January 2020, week 5 update

Please find within: school news and activities, parent participation information, and last week’s lesson review.  This update has general information only; for all child-specific information and pictures of students’ play and work from last week, please go to Avalon’s private parent Facebook page.


This last week of January will focus on construction jobs as we conclude our “Jobs and Money” theme for the month.  Children will be working with LEGOs, MagnaTiles, regular wooden blocks, castle wooden blocks, and our giant cardboard bricks.  Weather and time providing, I am also hoping to have them assist in building our new garden labyrinth!

The learning method will continue to be both role-play and hands-on with lots of conversation!  If your little ones have been talking with you about what they’ve been doing at school, I would love to hear what has stood out for them!


If your child checked out an Avalon library book to read with you over the weekend, please bring them back on Monday so we can talk about the stories during Monday’s Circle Time.  We will also be giving out prizes for library books read and returned.

Also, as we wrap up our Jobs and Money theme, this is a great opportunity to take your child on errands with you to help!  This could be putting a letter to mail in a mail box and mentioning the post office people who will sort the mail and then delivery it or having your child put groceries in the cart as you shop or scanning them at the self-checkout line (though, once this happens, they may want to do it every time!) and talking about the jobs in a grocery store.


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Circle Time

Our Circle Time books this week are listed above.  We skipped a story on Friday to instead talk about the Chinese New Year.  I mentioned that there were 12 animals that each got a turn once a year and turns were based on a pattern (like our circle/square/triangle pattern for our calendar this month).  The turn for this year is ‘Year of the Rat’!  This was a good opportunity to talk about patterns, “lining up for taking turns”, and animals along with their traits.

Music and Theater

Continuing with our theme for the month, we have free choice of music, singing, dancing, and performance as each child chooses something to do.  The exception was on Friday, when we listened to traditional Chinese music (instrumental).

Recess 101 and Sports

The children focused on group play all week: tag, hide-and-go-seek, and pretend exploration.  I’ve observed how the method of role-play for this month’s curricula has transferred to their own interactions during free time and recess, which have been expressed through much more collaborative play and language interaction.

STEM / Arts and Crafts

Per the above lesson plan, theme materials were cones, firefighter hats for all, firefighter and police costumes and accessories, emergency vehicles such as a rescue helicopter, ambulance, firetruck, and police car–all with multiple sirens and lights.

We also had common street signs posted on our theme wall that we talked about daily (this wall is often a favorite conversation starter for snacks and lunch table talk).

My teaching methodology this month has been to facilitate role-play and discussion to encourage hands-on learning and comprehension.  For example, the cones (an absolute favorite this week) were set-up by the children in different configurations and I would have comments such as, “Oh, did you barricade her in?” and “Can you create a path for us to walk through using the cones?”.  When I saw two students trying to “battle” with the emergency vehicles, I redirected them by saying, “All of these people are on the same team and help others.  How can they work together to rescue the person in trouble?”.  Various open-ended questions and conversation starters were made each day and then I let the children carry on from there, answering questions if they came up.

This was also the perfect time to do our emergency drills!  I normally conduct them at the first of each month, but I waited for this week’s theme.  This time I did the fire/earthquake/lock-down drills differently: I did not lead them at all.  I presented the imaginary scenario to the children and asked them what to do.  They were a bit bewildered at first not being led (good thing to know) and then finally got it with a few prompts (e.g. “do we want to be inside if there is a fire in the house?”, etc.).  They all got Junior Sheriff badge stickers after each drill was done correctly.

Nature-based Learning:

Week 4’s sensory bin is normally kinetic sand with architectural building molds and shovels, but the rain presented us with consistently swelling water beads that either broke apart or turned to a slimy mush.  As this was encouraging a lot of conversation around texture and movement (the main objective for that week), I let it remain.  There was one student who was at that table for 15-minutes straight just squishing the water beads in his hand with absolute focus! 😀

Week 4’s water table has a variety of real sea shells and some star fish with models of marine animals (sharks, squid, octopus, otters, etc.).  As children explore these objects, vocabulary and language practice occurs as we talk about their qualities and then the children “act out” through play what they learned as their mind works to comprehend the information.

Afternoon Story Time:

Afternoon story time begins with 10-minutes of children looking and “reading” through books on their own.  (Side note: I was able to video a great clip of this last week, but during free-time!) They each then choose a story for me to read for the remainder of the time.  To review our library selection for this month, please see January’s Reading List.

Have a wonderful week!


Teacher, Avalon Childcare and Preschool


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