One of the books I like to use at the beginning of a school year is the Kissing Hand. It's about a little raccoon Chester who doesn't want to leave his mother to go to school. I give a detailed account of our activities around the story in this first post here and in another post on separation anxiety right here.
I followed the same steps described in the posts but I changed the crafts and activities slightly .. I like variety and I am actually quite pleased with the way we have been working with the story over the past 2 weeks. In the past, I concentrated on the story over a few days and moved on. But I have used a more progressive approach this year. I read the full book once or twice. Then over the following days, I took extracts of the story and worked on it with the children.
I got the children to focus on Chester's feelings first and tried to help them describe how they felt about coming to school. It's not always easy for 3 and 4 years old to express their feelings. So we have used the "emotion cards" I described in this post right here.
Another day, we concentrated on what the children liked the best in their preschool or what they like to do best. Let me tell you that the sand pit is a huge hit as well as the play dough and the construction area!!!
Another day, we looked at the picture of Chester going to school and I asked the children to guess which one of the other animals depicted in the drawing Chester would play with at first. And this lead us to talk about the friends they made in their own classroom.
When Chester's Mam gives him a Kissing Hand to make him feel better, I asked the children what their own Mams and Dads do to make THEM feel better when they are sad or upset. I would have liked them to draw a picture of the answers they gave me but many of them are still too young to actually draw a proper picture of what they think. So I drew the pictures or found some online and asked them to colour them. We added the names of the children who gave the answers at the bottom of each page and bound the pages together to make a little book we now keep in our reading corner. Children can go and have a look at it whenever they want. Unfortunately, the pictures I took couldn't be downloaded for some reason. So I will take more pics on Monday and try to add them up on this post. But you get my drift anyway.
And as Chester decides to give his mam her own Kissing hand, I told the children it would be a good idea for their Mam and Dad to have their little hands with them all the time, just in case they missed them too. And this is why we made our "Salt Dough" Kissing hands.. That was so much fun to do.. but a definite no-no for the tasting buds. Yerk!!
Another sensorial extension of the story was our textured raccoon face. I pre-cut raccoon -shaped heads (using cereal boxes), had the children paint them. They then had to follow a pattern and glue felt masks onto the cardboard template, different fabrics onto the ears and for the nose. Add a few buttons and voila!! Cute, hey?
When the children brought their raccoon home, they also brought a summary of the story for their parents to read to them. So parents can share Kissing hands with their children before coming to preschool!