Hands on Science – Making Fluffy Slime

When children are fully engaged in an activity, it makes the learning even more interesting and fun for them. Today, our Preschool and Pre-K students were able to experience just that and more, when they made fluffy slime!

Making slime in the classroom is one of the best projects a teacher could execute. Children are fully engaged while they are busy mixing slime, squishing, and stretching it, and at the same time, discussions take place about the different compositions that makes up slime! Talk about the ingredients you are using and why, when combined, they form this rubber substance known as slime. Mixtures, molecules, polymers, viscosity, reactions, are tons of great science vocal words just waiting to be explored while you make homemade slime.

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The children learned mathematical terms, as they measured the different ingredients, and had to quantify how much of each item they were using. The children all took turns, to make 6 different containers of fluffy slime.

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The project created so much excitement that the Toddlers came to join us as well! They had fun mixing in the food coloring, to make our different colored fluffy slime! The only ingredients which were used were:

  • baking soda
  • Elmer’s white glue
  • water
  • shaving cream
  • contact lens solution (secret ingredient)
  • food coloring (if you want to make different colored slime)

This is a great activity to try with your little one at home!

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Week of the Young Child, 2019

This year, Ellie’s Academy is getting ready to celebrate “Week of the Young Child,” a nationally celebrated week of celebration for early childhood educators. WOYC was established by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), the world’s largest early childhood education association.

But do you know the reason behind this week long celebration?

NAEYC chose to establish “Week of the Young Child” to garner more attention on the importance of early child programs. This special week of recognition was first established in 1971, and years later, centers across the United States put together week-long activities for their children and families to participate in.

And at Ellie’s Academy, we’re looking forward to what we have planned for our center’s children and families!

April 8th– Music Monday

  • Musical performer, Mr. Ray, will be coming to the center and performing for the children. Families are encouraged to come and attend the event if they would like to. The Mayor of Somerville, Dennis Sullivan, will also be visiting the center for a special announcement as well!

April 9th– Tasty Tuesday

  • Healthy eating is an important aspect of growing up! And at Ellie’s Academy, we like to promote healthy eating throughout the center; so that is why we’re setting up a DIY fruit parfait at pick-up time. Parents are encouraged to pick-up their children and visit the parfait station for a healthy afternoon snack!

April 10th– Work Together Wednesday

  • The importance of “Work Together Wednesday” is to showcase how different people can come together for a particular cause. The students of Ellie’s Academy are going to be working together to make a center-wide garden; and at the same time, they will learn responsibility because they will be taking care of the plants by watering them, and ensuring they are growing properly.

April 11th–Artsy Thursday

  • On this day, we will be hosting a family-friendly “paint & sip” event. Parents who have signed up for this event will make a beautiful work of art with their little one(s) and enjoy some sweet treats at the same time!

April 12th– Family Friday

  • We could not think of a better way to end the week than with a family game night and dinner for all to enjoy! This is our special way of saying THANK YOU for choosing Ellie’s Academy as their child’s home away from home!

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As you can see, Week of the Young Child isn’t just about promoting the importance of early education. But it’s also about engaging everyone who is a part of our childcare center. We look forward to hosting these special events for our families!

 

The Importance of Handwriting

Handwriting is a very important skill which children learn when they are in Preschool.

The most important thing to know is that handwriting helps develop a child’s fine motor skills. When one teachers a child how to write, one of the first things they learn is how to grip the pencil and proper letter formation.

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It’s also important to know that these fine motor skills will develop over time and eventually, the child will choose a dominant hand for writing themselves.

However, preschoolers can learn a lot more from handwriting as well; it also helps a child’s developmental skills. Once they learn how to hold a pencil correctly and how to move up and down the paper, inevitably children will soon learn how to write numbers and letters. During this phase they then become familiar with the alphabet and number recognition, which leads to reading and counting.

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Here we can see two of our Preschoolers who are prating their handwriting skills; they are currently at the phase where they are able to identify the letters in their names, and are tracing letters on their own. They have passed the phase of hand-over-hand assistance.

It’s More Than Just a Boardgame!

Boardgames have always been an important part of anyone’s childhood! And it’s amazing to see boardgames from our childhood still being used by today’s children. What makes it even better is that they are used in the field of early education, working to teach children other important skills while having fun!

1. Cognitive Functions
Depending on the chosen game, cognitive functions (memory, information retention, problem-solving, and others) are honed when playing. The mind is further developed and the memory is also equipped to retain the information. It has been scientifically studied that when engaging in boardgames, the body is enhancing the prefrontal cortex – a part of the brain which is responsible for complex functions!

2. Brain Development
It goes without saying that engaging in boardgames is a crucial role in any child’s growth & development. When playing board games, children are learning social and communication skills. Additionally, they are also learning to concentrate longer and focus over longer periods of time

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Pictured below are two children from our Preschool classroom; Miss Gina, the lead #preschool teacher, had the children engaging in #boardgames, which is a great cross-curricular activity! With such a simple game, the children are able to incorporate math (counting skills & number recognition), social skills (patience & taking turns), language, and color recognition!

Kudos to Miss Gina for brining out so many learning avenues with a simple game!

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Here are some other games you can play with your child(ren) as they grow older as well:

Scrabble Junior,
Learning Avenues: literacy and language skills

Boggle Junior,
Learning Avenues
: Teaches letters, words, spelling, matching skills

Monopoly Junior,
Learning Avenues:  math, color recognition, reading, reasoning, social skills

The Importance of Puzzle Play

Did you know that puzzle play is very important in early education? There are several developmental skills which are enhanced during this simple activity.

Problem-Solving Skills:
Even completing the simplest puzzle is critical in achieving a set goal. Children must use their imagination and develop strategies on how to achieve this goal. This involves developing solutions, reasoning skills, and solving skills which they can later use in their adult future lives.

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Cognitive Skills:
It is fundamental that all children learn differently, and puzzles serve as a medium to allow them to grow in their learning & development. With puzzles, cognitive skills are enhanced because children learn to follow basic step-by-step directions, which assist them in achieving a final goal: puzzle completion. Cognitive skills are further developed because working with puzzles also incorporates shape & color recognition, in addition to sharpening their memory skills. The more often a child does a particular puzzle, they are able to remember & master how to complete it.

Hand-Eye Coordination:
When children engage in puzzle play, a puzzle may not be completed during the first trial. It’s a “trial and error” process, which involves hand-eye coordination. Here we see toddlers who are working on a puzzle. If at first a piece does not fit, they will try again until they are able to make a match!

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Fine-Motor Development:
Because there are varieties of puzzles available from the Infant-school-age groups, fine-motor skills process over time through puzzle play based on the kind of puzzles children engage in. If they are using large and small pieces, twisting knobs, etc., their fine-motor skills are being utilized.

Social Skills:
When in a group setting, puzzle activities are an excellent tool to enhance and promote corporative play. As children grow older, and work together on puzzles, they engage in discussions to see where the pieces go, taking turns, sharing, and also expressing their frustrations if they cannot fit the pieces. And most importantly, children also learn patience when engaging in puzzle play. They learn that it will not happen right away, and that completing a puzzle takes times. As a child grows older, the puzzles also become more complex, and require more time in completion.

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Puzzles allow for opportunities for the children to grow & develop many different skill-sets. They have the opportunity to continue learning through something very simple, and readily available.

Beneficial Block Play

You may not think so, but block play is a beneficial and educational activity for your little one to engage in! There are many skills which are enhanced with this simple activity.

First, it helps to develop better motor skills; when children engage in building with blocks, it requires your child to place them in a position so that they don’t topple. As the child engaged in this activity more, his/her hand-eye coordination also improves.

Block play also works to increases mental stimulation; children learn to think logically when playing. After they see what they’ve built fall down a few times, they automatically learn how to arrange the blocks to prevent this from happening.

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Building with blocks also enhances their math and vocabulary skills; there have been several studies done which show that the inclusion of building blocks helps develop these skills. Language skills develop because the children learn the names of the colors, shapes and sizes of building blocks. Math skills are further honed when a child learns to add up or subtract the number of building blocks required to build a structure.

In addition, such an activity also enhances their creativity; the children slowly move from merely stacking blocks to creating structures and naming their buildings!

Finally, this type of play activity also encourages positive social interaction between children. y using building blocks, children engage in sharing with one another. By encouraging them to play together they learn how to interact and cooperate!

Welcome to The “Ellie’s Academy” Blog!

We are very excited to share with our current parents and future parents the Ellie Academy blog! This will be a portal that will act as a home-to-school connection, projects you can do to keep the learning active in the home environment, how to beat the unhealthy eating habits (or even how to gain better eating habits), suggestions on how to deal with difficult scenarios which may come up through development, and so much more!

Contributors to the blog will not just be from our owner, but our staff as well!

Babies are such a nice way to start people. —Don Herold

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