Welcome To Pre-K C!
Hi, my name is Ms. Shakima Renee and I am the PreK-C teacher! This is my fourth year teaching at Notre Dame Catholic Academy of Ridgewood and I am really excited to be working with Mrs. Nelida Santos again this year. The children can address us as Ms. Renee and Mrs. Santos, we are both really happy about getting to know your little one this year, and watching them explore and grow. I can be contacted via ClassTag and by email at Shakima.Renee@notredamecatholicacademy.net . I will be checking the ClassTag emails periodically throughout the day, however, I will not be responding to messages after 4:30pm.
Unit 1– Welcome To Pre-K
The first few weeks of the pre-K year children and families are wondering about the upcoming year and what it will bring. We will be developing partnerships and fostering communication with families throughout this first month of the pre-K program. We will be providing structure and support during this time of transition, knowing that some children have experiences with a childcare program for some children this will be their first experience. Throughout this unit and the units ahead, we will have the exciting opportunity to set the tone for children’s pre-K- 12 educational experiences and lay the foundation for critical thinking and inquiry skills that they will use from our classroom forward. In pre-K we follow the New York State Prekindergarten Foundation for the Common Core (PKFCC). These standards have carefully developed early learning expectations linked to K-12 standards that contribute to a more cohesive unified approach to young children’s education. The PKFCC is organized into five broad developmental and interrelated domains, which provide the structure for the common core. A brief description of each domain appears below:
- Approaches to Learning- How children become involved in learning and acquiring knowledge.
- Physical Development and Health- Children’s physical health and ability to engage in daily activities.
- Social and Emotional Development- The emotional competence and ability to form positive relationships that give meaning to children’s experiences in the home, school, and larger community.
- Communication, Language, and Literacy- How children understand, create, and communicate meaning.
- Cognition and Knowledge of the World- What children need to know and understand about their world and how they apply what they know. This domain is a direct reflection of the content competencies and knowledge of the Common Core Learning Standards.
Unit 2– My Five Senses
Now that we have introduced the children and families to the program with the first unit, we will continue our journey of exploration and learning with an exciting topic focused on how we use our five sense to explore, investigate, and understand ourselves and our world. Children naturally explore the world around them through their senses. In this unit we encourage support cognitive and language development by encouraging children to observe things in their immediate environment and begin to describe them in detail. In this unit there is a focus on developing the Physical Development and Health Skills described in Domain 2 of the PKFCC. Throughout the unit, children will use their senses to assist and guide learning. Children will demonstrate increasing awareness and understanding of safety rules through discussions about how we use each sense to make judgements about safe situations or objects. Throughout the unit, there are activities and discussions about how life might be different for people who have disabilities that affect their senses. There are children’s books that introduce different disabilities and explain how people with disabilities might interact with the world differently.
Week 1 was introduced asking the question “How do we use our sense of sight?” We began exploring the new season of Fall and how the leaves were changing.
Week 2 was introduced asking the question “How do we use our sense of hearing?” I encouraged the children to pay attention to sounds they heard on their way to school. We also discussed sounds they would hear near their homes and animal sounds. I played animal sounds during circle time and the children were able to identify the animals by name.
Week 3 was introduced by asking “How do we use our sense of taste?” and “How do we use our sense of smell?”
Week 4 was introduced by asking the question “How do we use our sense of touch?”We took advantage of the Halloween season and made a Jaack-O-Lantern. While cutting the pumpkin open, we allowed the children to put their hands in a bowl and feel the pumpkin guts. I went around asking them to describe how it felt.
Unit 3– All About Us
During the pre-K year, children develop a concept and awareness of themselves as unique individuals. A strong sense of self supports children’s success in pre-K and lays the groundwork for realizing their potential throughout their school and life experiences. Unit activities such as self-portraits and like/dislike activities invite children to think about and express their ideas about who they are. Throughout the unit there are also opportunities for children to explore the attributes of their names. All About Us is designed to support and embrace the diverse populations of New City City Pre-K’s for All program and help children develop the positive self-concept and confidence to take on new tasks, think critically, remain persistent in the face of challenges, pursue interests and realize their potential as individuals as well as members of various communities. It is an opportunity to celebrate each an every member of the class both inside and out and set a tone of acceptance.
Week one was introduced by asking “What makes me important and unique?” We sent a project home for family engagement, and asked parents to help their children create a self portrait. When all of the projects were completed we asked each child to write their name as best as possible and displayed each project in the hallway with their names written next to them. We played the game “Who Am Eye?” where we had pictures of the children’s eyes up in the Science Center, the pictures were available for the children to go over and play the game freely while in that center. We also discussed our fingerprint as something that made us important and unique. We put all of the children’s fingerprints on papers and hung them in the Science Center, we put out the magnifying glasses and encouraged the children to notice the difference between their prints and their friends.
Week two we asked the question “What feelings do I have and why?” Children were introduced to an interactive feeings chart. They are able to match how they are feeling from an aray of labeled pictures. The chart has become part of the morning routine but is also available for children to access throughout the day as desired.
Week three was introduced by asking the question “What makes my class important and unique?” We discussed what jobs are, why they are important and different types of jobs. After discussing the importance of jobs in the classroom we introduced the job chart. The job chart includes the operational need of the classroom.
Week four was introduced by asking the question “What makes my family important and unique?” Children were encouraged to bring in pictures of their family members that were hung up in the classroom. We discussed who lived in their home and also different features that made them unique from their friends in the class.
Unit 4– Where We Live
In Unit 4, children move from inquiring and thinking critically about themselves, their classmates and their family to the spaces that those people inhabit. This unit is designed to reflect the diverse places where people live in neighborhoods across New York City. There are opportunities throughout the unit for you to tailor discussions and activities to reflect the children and communities you serve. Additionally, in this unit children inquire and learn about the homes of animals, both pets living in homes with the children and those animals that create their own homes. This unit is designed to reflect the diverse places where people live in neighborhoods across New York City. There are opportunities throughout the unit to tailor discussions and activities to reflect the children and community they live in.
Week one was introduced by asking the question “Where do I live? Where do my family members live?” Together, we read about different kinds of homes, including apartments, houses, etc. and discuss where different members of their families live.
Week two was introduced by asking the question “Where do people and animals live?” After children consider the different kinds of homes in which they and the people they know live, they will start to consider animals and investigate a more abstract concept: animal homes.
Week three was introduce by asking the question “What types of homes do the people in my city (NYC) live in? In this unit, children will develop a concept and awareness of the diversity of living environments and explore how New Yorkers live in many types of homes and buildings.
Week four was introduced by asking the question “How do people and animals make homes?” Through this structure we mirror the process by which young children explore and understand the world; starting with themselves then moving outwards and from concrete to abstract.
Unit 5– Transportation
In this unit children will move from inquiring and thinking critically about the places where animals and people live to exploring how people move from place to place using vehicles and other methods of transportation. This unit provides opportunities for children to observe objects and phenomena in their environment with increasing complexity through hands-on activities in the classroom and in the community. Children will also have the opportunity to deepen their understanding of a major part of New York City life across all five boroughs. The full diversity of our city is reflected in this unit through the examination of trains, boats, cars, airplanes, buses, specialty vehicles, and more.
We begin the first week by considering the focus question “What kinds of transportation do I use and why?” We read about and discussed what modes of transportation they use including; motorized vehicles, non- motorized vehicles and other modes like walking. We created a chart titled “How Did I Get to School Today?”
In week two, we asked the question “How are various modes of transportation similar and different?” Children began to think about what made different kinds of transportation similar and different. We made a chart comparing and contrasting the attributes of different modes of transportation.
In the third week of the unit we asked “Who operates the vehicles in my community?” Children will explore vehicle operators and other community helpers. In this week there were opportunities to take neighborhood walks while discussing the community helpers.
During week four the children explored the question “How do we stay safe when using transportation?” Abstract ideas such as safety, traffic, and rules became more concrete when explored through games such as Red Light, Green Light.
Unit 6- Light
In this unit children will more from exploring various modes and aspects of transportation to inquiring and thinking critically about light, darkness, and shadows. This unit provides opportunities for children to observe objects and wonders in their environment. Activities throughout the unit prompt children to explore light, darkness, and shadows with hands on materials as well as provide opportunities for children to make predictions and think about their world in increasingly abstract ways. As we explore light it is important to keep in mine scientific information about light, darkness, and shadows. This background knowledge will help support understanding as we guide children through the learning experiences in this unit.
The first week’s question, “What kinds of light are around us?” Children will observe, discuss and explore what they know about natural and man-made light.
The next question we will as is “What is darkness?” In the second week, children will have learning experiences and activities that encourage them to think about darkness.
In the third week, children focus on the question, “How does light help us?” They will continue to consider the how light affects our world.
The question in the fourth week, “What are shadows?” allowed the children to explore shadows by using flashlights and other light sources in the classroom as well as experimenting with shadows outside.
Unit 7- Water
In this unit there are opportunities for children to observe objects in their environment with increasing complexity. Activities throughout this unit prompt children to learn about water through hands- on explorations and provide opportunities to observe water int heir immediate environment. As the weather changes according to the season, we will use this opportunity to observe, draw, paint, and discuss rain, snow, puddles, and storms.
The first week’s question “Where can we find water?” Children will observe, discuss and explore water in the classrooms and throughout their environment such as bodies of water and the weather.
The second week’s question “What happens to water when it changes temperature?” We will explore and observe ice and water at different temperatures and perform experiments with water and ice.
In the third week, we will be exploring the question “What happens when we put things in water?” This will lead them to think critically about why items float and some sink. There are also opportunities in this week to lean about substances that dissolve or expand in water.
Below is a link for the weekly activity sheet, which is to be done at home. Due to Covid-19 we have bee practicing social distancing and implementing distance learning. Every week there will be a week ly activity sheet posted, as well as other activities for the parents to do with their children at home.
In the final week of the water unit, the question is “How does water help us?” The children will have learning experiences and do activities that encourage them to think about how water helps living things.
Below is a link for this weeks activity sheet.
Unit 8- Plants
In the plant unit, the children will have the opportunity to observe objects in their environment with increasing complexity, and apply knowledge and skills learned in previous units. Activities throughout the unit prompt children to learn about plants through hands-on experiences and provide opportunities to observe plants in their immediate environment. We will consider how different plants are a part of each child’s daily lives. Additionally, we will use the opportunity of changing seasons to discuss and observe how plants grow and change over time.
In the first week, children consider the question, “What are plants?” The children will observe and identify the different parts of plants. They will also learn that plants are living thing and every part of a plant has an important function.
Below is a link for this weeks activity sheet.
This week was a short week, due to the Holy Days that our school observes.
In the second week, we will be exploring the question “What do plants need and where do we find them?” The children will learn that plants grow from seeds and need water, nutrients and light to live.
Below is a link for this weeks activity sheet. This week’s activities are geared towards Easter, this was supposed to be when the school was on Spring Break, but it was modified due to the current crisis and the distance learning changes that we have been implementing.
In the third week, the question we will observe is “What are some different kinds of plants?” The children will be able to identify that plants are all around us.
Below is a link for this weeks activity sheet.