The Fours/Young Fives class on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday afternoons includes all the richness of the Fours class plus additional activities. The class is organized a bit differently from other MVPNS classes as it begins with a longer group circle time where Teacher Marie Faust Evitt greets the children. They sing a hello song which they learn first in English and then learn in other languages spoken by families in the class. Children take turns sharing news on their parent’s work day, gaining confidence speaking to the group as they tell about a visit from their Grandma or a trip to the park. After circle time children choose from a variety of small-group activities and free exploration indoors and outside. They enjoy building in the block area, exploring how to make marbles travel down ramps, tending the school garden and playing dress-up. Activities often center around a current interest the class is exploring. Children may become astronauts building giant cardboard spaceships for a mission to the Moon and acting out the first Moon landing.
They might explore how craters form on the Moon by dropping different size balls into pretend Moon dust they’ve made. At other times they may learn about inventions by taking apart small broken appliances families have saved and then use the pieces for their own creations. We love inspiring future scientists and engineers! These topics provide natural hooks to include math, literacy and language in a playful, engaging way as well as providing opportunities for building social skills. Children practice problem solving throughout the school day as they learn to speak up for themselves by saying, “I want a turn,” or “Here’s my idea.”
Each week children draw pictures and dictate stories to an adult and then Teacher Marie reads them at the end of the day. While learning about astronauts, for example, children may dictate a story about where they would like to travel in a spaceship. Hearing those stories read aloud as well as many wonderful books, inspires children to want to learn to read and write themselves. Children also see the power of literacy as they learn poems and songs and act out classic stories. “Goldilocks and the Three Bears,” for example, provides a fun way to learn about the science of temperature, while developing such literacy skills as predicting what happens next in the story. Children practice fine motor skills writing letters and using scissors. They squish playdough, hammer nails, assemble puzzles and paint pictures. Monthly fieldtrips provide opportunities to explore our community.
About midway through class children take a break for snack which they have brought from home. Eating in small groups outdoors helps children make connections and build conversation skills.--“I have carrots in my snack, too!” After snack there’s more free exploration and activities outdoors-- riding trikes, swinging high on the swings, trying the monkey bars, playing on the field, digging in the sandbox. Then it’s time to clean up and come in for story time and a closing song.
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