October was such a fun time at UDA Creative Arts Preschool. We started it off with a roarin’, stompin’ good dinosaur time, added in some farm animals and vegetables, and finished out strong with… you guessed it — Halloween.
We use these thematic units so we can cross subject matter lines and give meaning and understanding to our students. These themes provide a cohesive curriculum that helps children explore, understand, and appreciate their world.
And by using art, music, social studies, dance and movement, science, math, reading and writing, and more (including a hefty dose of imagination!), the children are fully engaged in learning, developing both the right and left hemispheres of their brains while they busily learn important skills for success.
D is for Dinosaur
Donning dinosaur hats, we learned shapes by playing, “Dinosaur, behind which shape do you roar?”
We traded dinosaur hats for paleontologist hats and became scientists hard at work to uncover our dinosaur “fossils.” For some classes this year, this activity turned out to be more than sensory and science learning, as the fossils were harder to get to than normal. The children had to put on their problem solving hats and use their tools in new ways to unearth the fossils. We loved seeing their determination and creativity to solve their problem, and the reward was worth it!
Dinosaurs even featured heavily in our play, as the children decided our toy dinosaurs needed quality medical care. They worked together to determine the sicknesses and injuries (plural!) and how best to treat the poor creatures.
E is for Emotion
Emotions can be big and huge and confusing, especially when you’re small. It’s so important for children to learn to identify their emotions so they can learn how to express themselves appropriately and have a healthy relationship with their emotions.
Emotion Freeze Dance
Emotion freeze dance was a favorite game during this week, and one you can easily replicate at home.
- Play any song (We used “I’ve Got a Feeling”), and begin dancing.
- Pause the song at random, and shout out an emotion (happy, sad, surprised, angry, etc.).
- Everybody freezes and shows the emotion with their face and body.
We also combined music with art to help us understand emotions. Listening to different songs, we talked about how the music makes us feel. We then had the children go to their easels where we chose colors that helped to depict the emotions the children were feeling. While the children listened to the music, they painted a picture to represent their emotion. Every picture was different, which is just as it should be.
Seeing illustrations of different emotions is another way to help children comprehend emotions. We showed the children pictures and had them imitate the appearance of the emotion.
F is for Farm
We not only brought the farm to preschool, we took preschool to the farm! Caregivers and preschoolers had a blast visiting Farm Country at Thanksgiving Point and getting a multisensory experience with farm animals (sights, sounds, touch, and smell!).
And after everyone had had a turn to touch or hold Miss Sara’s chickens at preschool, we decided we’d have art imitate life in the classroom.
We let the children “milk” the cow (its udders were filled with water), gather eggs, and even build fences with craft sticks to develop motor skills, understand engineering, practice math skills, and learn about the jobs on a farm.
G is for Garden
Pumpkins were featured heavily in our math during this week, as we counted them, arranged numbered pumpkins in order, and more.
The children got to learn how applesauce and apple cider are made, and participate in the process. Everyone was surprised to learn that apple cider starts out green, turning brown as the process continues.
It was fun to exchange a paint brush for an apple and see what sort of art could be made with the new tool.
For a tasty lesson, the children harvested vegetables from the preschool garden and contributed to our pot of friendship soup. Not everybody was thrilled at the prospect of so many vegetables mixed together, but all the children found their courage to try the soup — and most of them loved it!
H is for Halloween
Halloween gives us the opportunity to talk about courage. Not only will children encounter scary costumes and decorations as they are out and about, they were also asked to perform in our Halloween show. And every child showed great courage as they did their part.
And what’s Halloween without a little magic? The children “planted” special pumpkin seeds, and returned the next day to find that the preschool lawn was now a pumpkin patch! They squealed with delight as they ran to choose their very own pumpkin.
We love watching how children really grasp important concepts through thematic units at UDA Creative Arts Preschool. Come visit us for a tour. Give us a call at (801) 523-5930, or contact us online.