn more about the program.
Bees, Trees, and Me
During this unit, children will learn about rain forests and boreal forests. The classroom environment is filled with pictures and objects representing each type of forest, allowing children to gain a better understanding of the greatness and wonders of forests and forest environments. Creating books and writing in their journals about forest adventures will further children’s abilities to recognize letters and their sounds and give them practice with fine-motor skills. Children will also participate in measurement, sorting, and patterning activities that will enhance their mathematical thinking.
What We’ll Read
The Salamander Room by Anne Mazer
The Salamander Room is a beautifully illustrated book showing the importance of the forest environment to the life of a little salamander. With imagination and care, a young boy transforms his bedroom into a forest home good enough for any salamander. As the story unfolds, the boy’s mother asks him how he will accommodate the needs of the salamander and the other forest animals, revealing the intricacies of boreal forests and the myriad of animals who depend on forests to survive.
With its wondrous forest scenes in glowing, woodsy hues, The Salamander Room is sure to captivate children’s imagination and inspire them to learn more about forests and the creatures who live within them.
Culminating Event — Campfire
Some preschool-age children have already experienced the thrill of sitting around campfires with family and friends. For this unit’s culminating event, children will participate in a pretend campfire experience. Children will work together to create paper logs and paper fire for the “centerpiece” campfire. They will also sing camp songs and eat trail mix they have made themselves.
This is the first article in a series about The Grove School Summer Program. The program runs from Monday, June 7 through Friday August 27, 2010 at both our Cary, NC and Plano, TX schools. Learn more about the program.
Golden Sands and Desert Lands
During this unit children explore one of the world’s most fascinating biomes — the sandy landscape of desert regions. Deserts cover about one fifth of the Earth’s surface and receive less than 10 inches of rain per year. They display extreme temperatures and are filled with wonderful plants and animals that have developed interesting ways of surviving the harsh desert climate.
Children will be introduced to different types of deserts, the animal and plant life that inhabit them, and the weather conditions that make this biome so unique. Through math, literacy, science, and art experiences, your child will investigate animal tracks, learn why camels have humps and cacti have spines, and much more.
What We’ll Read
The Three Little Javelinas by Susan Lowell
This American Southwest version of The Three Little Pigs teaches children about the desert biome as they also expand their knowledge of the desert and some of the creatures who live there. The rich text encourages vocabulary development by inviting children to learn new words from the desert environment. The book’s wonderful illustrations of the three cowboy javelinas and its expressive and humorous language are sure to entertain children and create further interest in the desert and its creatures.
Culminating Event — Sand-Art Gallery
The culminating event for the unit Golden Sands and Desert Lands will be a Sand-Art Gallery. Throughout the unit, children will create artwork using sand to display at the Sand-Art Gallery. Children will also make invitations to the event for family members and friends.
Physical fitness and nutrition go hand in hand. Healthy Me teaches children the importance of physical activity as well as nutritious foods.
The benefits of Healthy Me influence every domain of a child’s development–emotional, social, physical, and cognitive. The Grove School aims to foster children’s self-esteem, build interaction and teamwork skills, develop movement capabilities, and enhance an understanding of what it means to be healthy and physically fit.
Healthy Me Goals
Our school day offers developmentally and individually appropriate experiences that help children gain confidence in their movement and develop healthy lifestyles. Overall goals guiding the program are identified below. These goals address the program’s purpose, and are in alignment with the standards and guidelines set forth by the American Association for Health Education (AAHE) and the National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE).
Our goals for the Healthy Me program are to:
- Improve children’s levels of fitness through movement
- Nurture children’s natural love of moving through playful movement activities
- Enhance children’s understanding of movement concepts, principles, and strategies
- Help children develop the dispositions, knowledge, and interpersonal skills necessary for achieving and maintaining health-related fitness
- Increase children’s understanding of the roles of physical activity and nutritious foods in the body’s performance
- Provide children with information that will positively influence their physical fitness and food choices
- Generate enthusiasm among children and families for healthful living
In addition to the primary focus on physical activity and movement, Healthy Me teaches children the importance of eating nutritious foods. Nutrition concepts taught in the lessons are based on guidelines and recommendations from the 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans and MyPyramid for Kids.
When teaching nutrition concepts to young children, we take into consideration that children come from a variety of backgrounds in terms of the foods they are exposed to and the foods they eat on a regular basis. Teachers try to keep any personal biases or feelings about certain foods out of the lessons. Food choices and preferences vary greatly from family to family. We accept and respect these variations.
We also support the understanding that all foods can provide beneficial nutrients to the body. Therefore, no food should ever be labeled as either “good” or “bad.” In Healthy Me, foods that provide the most benefits to the body are referred to as “anytime” foods. Children and families learn that anytime foods are foods that support growth and provide the body with energy and nutrients that maintain health. Children learn to enjoy a variety of “anytime” foods each day.
On the other hand, “sometimes” foods are foods that may provide energy, but do not provide essential vitamins and minerals the body needs to grow. Children and families learn that “sometimes” foods can occasionally be included in their meals and snacks.
There is wide agreement among the scientific and educational communities that motor skills develop as a result of the interaction between a child’s hereditary potential and his or her life experiences. Children’s physical abilities and motor skills develop in a predictable manner. Changes in physical development are qualitative, sequential, cumulative, directional, multifactorial, and individual (NASPE, 1995).
Here’s a description of these characteristics.
Qualitative. Children’s motor skills change in qualitative ways as they grow and gain experience. For example, the running of a three-year-old child looks very different from the running of a nine-year-old child. The movement patterns of typically developing children become more effective as they age.
Sequential. Children’s motor skills develop in a sequential, orderly manner over time, progressing naturally from immature to advanced. Activities designed to support children’s physical development should follow a scope and sequence based on both vertical and
horizontal progressions of skill development. Activities within each block of Healthy Me follow a scope and sequence based on knowledge of motor-skill development in children. The early childhood years are associated with the fundamental movement phase of motor development. Healthy Me teachers have knowledge of the typical sequence of acquisition for fundamental motor skills such as walking and jumping.
Cumulative. Developmental change is built upon previous developments. Fundamental motor skills act as building blocks for more complex skills. For example, the ability to walk is a building block for the later emergence of the ability to run. Foundational skills and abilities should be developed before more complex and difficult skills are introduced. Children are offered sufficient opportunities within planned learning experiences to practice the skills they are acquiring. This helps children develop a sense of confidence about their movement abilities. In Healthy Me, children are given multiple opportunities to repeat activities and to explore specific motor skills in multiple ways before more complex activities are introduced.
Directional. Developmental change occurs in a direction, or toward a goal. In terms of movement, the ultimate goal may be for children to become skilled movers. The direction of developmental change can be progressive, moving toward the goal; or regressive, moving away from the goal. Change may be regressive with age, progression of a disease, or lack of practice.
Multifactorial. Motor skills do not develop in a vacuum–they develop simultaneously with skills and abilities in other domains of human development including cognitive, social, affective, and psychomotor. Development depends on many factors acting together. For example, a child must have strength, balance, perceptual capabilities, and motivation to develop the ability to hop on one foot. Healthy Me goals and outcomes consider interactions between all areas of a child’s development. These goals and outcomes have been carefully designed to acknowledge children’s skills and abilities related to all domains of development.
Individualized. In addition to following the predetermined program scope and sequence for skills instruction within each block, teachers implement Healthy Me in a way that is consistent with children’s individual abilities, skills, and knowledge. Motor-skill development is age-related, but not age-determined. For example, one four year-old may have developed the ability to alternate feet while ascending stairs, but another child of the same age may still be placing both feet on each step. The rate of motor-skill development differs from one child to another, depending on each child’s body characteristics, experiences, and environmental situations.
Healthy Me considers children’s individual characteristics such as developmental status, body size, age, previous movement experiences, and fitness and skill levels. The program recognizes differing capabilities for movement and provides learning experiences that challenge each child to move to his or her next stage of development.