Friday, 30 October 2015

Preschool Halloween Fun

Americans are usually dismayed when they discover that Halloween is not celebrated in Switzerland.  In our neighbourhood, none of the houses are decorated and I did not have kids knocking at my door on Halloween.  Fortunately enough, the international school that my kids go to have a high number of American expats so my kids celebrated Halloween in school (although the 1st graders celebrated autumn instead of Halloween).

Kai’s class talked about Halloween all week, from reading Halloween picture books, playing Halloween games to singing Halloween songs (Kai's favourites were “Did You Ever See a Pumpkin” and “Five Little Pumpkins”).  Crafts abound this week where the children made a paper plate ghost, a hanging bat, a pumpkin craft with yarn and pumpkin seeds, making jack-o-lanterns out of oranges and ghosts out of lollipops.  The children made spiders and jack-o-lanterns in German class.  

One of the preschool classes made lift-the-flap pumpkins, which I thought was very creative!
On Monday, I brought in a pumpkin to Kai’s class where the children measured the circumference and height of the pumpkin, and guessed how many seeds were in the pumpkin.  Kai guessed 100 seeds.  The pumpkin had 437 seeds!  Afterwards, the teacher assistant carved the pumpkin into a happy and angry jack-o-lantern.

Today, I went to Kai’s class to bake Halloween hotdog mummies with the children.  Each child made a mommy/daddy mummy and a baby mummy.  The children had fun wrapping their hotdogs with dough and ate them for snack after they baked in the oven.  Kai’s teachers decorated the classroom with everything Halloween-y.  Isn’t it boo-tiful?

I organized a trick-or-treat for the children in the afternoon.  Kai was so excited that he was the first one to run onto the soccer field when the trick-or-treat started.  I dressed up as a witch, and handed out Halloween juice boxes (which I covered with ghosts and Frankensteins – lots of work!) and mini gummy bear packs wrapped in Halloween labels.  Kai dressed up as his favourite superhero (Spiderman) while his best buddy dressed up as Superman.  I expected to see lots of princesses but most of the girls dressed up as witches! 

In the evening, I brought the children for trunk-or-treat in one of the school campuses. There were about 50 cars and the kids had collected a stash of candies in less than an hour! Whew, what a busy Halloween week!

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Monday, 19 October 2015

A Peek into Preschool 2 ~ Families Unit

Kai started full-day schooling at the international school in August.  Although he missed his fun teachers, friends and days at Gymboree, he has slowly adjusted to his new school and has been good buddies with two boys in his class, an Estonian and a Dutch.  He didn’t have tears on his first day of school and came home with a handprint poem after reading The Kissing Hand.

Families Theme

For the past six weeks, his class has been inquiring into families – what a family is, where the children’s families come from & how the families are the same and different.  Here are some of Kai’s works:

(Top left) Kai's first day of school self-portrait; (top right) Kai's self-portrait drawn in the interactive whiteboard; (bottom left) Painting self-portrait with watercolours; (bottom right) End of unit self-portrait ~ what an improvement from his first day self-portrait!
(Leftmost) Graphing the number of members in the family using paint, googly eyes & confetti; (middle) Family in a house; family members made using popsicle sticks, cloth & yarn; (right) Kai's drawing of his family; (bottom) 3D family puppets using recycled materials
Kai had his "special child day" in early September so that his friends can get to know him better.  He had his Families unit portfolio sharing session at the end of September where he reflected and shared his work with me:

Kai has started the Jolly Phonics program in school where the teacher takes them through one letter sound a week with crafts, stories, games and handwriting.  So far, they have covered /s/, /a/ and /t/.


The five preschool classes had a “Teddy Bear Day” in September where each child brought his/her favourite teddy bear to school.  Unfortunately, Kai’s teacher fell sick that day.  Some classes made teddy bear prints with a real teddy bear, made split pin bears, did patterning with gummy bears and had a teddy bear's picnic!

I celebrated the Mid-Autumn Festival with Kai’s class in September.  We read Mooncakes by Loretta Seto, made a craft, ate mooncakes, played the mooncake dice game and even danced around the moon!


Now that Kai goes to "big kid" school, I don't do "mommy school" with him anymore.  But every now and then, we'll do some crafts together at home to go along with the theme in school.  These were the crafts we did in August and September:

We read Chicka Chicka Boom Boom and made a name craft.
5 senses craft ~ the idea came from here
Popsicle stick family craft ~ the idea came from here but I modified it by dressing up the family members with washi tape. Kai drew the faces, hands and feet & labeled each family member.
We read The Seasons of Arnold's Apple Tree and did a craft to go along with it.