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Our First Week with Explore the Rainforest

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It is hard to believe that it is November already! This week we have started our Explore the Rainforest unit with our Experience Preschool curriculum from Experience Early Learning! Every month the toys, educational materials and the books on our shelves change out to correlate with the theme. The beginning of the month is always an exciting time for the children as they love exploring the new toys and educational materials that are out on our shelves. Changing things out keeps them engaged!

Experience Early Learning sends daily topic posters that are great discussion starters at circle time. When the children look at the picture on our bulletin board they can see right away what we are learning about for the day. We talk about what they know about the topic, what they hope to learn, and what they notice in the picture. This month I am cutting the pictures out and hanging them up around our classrooms with the vocabulary words that we get each month. The children will get to interact with the pictures and words, allowing them to see patterns and relationships, which is helping them build phonics and spelling skills! I laminated these so they will hold up throughout the month.

One of our topics, as you see above, was roots. We learned that the rainforest floor does not see much light so only a few things grow. Our Monday/Wednesday/Friday class started a sprout experiment to go along with our learning that will last all month! I bought sweet potatoes and cut the ends off. We filled a cup with water, stuck toothpicks in the sweet potato to prevent it from falling inside of the cup (we only want the bottom of the sweet potato to touch the water), and then the children got to draw their observation of what they noticed. We will be recording our observations every week for four weeks to document the changes we see happening. The children are really excited about this experiment and have been checking their potatoes each time they come to class!

We love our rainforest unit so far. We are learning about the different layers of the rainforest and this first week we focused on the rainforest floor layer. The children are connecting with nature and our topics included lily pads - which we learned can be big enough for a person to sit on! - to jaguars, roots, mushrooms and ants - things we would see on or near the rainforest floor!

I am all about hands-on learning in our preschool classroom! When we learned about mushrooms there was a fun mushroom math activity that the children really got to be hands-on with. They made mushrooms and they got to stick them in playdough. They drew number cards from their pile and removed that many mushrooms from the 'garden' (the garden mats from Experience Early Learning were really cute). We also practiced adding that many mushrooms to the 'garden.' This was a fun way to practice basic addition and subtraction. The children practiced number sense, attention and persistence, and fine motor skills. Math is more fun when the they get to be hands-on with it!

Stay tuned as we observe our sweet potatoes throughout the month and continue learning more about the rainforest!

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