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I try to teach the children to stay healthy by getting the proper exercise that is needed for them. I take the children outside everyday if it’s not too hot, or too cold. I practice forms of yoga in the morning and the evenings with the children. This is to stretch their muscles, and to get their blood flowing. Exercising helps the children in the morning if they are still tired. Also, I’ve learned that the children have a better day when they are not tired and sleepy.
As a head start teacher, I try to plan activities to develop strong thinking skills. I try to plan activities for cognitive development that make children think. I ask open-ended questions; play verbal guessing games, memory games, and other sensory motor activities. When I ask questions I use current events and experiences that the children can relate to. For example, I’ve asked the children what happened to Goldilocks once she ran into the woods.
Then, I wait for thinking gestures from the children. Their responses were the following: “She ran as fast as she can away from the Three Bears, she went home and told her mom, and she went home and called the police.” I also, play verbal guessing games such as, “Guess Who” “What is white, looks like a horse, and has black stripes?” The children guessed a zebra. I would do an activity like this after checking for prior knowledge (a story about zoo animals or a field trip to the zoo).
In addition to open-ended questions and guessing games, I play the “Memory game.” First we look at all the pictures (starting with about twenty cards or ten mates).
Then we place the cards face down and I model by picking up a card and turning it over. Then I turn over another and then the first child follows what I modeled. The children really enjoy this game. Their memory starts kicking in once I turn over quite a few cards. Lastly, but not limited to, I play a guessing game that uses the sense of touch. I use two paper bags, and each one has different contents. I put play dough in one and sand in another. I blind fold each child, allow them to feel the content inside the bag, and chart their guesses from what they feel. They also describe it to the best of their knowledge. This game really gets them thinking. As a head start teacher cognitive development is very important as well as the other objectives for preschoolers. I try to plan activities to develop a strong thinking skills foundation for children. I try to plan activities for cognitive development that make children think, wonder, and explore. I believe that sensory-motor games and memory games are great choices for developmentally appropriate actives to strengthen cognitive skills.
In order to know if a child is learning, I often ask questions. I give each child an opportunity to build their communication skills. Children really like when I interact and acknowledge what they have to say. In the morning meetings, I make sure that all the children have a chance to tell the class how they are doing and what they look forward to doing throughout the school day. While interacting with the children I remind each child to use their words in order to express themselves. Not only do I read to my children daily but I also play music with different vocabulary words in order for the children to learn new words daily.
As a head start teacher, I once believed that creativity was a challenging task. When I start planning activities around the children’s interest, it became much easier. One day the children and I were discussing woodlands. The children where all excited to know that I planned a camp fire. I ask the children what could be used for a pretend fire. The children decided that a paper towel roll could be used as a log. Then I asked how can a fire be started? One child began to rub his two pointing fingers together. I said “Good idea!” Then I asked what could be used as sticks to rub together to start our pretend fire. Another child suggested that to use two yellow pencils. So we all took turns rubbing the sticks together. After the material was gathered together, I asked what color construction paper could be used to make our camp fire look like fire. Several of children decided on using the following colors: red, orange, blue, and even purple.
The children and I placed the logs crisscross. The children and I pushed the construction paper strips into a slip in the paper towel rolls. Then we used balls of white paper as marsh mellows, attached it to a pencil, and pretended to roast marsh mellows. One child said, “We need brown paper for gram crackers.” So the children and I cut squares of brown construction paper to make pretend gram crackers. This is how the camp fire was created. This was a creative activity that I planned around the children’s interests. I found it to be easier to plan activities for creativity by consulting the children first. I listen to their conversations from previous discussions and came up with the pretend camp fire activity. I have planned other creative activities using the same strategy to get the children involved.
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