If you have read my last post (here), you know how strong I feel about fairy tales. So, two weeks ago, we started reading the Little Red Hen as its moral teaching coincides with what we are working on with the children this September: work ethics, personal initiative, responsibility and cooperation and much much more.
1. Emotional development and Well-being
Through the tale, we have explored the different types of chores or duties that are expected of them in the classroom such as tidying up after themselves, helping a friend to tidy up, keeping their environment clean etc... Through the tale and the cross-curricular activities that come with it, children s 'social awareness was reinforced. We used circle time to discuss what they thought was a good thing to do to keep the place clean and welcoming. As this year's group is much younger in age than last year, it took us a few sessions to get there. Some children find it harder to express themselves and formulate thoughts. Others find it hard to think outside the box but we finally got lots of suggestions: "when I wash my hands, I should only press the soap dispenser once like you showed us.. I should wash my hands everytime I have been to the toilet / I should coughing my arms not to spread germs.... I should sweep the floor after cutting paper.... if I spill something, I should use the sweep brush.... I can help my friends to put the games away... I can clean the table after painting.... I can help teacher to set the table for snack... I put my rubbish in the bin..." etc...
Of course, this teaching is reinforced through the Practical Life activities in our Montessori classroom. While a child is practicing pouring, transferring, tonguing, sweeping, folding, etc.., he/she learns concentration, coordination, independence and order, but also how to interact with others and gain an understanding and appreciation of his/her environment. The idea here with the practical Life activities is to get the child begins to build himself from within while learning to treat himself and others with respect and dignity. This is to prepare the child to enter society and to nurture self-respect and self-worthiness.
2. Learning to differentiate between reality and fantasy
At circle time, I showed the children different pictures of what hens can or cannot do. ( I downloaded them from the internet. It only took me 15mn to do so and to print them for the following day). I asked them to tell me if real hens could do these actions or not. When they agreed for example that a hen couldn't make bread, I explained that they only can make bread in stories and books but not in real.
What can a real hen do?
- A hen can lay eggs
- A hen can squawk
- A hen can walk
- A hen can peck at the ground
- A hen can eat worms and seeds
- A hen can run
- A hen can sleep
What can a real hen not do?
- A hen can't plant seeds
- A hen can't make flour or make bread
- A hen can't fly
- A hen can't talk
- A hen can't laugh or get mad
- A hen can't use her wings as hands or arms
- A hen can't write or read a book
- A hen can't dance
3. Real life connection : Baking biscuits
During the week, I gathered all the ingredients we needed to make dough for biscuits. What a treat!! The children were so happy and so proud of the end-results! I am not sure any parents got a taste of the biscuits!
4. the Helping Hen Hand
Just a bit of fun for art & craft. And a big display in the entrance hall for the parents to admire!
5. play dough: making pizza
This is a game I created 2 years ago. I had put it away and suddenly remembered about it! I only used the number cards from 1-5 as we have just beginning with our counting. The children just need to pick a card, recognise the number on it (if they don't, I say it for them), and then they have to pick the corresponding amount of chicks to go with the hen on the nest.