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ARCHIVES: CLASSROOM NOTES: April - June 2010



Les Coquelicots - 5-Day Program, Pre-K


In anticipation of our trip to Giverny les Coquelicots arrived in Paris in April!

The unit began with "il était une fois une petite île au milieu de cette grande rivière; la Seine" (once upon a time in a small land around la Seine).

We collected de la terre (dirt) for our egg containers, glued blue and green paper to represent la Seine and its marsh land. Then came les Parisis, the fishermen who settled here and we had to practice tying knots for their cane à pêche (fishing poles). The letter of the week was P for Parisis and pêcheur (fishermen).

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Since les Coquelicots are in pre-K we are beginning to do some basic reading exercises like the one with Pipo le poisson (the fish) who loved to blow bubbles trying to write his name. We used different color magnets for each child trying to find Pipo.

Then came les Romains. The Romans were great builders and loved the theater and water. Using old white sheets, rubans and real leaves, our costumes were easy to make and pretty authentic looking.

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Using card board bricks and blocks, the children became Romans themselves building des ponts (bridges), des arcs (arches) et des routes (roads).

Using white paper plates, plain paper and sand, each child made les arènes, les théâtres romains. The project allowed the children to own a piece of Roman history as well as teaching them basic skills; folding paper to make les gradins (bleachers) drawing les pierres (stones) du mur (wall) and even saupoudrer le sable (sprinkling the sand on the ground). Not that easy to do for just turning 5 children...

The song Lutèce from French playground / Putumayo Kids collection is absolutely perfect for the unit. We could have done many things with eau (water) we chose a simple science experiment, sink and swim, ça coule ou ça flotte. The children loved it. The letter of the week was O (eau = O in French).

The following Monday we were busy making la Rosace de Notre Dame. To communicate the concept of hard work and community efforts which were in practice for years while hundreds of men built Notre Dame, the children first worked in small teams designing la rosace with wooden shapes. Then each child made a vitrail (stained glass) with paper. It was very encouraging to see how often the children come to the window to check on the progress of their creation.

As always, everyone felt very proud of their work.

Les Petits Chats
Les Petits Chats - 5-Day Program, 2.5-3 Year Olds


Cui Cui Cui! Les oiseaux rendent visite aux Petits Chats.

The main theme unit in the Petits Chats classroom for May are birds. Since we had introduced eggs for Easter, and butterflies with our song Papillon vole, vole for Mother's day, it seemed quite natural to follow up with birds.

The exercise featured here involves pre writing and pre maths skills. Following directions in a sequence, the children were asked to draw a line from the tree to the bird, then from the bird to the food, then food to water, water to fruit, and finally back to the tree.

The French for Fun approach: derived from Maria Montessori's principles involving the body in order to develop the mind, the teacher here stages the different steps to the exercise. Using and controlling whole hand movements, the child has to perform simple practical life tasks such as opening a jar, or pouring liquid and grains into a bowl. He then applies the same focus on mastering fine movement and using his three fingers grasp, traces out the sequence demonstrated earlier with props.

The children are totally engaged, they develop body, mind and language with equal success.



Petits Chats/ Coccinelles - Comme des Grands!

On June 4th, the Coccinelles and the Petits Chats enjoyed a field trip to The Little Farm at Tilden Park. Accompanied by Mom or Dad, and even siblings, the children had the opportunity to observe and feed all the animals we had talked about in class. Mother pig and her five little pigs were very popular, as well as the voracious goats and the black sheep. After a quick trip to the visitor center, we all enjoyed a picnic and celebrated Julian's 4th birthday!

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