Last Look – New Beginnings has been a phrase that has been turning around in my mind for the past few weeks. I’m in the process of rebirth and renewal now that I am officially retired from my full-time, out – of – the – house career as a public school teacher. It’s a change that I have been happily anticipating since I announced the intention to retire three years ago.
Many people have asked what I planned to do as the date came closer. I was never at a loss for ideas of the many things that would be possible with more time. Of course having the means to act upon all those plans isn’t a reality yet, but I am working toward it. Right now, it just feels like summer break, not really “The End”. I am slowly organizing and pitching things I don’t need anymore Do you have any idea how much a preschool special education teacher can accumulate with the notion that “maybe I can use this at school”? Let’s just say that I am starting to eye the neighbor’s blue construction dumpster with fondness!
(No, that is not me dumpster diving!)
I’ve left much of my materials for the new teacher, since she is new and hasn’t collected what you need to make learning come alive for three to five year old children. But I have also brought home quite a stack of children’s books to inspire me to create digital download teaching resources that I sell through several online venues such as TeachersPayTeachers, TeachersNotebook, and Educents. These were new ventures I started in the past two years on a very part-time schedule in anticipation of meaningful work I could do at home.
As I consider this period of Last Look – New Beginnings the part that I am most looking forward to is the opportunity to resume sewing, quilting, painting, collage making and any other artistic outlook that captures my fancy. I’ve missed using my paints and fabrics, but I always knew I would come back to them, And, that time is now!
Our hallway bulletin board changes monthly to reflect topics and seasons. Here A Chick bulletin board came together quickly after the preschoolers enjoyed singing and dancing along with several Spring and Easter videos.
We started by having each child pose for a close-up photo pretending to blow a feather. Then they painted 18 x 24 inch paper with pastel paints in either vertical or horizontal stripes. Pastels were easy to mix in four individual paint cups adding a little red, green, purple, and yellow to white. You don’t need much color to get a lovely tint.
After the backgrounds dried, we folded them in half and drew half of an egg shape with a zig-zag or curved top. The children cut the egg shape from the folded paper and were quite pleased with the resulting shape. Then they cut simple wing shapes, glued their faces to yellow construction paper circles, added some whispy feathers, an orange beak and an “eggshell” top to their heads.
All our little chicks loved looking at their classmates “hatching” from the colorful Easter Eggs. Here A Chick, There A Chick was a fun project incorporating painting at the easel, cutting, gluing, and singing!
We try to change it up everyday with different items to count. Earlier this week I grabbed a stack of extra valentines and foam hearts and “Counting Valentines” was born! My kiddos are also working on recognizing numerals 1-10. I wrote large numerals on each card with a permanent marker and then handed one of the girls the stack. Her first task was to name each card, and try to put them in order from 1-6. Then we counted out hearts and matched them to the cards. It was a familiar task with novel materials and kept her engaged. She asked for a set to take home to show her family so they could play together.
One of my favorite sensory “paints” is our puffy snow paint. It’s roughly equal parts shaving creme (cheap, plain, not menthol, not gel) and white glue. Stir in some glitter, add some Styrofoam balls and foam shapes and let the fun begin! The texture is soft and puffy like meringue. It feels nicer than finger paint and spreads with a brush or plastic palette knife. When it dries, a soft crust develops so that when you lightly touch it, it springs back like a marshmallow.
We use this fun sensory paint in our winter artwork. You can also add a bit of acrylic or tempera paint and get grey clouds. Our Spring time exploration will include spritzing it with diluted watercolor paints for soft pastel Easter eggs and baby animal creations. Stop by in a couple of months to see those. Let me know how your little ones enjoy playing with Puffy Snow Paint!