Sprouts are embracing the fall weather and colors. They've been busy exploring the textures and patterns on our squash and gourds. Friends are busy raking leaves and closing down the garden for the season. Some of our fall books we're enjoying are 'Fall Is Here!' and 'Baby Loves Fall!'.
Sprouts will spend the rest of the month exploring deeper into squash and gourds. Friends will spend time painting the outsides and digging with their hands inside to feel the squishy wet seeds!
All of our friends have been making family trees and exploring the special people they have in their lives. We got to spend more time getting to know our families at the Meet & Greet and Curriculum Night. Friends have enjoyed sharing their family photos, items from home during show & tell, and songs they sing at home. The Sprouts have had fun reading books from our library about all of the different kinds of families there are. We are excited about our new Sprout family and look forward to growing together!
We cannot believe summer has blown by and a new school year is upon us! Emotions have been high as many of our Saplings are moving to new schools. It has been hard saying goodbye to so many of our older friends, but we are all looking forward to new friendships that will surely be formed over these next several months.
During the week-long break, teachers at Green Apple have been busy with developing new skills, sharing best practices, and getting geared up for a new school year! We are excited for our younger Saplings to become our oldest Saplings, and our newest leaders in our community. We are also thrilled to be welcoming so many new friends into our community over the next few weeks.
This coming month, we will be focusing much of our time on building our classroom community, ensuring everyone knows our expectations of growing into independent, caring learners in a nurturing and respectful community. We will be finding out one another’s strengths and discovering where some friends can help others in various areas of need.
We will be discovering our family groups; the younger Saplings with Miss Willow and the older Saplings with Miss Lauren. We will be learning many new routines to help instill a sense of belonging, independence, predictability, and more.
Below are some pictures of Saplings getting acquainted with their new spaces, meeting new friends, growing in independence, and working on various projects!
Hello Families and Friends!
Summer is flying by and Autumn is approaching. We have been busy exploring the evolving yard and enjoying the warm weather while it lasts. We have been spending a lot of time with water to stay cool, and eagerly awaiting the cucumbers, tomatoes, and watermelons that are ripening on the vines. This month is Art Month where we are exploring several artistic methods including painting, sculpting, drawing, photography, collage, and the dramatic arts. Many families are also going on trips and children are bringing back souvenirs and interesting finds to show their friends.
You might notice many changes going on in the yard as we add and change areas. We have shifted loose parts to a new space, there are some new climbing logs for gross motor skills, a music wall is in the making, and chickens in the works. We welcome parent volunteers in the process, as many have valued skills (or muscles) in making these additions happen.
Although art is already an intrinsic part of daily life here at Green Apple, this month we focused on a few specific areas of art, giving the children a chance to really dive deep into the creative process. You may have noticed them coming home with a little more “art” on them than usual as many of them really enjoyed the act of “self-painting”. We also brought in some community artists to demonstrate their process to the group.
Many children have brought interesting objects to share with or show their friends. We value giving children an opportunity to share things that are important or interesting to them and have set time aside during community meeting for them to share these objects. We ask that you please make sure that these objects are age-appropriate and in alignment with our mission and vision.
~ The Saplings
Here at Green Apple Lower, August has been all about celebrating the theme of Community. What's great about exploring such a broad, open-ended topic is that while there are certainly a few key checkpoints all of our class groups plan on investigating, there is also plenty of room to tailor materials and activities for each individual age and developmental level.
Most importantly, we know that these messages have impacts that stretch far beyond the realm of early childhood. There seems to be a pattern in the world where bigger equates to better, and small voices get squashed simply because they are small, even when the words they have to share are important. Through the work we do with the Pips we hope to empower children to believe in themselves and those around them, not because someone is bigger or louder, but because everybody counts in community.
This July we've been fully immersing ourselves into the artist's world. Our first week we explored photography and collage, followed the next week with drawing and painting, currently we're studying clay and sculpture, and we'll conclude the exploration with performing arts.
The children are developing their senses and fine motor skills as they spend time with each medium. Learning how to manipulate new materials like blending chalk pastels or bending wire into different shapes, they're enjoying getting their hands messy.
Sprouts have made their own paint from smashing up mulberries, learned about and sculpted hedgehogs, and even made their own clay! These budding artists are just starting their life's journey of making art and enjoying the art of others. Through each exposure they are developing their social emotional, cognitive, and motor abilities. Art is a valuable cultural experience for all people, and through the process of making art and enjoying the works of others' the Sprouts develop their self expression and gain a greater connection to the natural environment.
"Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up."
"A book is like a garden, carried in the pocket." - Chinese Proverb
Every month, at the beginning of each new theme, the Pips room receives a fresh haul of board books from the downtown library related to the month's studies. Not only does a print-rich environment help solidify our monthly inspirations, but the presence of books supports even the youngest of children in their language development, introduction to the arts, and social-emotional development.
This month's theme of Artists provided the perfect topic for our latest library perusal, motivating us to check out books that were not only about art and artists, but also books whose illustrations spanned multiple art mediums! Here are some of the Pips' favorite July books thus far:
Black & Blanco by Trinity University Press
This absolutely AWESOME book uses actual works of art from the San Antonio Museum of Art as its illustrations, and asks the reader simple questions related to the piece in both Spanish and English. One of the ways the Pips have been exploring black and white is through the use of light-colored chalk on black construction paper.
Jane Eyre by Jack and Holman Wang
We chose Jack and Holman Wang's clever board books like Jane Eyre and Moby Dick for their textile-rich illustrations and infant-friendly spin on literary classics. The characters are entirely felt-crafted, which lends itself well to our exploration of different art mediums. Some of the ways we have been discovering art textures in class are through the use of soft puppets and simply engaging our sense of touch (like laying on a picnic blanket!).
Global Babies by the Global Fund for Children
Another WONDERFUL board book for very young children, Global Babies combines actual photographs of babies from around the world with simple text communicating the message that children everywhere love and are loved the same. You really can't go wrong with this book! We selected it as part of our Photography week, in addition to some of our photography-themed materials like homemade cardboard cameras and body part photo blocks of our friends.
Mouse Paint by Ellen Stoll Walsh
We were fortunate enough to find this book in a bilingual Spanish-English version for our class library...and it's a hit! This gem tells the tale of three little mice who hide themselves in jars of paint, only to discover that they can create other colors by mixing the ones they've dyed themselves with. They make quite a mess in the process! One painting activity that has proven to be popular with our Pips is using paintbrushes and water to paint on our natural blackboards - slabs of slate!
The best thing about these books is that they are all available at the Ann Arbor District Library, downtown branch. Check out their entire catalogue here, and do some summer family reading of your own! Happy Browsing!!!
The skies are certainly not grey in our parts of town these days, and though the gardens are thirsting for some raindrops, the Pips have been enjoying soaking up the sun! Whenever we can, we like to get outside and really engage in our natural environment, whether that be a peaceful rest on the picnic blanket, or a more wild romp through the yard.
Outdoor scapes provide our youngest friends with natural challenges that push them to grow their skills, like pulling up to stand by a stump, climbing the big hill, and learning to be okay with having others playing close by.
This week, our whole school has focused its outdoor endeavors on a universally-loved material: MUD! Some of the muddy projects the Pips have been working on include muddy footprint flags, mixing mud into water in the water table, digging in piles of mud, and just getting covered in the stuff! In fact, we love mud SO much that we've even been singing about it! Included in this post are the lyrics to two of our favorite muddy summer songs that you are welcome to try out with your little ones at home:
Summer is in full swing in the Sprouts room. Friends are busy playing in water, tending to our garden, and working in the sand box. Groups have worked together to paint flower pots, pick chammomile flowers for tea, make fresh fruit popsicles, and read books about summer. Below are two of our favorite poems about summer. We hope you're inspired to write one of your own!
Barefoot Days by Rachel Field
In the morning, very early,
That's the time I love to go
Barefoot where the fern grows curly
And grass is cool between each toe,
On a summer morning-O!
On a summer morning!That is when the birds go by
Up the sunny slopes of air,
And each rose has a butterfly
Or a golden bee to wear;
And I am glad in every toe
Such a summer morning-O!
Such a summer morning!
We Have a Little Garden by Beatrix Potter
We have a little garden,
A garden of our own,
And every day we water there
The seeds that we have sown.
We love our little garden,
And tend it with such care,
You will not find a faded leaf
Or blighted blossom there.
Welcome! Our blog is a collaborative space, curated by the teachers of Green Apple Garden. We hope you enjoy learning more about our philosophy, and the wonderful work we do with the children throughout the year. Looking forward to hearing from you!