TerraNichol Academy of the Arts

Teaching Team Blog for November 2015

November Thanks

Our Beloved Teaching Team,

As another month passes and as we are moving into our 4th month of the school year we are thinking about what we are Thankful for, goals we have for ourselves and the growth that we have each made. We couldn't go without saying how grateful we are for our teaching team. Everyday you show dedication to our program and students and we are very thankful for all that you do. To continue to grow as a teaching team it is important for us to keep learning, implementing, and communicating to be the very best preschool teaching team that we can.

Let's Take a Look at Curriculum

We have observed teachers making improvements in the curriculum over the past month. We want to continue working towards learning, implementing, and creating inspiring curriculum with all teachers, all groups, all projects. Remember consistency is key and we strive to have all groups having meaningful engaging activities throughout the entire day. The first step in this process is communication with the students.

In order for students to have meaningful learning experiences a teacher or facilitator of learning needs to ask questions, repeat what is being said, give ideas and extend upon ideas, encourage students to repeat what you are saying, teach new vocabulary and read, read, read each and every day.

Morning Meeting:

We really need to follow a consistent routine with morning meeting and ending meeting. Many students need the language development that comes along with morning meeting. Be cautious not to jump around with the music as this sends mixed messages to the students. Also be aware of what songs you are incorporating. For example when with a group of all toddlers it wouldn't be developmentally appropriate to incorporate the days of the week or months of the year songs. Let's use the following as a guideline and then as students master we can incorporate more. Keep in mind that if you hear Miss Michelle or Terra doing different songs it is because of the level and need of the group

Let's follow this structure for morning meeting:

1. Come Join the Circle

2. Hello Children

3. Good Morning Song

4. We Like to Check the Weather-Use weather pieces and weather chart each time you do the weather song. This needs to be done consistantly in both Nido and Preschool groups

Ending Meeting

1. Goodbye Song

2. Will We Come to School Tomorrow

3. Shake Hands with Friends

Drama-Nido or Nido/Preschool

Let's implement more drama!!!

Drama playlist be consistent

1. Intro to Drama Poem! Remember to use bell. Use bell as a cue to sit back down.

2. Warm up songs: Keeping hands in own space, Creepy Crawly,

3. Warm Up Games: Jumping Jumping Jumping, Fingers Wrists Elbows, If You're Ready

4. Acting Story: This month Brown Bear Brown Bear have children dress in animal costumes, hold puppets, Read Brown Bear Brown Bear and act out story

5. Follow up with Bear Hunt song (Drama Playlist

6. Shake my Sillies out, criss cross applesauce to regroup.

6. Ending Drama Poem

There should always be a natural progression and follow up with props, story, and songs. Remember students work best when they have visuals or something concrete to add to the experience. These should be a part of your drama implementation each week. Also students need repetition and something to look forward to each week as they gain expectation of what it to come. You will see that a consistent routine will make your group times run much more smoothly.

Go To Teaching Team Meeting

Professional Day November 20th at 9:30am. Submit your feedback through email by Wednesday at 5pm.

What does setting up a Reggio Project or Activity Look Like?

Creativity is central to the Reggio Emilia Approach; creating an environment which allows children to express their thoughts, ideas, understandings and interests through art using authentic materials and tools.
Big image
Big image
Big image

How to Set Up a Reggio-Inspired Activity?

Start with a Question

Reggio inspired activities are about exploration and discovery; exploring with their senses, asking questions, testing theories, making plans and thinking deeply.

When you are setting up a provocation (an inquiry or discovery activity) have a think about some of the questions your child has been asking lately.

What have they been wondering about?

  • They might ask your straight up, ‘Why does my shadow stick to me?’
  • They might say a statement, ‘Miss Terra, look at my shadow when I wave my arms.’ Or
  • You might notice them doing something intently, like playing with their shadow

This is your cue, your opportunity to provide an experience which will engage their interests

Find out what your your students already knows

Once you have identified an interest, get some idea of what your child already knows about the subject. Depending on their age you can:

  • brainstorm where you discuss what you know and make a mind map
  • for younger children, what they understand will probably come through in their play, drawings and paintings

Take notes to help you plan

Take notes of what your students already knows as well as any misconceptions they may have. This will help you to plan an activity/inquiry that really relates to what your students knows or wants to know.

Plan your Activity

Now thinking about what they want to know and what they already know, you can start to plan your activity/inquiry.

Decide on the type of activity

What types of activities does the students enjoy? There are a thousand and a thousand more activities out there but no matter how beautiful the picture looks, if your child isn’t interested in it then that activity isn’t going to engage them. Any subject can be explored in a multitude of ways; this is The Hundred Languages of Children, the cornerstone of the Reggio Emilia Approach.

What kinds of activities engage your child’s sense of wonder?

Gather your Materials

Now you can start gathering your materials. What you will need will depend on what you are exploring.

Head out and about:

  • If your subject is something real (in nature or around the playscape), head out for a walk, if you can, to explore the real thing
  • Connect the walk/outing to your student’s interests:
    • ‘You were asking about ant nests yesterday. Let’s go for a walk and see if we can find some.’
  • Take along a notebook and pencil for sketching
  • Some binoculars and a magnifying glass (if useful)
  • and a bag to carry any treasures and go explore
  • Listen to what your student's are talking about, notice what they are doing, these little clues will help you to continue the exploration when you get in learning labs.

Art Explorations:

Other Explorations:

  • look for authentic materials, open-ended materials and ones which invoke a sense of wonder and discovery
    • natural materials – pinecones, seeds, nuts, leaves, sticks, birds nests, shells…. any and all natural materials are wonderful tools for exploration
    • loose parts – glass gems, felt balls, fabric pieces, string, ribbon, cardboard… beautifully textured materials of all different shapes, sizes and colours for imaginative play, model making, design and pattern work and sensory explorations
    • open-ended toys – blocks, animal figurines, puppets, dress-ups, real musical instruments, non-fiction books, music

Setting up an Activity (a provocation)

As much as possible, try to include natural materials in your activity. Natural materials are not only beautiful, they appeal deeply to our senses; their colour, texture, smell and even taste are far more engaging than plastic alternatives. Baskets and bowls as well as glass vases can be picked up inexpensively at charity stores.

Try using:

How does the activity look?

When you are arranging an activity, think about how the activity looks.

  • Does it make you want to play too?
  • Would you be attracted to this activity?
  • Can you see everything that is available?
  • Do you have some idea of what you might do with this activity?

Define your work area

Next, define the work area. When you define the work area with a mat or a tray you draw your child’s attention in, they will move to that area. Try using:

Using Mirrors

Finally, mirrors. Can the activity be enhanced at all by adding a mirror? Is there an aspect of the activity which would benefit from being seen from another perspective?

So these are my thoughts on putting together a Reggio-inspired activity. Reggio-inspired activities are so engaging, they really make you want to get right in there and explore. So have a go and let me know how you went.


Think About Your Message!

In teaching your message is just as important as your words. Every time that you say something to a student or a group of students you are sending a message as to how they view you as a person, a teacher, and a person who they should respect, look up to, and model from.

When you ask a child to do something that is not a choice you are sending mixed messages. You are telling them they have a choice when really they may not have one.

Also when you say to a child Miss Michelle said put on your helmet you are telling them that you don't value what you are requesting them. That it is not important to you and you are only saying it because someone else did.

Children have very inquisitive minds. They are bright and curious but also manipulative and will use information to their full advantage. Remember you are trying to gain respect not loose respect.

Through the Eyes of a Parent

By now I am sure that you have read Through the Eyes of a Child excerpt written by Michelle. Today I would like to share Through the Eyes of a Parent . Enjoy and Reflect on the message that everything that we do sends to parents and think about how you want people to see you and the program.

"Let's go keep walking Mommy is late for work!" "Please hold my hand and carry your lunch box". As mommy and child make their way to the door Mommy is stressed partly because she is running late and partly because her day that looms ahead seems overwhelming to say the least. She is feeling that a little cooperation could go a long long way! As she enters the building the first thing to tweak her senses in the quiet hum of the mister, the gentle glow of the salt rock lamp and the soft smell of lavender misting from the air purifier. Mom takes a minute to take a deep breath, to enjoy the peacefulness of it all. Then the music in the rock room hits her. Its playing in the background a string quartet. Mom takes a moment to look at her child checking in her license, smiling ear to ear ready for an exciting school day. As mommy and daughter go through the arrival routine they discuss what her daughter will do for the day. "I am going to make my pet rock" "You are what type of pet will you make?" "I'm going to make a bunny like Stella Bunny!" Mom replies, "Don't forget you will have Music Workshop today too! Mom says a silent thank you for the message in the sign in computer that reminds her of the day to come. "Ooh yeah I might play the rainstick today!" As they walk through the story studio the daughter says "Mommy look my new artwork is up. I made a masterpiece." Mommy looks up at the artwork "Wow you did, I see the fall colors that you used." Mommy stops and reads the label Title: Five Little Pumpkins Rolling Down the Hill. She smiles to herself as she remembers her daughter singing this tune over the weekend. It is evident that it is something that they have been doing in school. They arrive on the playscape where friends greet with a friendly Hi! and a hug. Miss Michelle says "Hola Como Esta?" Her daughter says "Hola" with a big big smile on her face. Mom again finds herself saying thank you. She is so glad that her daughter is acquiring some Spanish and a passion for learning more with hopes that she will continue with this later in life. Miss Terra greets her with a friendly "Happy Tuesday" and then asks "What is your plan for today?" The daughter says "I'm going to make a pet rock like Stella!" Miss Terra heads over to the table to explain the materials. Mommy steals a quick hug and kiss as her daughter is off with friends and faithful teachers to create her version of Stella bunny! As mom turns turns to walk towards the door she takes a quick glimpse of the other students. She takes in the students having a conversation about the sticky gak that they are stretching between their fingers. Just past them is a group of students using gourds to dip into paint and create a mural. She sees students safely zooming around the bike path smiling and laughing. She sees teachers sitting with students, having conversations, engaging with the materials along with the students and again she hears the violins playing in the string quartet. Mommy smiles and hears a reassuring "Have a Beautiful Day" as she walks back into the story studio. She says "Thank you and realizes that this day that started so rushed and stressed is looking up. She starts to believe she will have a beautiful day. She decides that she can take just one moment to make herself a quick coffee for the road. For the third time in just a few short moments she finds herself saying a silent Thank you as she leaves the school knowing her daughter is going to have a day of discovery, laughter and fun.

Think of how her impression would have been if the following occurred:

-she arrived in the bathroom and their were no towels.

-she couldn't find her daughters artwork on display but noticed that it seemed like everyone else had a piece on display

-the message in the computer didn't give any insight into the day

-when she arrived on the playscape is was very loud and chaotic. Students seemed to either be standing around or running around but no real involvement was happening.

-her daughter was greeted after a few moments of arriving without any excitement for the day.

Teaching Team Ho Ho Holiday Party!

See you there

Where: The Crow's Nest

1968 Tarpon Center Drive

Venice FL

When: December 18th, 2015 Friday

Who: Our fabulous teaching team

For What: Dinner to celebrate our school year, and the holidays together

Bring What: A secret Santa gift of up to $25. We will draw names to see who you will be shopping for!

RSVP by next week!

Happy Holidays from TerraNichol Academy!


1. Describe your thoughts about the article Through the Eyes of a Parent. What are some positive impressions that you have given to parents? What are some negative impressions that you have given to parents?

2. Curriculum Design. Include objectives, modifications, materials, observations that you will make, what will the students gain from the project?

a) toddler sensory

b) toddler math

c) toddler literacy

Your ideas should be something that is new and not something already implemented into our curriculum

3. Feedback to the questions under the photos

Did you know we are a Eco Friendly Preschool Campus?

Being an eco friendly campus means teaching children about the environment through modeling eco-concious practices. Implementing the following into your daily practices and follow through with the students.

1. placing paper drink cups in recyclable bin not trash

2. recycling all paper especially from scrap

3. shutting lights off when leaving the room

4. Composting fruit and veggie scraps

5. Being kind and respectful to all creatures big and small

6. Respecting plants, trees.

7. Taking time a few days a week to go on a trash hunt on the playscape

8. Reuse paper, scraps, materials etc. Use both sides of a paper when appropriate

9. Cautious about being wasteful with all materials especially consumables Some that come to mind paper, paint, glue, etc.

Teach in ECO-TERMS:)

TerraNichol Academy of the Arts

TerraNichol Academy of The Arts School is the kind of school parents expect, educators celebrate and children adore. Our approach to learning celebrates the great potential of young children, with the goal of nurturing self-motivated, life-long learners. The learning labs are guided by our Master Teachers as well as the Founder of TerraNichol Academy of The Arts Preschool with low teacher-to-child ratio to allow for one-on-one engagement and thoughtful observation. Join our small community school for a backstage tour and be inspired by our thoughtful team of Early Childhood Educators here at TerraNichol Academy.

Come and Explore our Reggio Emilia program at TerraNichol Academy acclaimed for the stunning environments, their educators who create, provoke and dazzle the students senses, invite curiosity and discovery, and most importantly, foster strong, respectful meaningful relationships.
Come learn about the values for children in the program:
Being a home away from home
connecting children to their families
helping children to be powerful and active
being a steward of the natural world
seeing oneself as a capable learner
recognizing and being curious about
We provide a school environment that is beautiful and taken care of with an attitude of care so that parents, children, and teachers want to come to school everyday.
It is with intelligent heart and courage that we continue our goals and vision to continue to proceed the work of a child.