Thursday, March 15, 2018

Cultivating Creativity with Mother Goose Time

How do you teach someone to be creative?
How do you foster the creativity of a student?
In a world of Pinterest and sharing and copying ideas, 
how on earth do you cultivate CREATIVITY?

According to English Oxford dictionaries Creativity is:
"The use of imagination or original ideas to create something; inventiveness."

Creativity includes using imagination, curiosity, risk-taking, wonderment, flexibility, experimentation, breaking of boundaries, and openness to new perspectives.

Creativity is a way of thinking 
not just arts and crafts.

Creativity is about the process not necessarily the product.

When my husband and I decided that I would teach preschool at home to our girl, I started to research Early Childhood education theories.  I am a trained teacher.  I graduated with a Bachelors of Fine Arts with a certifications to teach All-level Art and Generalist studies from EC-8.  I taught public school for 8 years; however I had never taught younger than 3rd grade.

As I researched preschool/homeschool lines of thinking (Charlotte Mason, Classical, ect...)
 I came across REGGIO EMILIA, which is a post I'd love to write for another day.  What I loved most about the Reggio Emilia approach was that the teacher doesn't necessarily teach.  She listens to the children.  What are their interests?  Then she creates areas that allows them to explore that interest and the children learn on their own.  Child-led learning and I was in love. 
This is what I wanted to be as an educator and a parent.  This is the kind of learning environment I wanted to provide for my girl.  I just didn't know how to do it exactly with a just turned 2 year old at the time.

Then I stumbled upon Mother Goose Time.
It allowed me to bring Reggio Emilia to my home.

MGT gives opportunities to explore and create in their Invitations to Create- inviting the child to use their own imagination to create after being inspired by a picture and materials set before them.
No ones work is supposed to look like the other's.
It's not copying- it's being inventive and inspired.

Above is Avaleigh hard at work creating her Earth.  Paint was not one of the materials listed, but when I asked her what she would like to use to go along with the paper provided, she asked for paint.  She used it like glue.  Carefully applying the paint to the back of torn pieces of blue and green paper and securely placing them on her paper plate.
I would never had done that.

MGT gives directions on how to create Make and Play crafts, but suggested taking it to the next level by allowing the child to PLAY with it as they saw fit.
Avaleigh asked for more stickers to make her telescope and placed some inside the tube.  Then she played with it around the house for the rest of the afternoon just observing things.
"I'm like Kwazi!" (Octonauts is her favorite show right now)


STEAM stations give the opportunity for children to role play and be inventive.
By creating a planetarium in your home with sheets and lights, kids become astronauts flying among the stars or they can pretend they are entering a cave of a giant bear.  Or setting out red paper and egg cartons in sand allows them to travel to Mars or make some delicious mud pies!
What kind of adventures will I get to hear my girl going on by just setting up areas for her to play?

Yes MGT is set up as a unit study instead of child-led interest, but all the units are definitely things my girl has wondered about, and it has so helped me in providing experiences with materials I would have never set before my girl.

This thought process is challenging for me, too!
It's forcing me to grow as an educator for sure, but also as a parent.  My patience grows as I bite my tongue from starting to tell her how I would do it. 
It's putting aside what I want her work to look like and just watching my girl use the materials to make what she wants to from them.  It's a time where I need to close my mouth and open my eyes, relax. observe, and ask her about her thinking.
Let her do all the learning.
Let her be creative.

With Mother Goose Time's help, I am cultivating creativity right here at home.

Follow our adventures on FACEBOOK.
Need great ideas?  I'm a PINTEREST junkie... follow me :) 

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Preschool Astronomer

That is what Avaleigh became this first week as we studied the SUN, the MOON, and STARS with our SPACE unit from Mother Goose Time.

Our week started with studying STARS and constellations.

MGT sent us these glow in the dark stars in a variety of sizes and Avaleigh had to match them to the correct size on the constellation.

We then did a STEAM station of punching out circles to be stars and then gluing them on black construction paper.  I then asked my girl which "stars" should be connected with a line of glue.  
We then poured silver glitter on the glue to create her constellations.  

She also worked on spelling her name.  She has come so far with her writing!

After her nap, we discussed how there are 3 main colors of stars, HOT Blue ones, and COOLER Red and Orange ones.  I sticky tacked the stars all over the house while she napped and drew 3 circles on her chalkboard table top.  She then went around the house and matched them to the correct category.

On our SUN Day, we only did the Make and Play craft which was creating a Sun Mask.  We also talked about the letter S.  She wasn't into doing much else and wanted to play outside so that's what we did :) 
Some days you just do what you can.

We had to add some glitter though!

However, the BEST day was MOON Day!
Avaleigh loves the moon. 
She searches for it every. time. we. go. outside. Every time.
She did the Make and Play Moon Rocks first.  Here is her Moon Rock bag with aluminum foil rocks inside.  We used this bag later outside for our Moon Rock Math Game.

 Afterwards, she worked on her My Little Journal cover.  It suggested to place the moon on the cover.  Avaleigh traced one of her play kitchen bowls.  I asked her if she wanted to color it and of course she said yes.  I was most surprised when she started drawing the moon's craters by drawing blue circles all over her moon.  I didn't suggest it at all.
  Then with my help she cut out her moon and glued it to her cover and wrote her name.

Now it was time to go outside and play our Math Moon Rock Game which you can read about here.
We had so much fun and it reinforced her counting skills so much!

This is just 3 days of our space unit!
Today after her quiet time (and my blogging time), we will really study Astronomers,
 and I'll probably sneak in our comet study as well.
Next week we start studying the ROCK planets so stay tuned here and on our facebook page!

It sure is fun becoming a Preschool Astronomer.


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