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Our Theatre Field Trip

  • 03 March 2016

This Wednesday we had a very exciting field trip to the Carousel Theatre for Young People in Granville Island. We met outside the theatre and, in spite of this big change from our usual preschool day, it was clear that everyone was looking forward to the adventure. It is so nice to see, at this point in the year, how strong the children's relationships are with one another and how being together helps them to approach new experiences with confidence and excitement.

We took our seats - front row no less! - in the theatre and then had to wait while many other school groups came in and found their places. For many of the children this was their first time seeing a live production and while we waited we had interesting conversations about what we could expect, why the stage looked the way it did, whether the actors would be able to hear us or not and what the sets were made of. Some of the children already knew the book "Go, Dog, Go!" and others didn't, so the children shared their knowledge with each other and speculated together. There was excitement, some nerves and a LOT of anticipation as we waited for the show to start.

And finally it did! The production was fantastic and every one of the children was entranced. It was an amazing experience sitting so close to the stage and getting to watch the talented actors and the musician sing, dance and play their way through the story. We will be curious to see how the children process and express what they have seen in their free play next week.

We were proud of every one of the children, who all conducted themselves beautifully throughout our field trip. They were wonderful ambassadors for Crown Preschool!

And a big thank you to those parents who joined us and helped chaperone. We hope you enjoyed yourselves as much as we did!

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December Roundup

  • 24 January 2016

Looking back on our photos from December it is hard to believe how much we packed in! It was a fun and busy month leading up to the break, with so many projects and activities going on.

Our construction exploration came to an end, culminating in a visit from Professor Maged Senbel, an architecture professor from the UBC School of Community and Regional Planning, who very kindly came to answer our questions about buildings and construction. The children formulated their questions in class ahead of time and listened carefully to the answers, and it was exciting to be able to connect their thinking in class to the wider world. Professor Senbel also brought in some pretty fantastic mini-models of buildings, kindly provided by his students.

A huge collaborative project was the climax to this exploration. The children continued to work on their 'skyscraper' for a few weeks, on and off. We saw so many skills being practiced during this time: negotiation, turn-taking, planning and problem-solving, not to mention fine motor practice and language development! Phew!

     

During this month we also noticed a growing interest amongst our four year-olds in practicing writing and drawing. Literacy and letter recognition is a constant part of our program at Crown, but the sudden confidence in this age group to do more writing on their own was a wonderful reminder that children will reach each stage of reading and writing when they are ready, and it cannot be rushed. In order to be comfortable writing children need hand strength and fine motor control, the ability to recognise and remember patterns, and the cognitive development necessary to make the link between the form of a letter and its meaning as a symbol. It was also interesting to observe how the interest spread through the group, which reminds us also that children (and adults!) learn best when they are having fun.

     

 

It goes without saying that December was packed with Christmas and winter activities as well. The children loved listening to Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker music, and each time it was played our carpet was instantly filled with dancing, smiling children.

Seasonal crafts were extremely popular and even drew in some of the children who don't choose the art table very often. Perhaps the understanding that these creations would be going home to decorate the tree or house helped to make the activity more meaningful for them.

We looked at many seasonal stories about Christmas, snow and other winter themes, but decided to explore The Gingerbread Man a little further with crafts, games and the always popular baking with Miss Caroline! The familiarity and repetition of traditional fairy tales have so many benefits, from language development to supporting a sense of competence in the children when they are able to anticipate the story and join in telling it. There was also a bit of a thrill on the days when the cunning fox did manage to eat the gingerbread man, instead of just giving him a scare!

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Without a doubt the two highlights of the month were pyjama-stuffy day - our most comfortable day of the year so far - and the Christmas concert. The children in both our Toddlers and 3/4s classes practiced their songs for several weeks, and did a splendid job performing them on the evening of the concert. It was wonderful to see so many Crown family members come to join us and, following the performance, the children were thrilled with the surprise light show and dancing. Many thanks to Victor and St Philip's church for lending us their light machine!

         

After all this fun it was a well-earned two-week break for everyone. It was wonderful to end 2015 on such a happy note.

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A New Year and Some Changes

  • 14 January 2016

Happy new year to everyone! The blog has taken a little longer to shake off the holidays than the rest of us, but it's back and there is lots to share. Updates on our pre-holiday activities and news about our upcoming programming will follow soon, but first: the new year has brought an exciting development to Crown preschool!

We are very pleased to announce that, as of the start of January, we have moved to a Parent Involvement model. This model gives children and families all the benefits of a Parent Participation Preschool that Crown has offered for nearly 70 years, but with greater flexibility to accommodate the needs of families today. We recognize that the demands on parents' time are greater than ever; with work, extra-curricular activities and the needs of older and younger siblings in the mix it is not always easy or even possible for parents to find the time to spend whole mornings at the preschool. At the same time today's parents are very aware of the value of community, volunteerism and having the opportunity to be closely involved in the early years of their children's growth and education. And, of course, a purposeful, play-based program offers children the best foundation for social, emotional and academic success!

The Parent Involvement model allows us to balance these competing demands. The administration of the preschool is still handled by parents and they continue to be involved day-to-day, we offer access to many fantastic Parent Education speakers, and evening meetings and socials throughout the year provide opportunities for parents to get to know each other.

The big news is that parents no longer need to stay in the classroom on their duty day, removing the challenge of what to do with little siblings or how to juggle work commitments. Of course our door is still open to those who choose to stay in the class, but we hope that this new flexibility will make it easier for families to take part in our wonderful community.

This is an exciting new chapter in the history of Crown Preschool. We look forward to getting feedback from our current families on how they feel this new model is working, and hope that you will all spread the word about us!

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Great Learning Begins With Wonder

  • 03 December 2015

The skills that come so naturally to our children - questioning, imagining, creating - can result in extraordinary things if they are maintained through to adulthood. Although most of our children probably won't make careers as professional artists we do live in a society that values creativity, problem-solving, the ability to see things in new ways. In a play-based program we try to respect and nurture each child's unique view of the world. We hope that by teaching them early on that all ideas are worth listening to and thinking about, they will hold on to the confidence and open-mindedness of childhood as they grow and go out into the world. 

"Great learning begins with wonder."

NPR: This Art Exhibit Makes You 'Wonder' - And That's The Whole Point

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