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A trip to Gambia

During this busy month at RRDC children learned about dinosaurs, the solar systems in some classrooms, many things from The Gambia and had an Art exhibition too! Lets start with the infants…

Decorating our dinosaurs with tissue cutouts

Some of the infant children explored dinosaurs and enjoyed music class outdoors.

Learning about different instruments with Ms Chen and Nesli

Our toddler 1 classroom had fun learning about Gambian houses and things they use for example gourd spoons and pumpkin bowls! They also learned about the meaning of the Gambian flag and the interesting wildlife around West Africa.

Art and things found in homes in Gambia

Toddlers made the Gambia flag with their handprints!

The Toddler two classroom had so much fun learning about outer space!  They read many space books, and looked at planet and solar system pictures. Children have been working on identifying planets by studying them and creating/painting lots of murals.  They also learned that the Sun is actually a star. To wrap up our space unit the children built a rocket ship!

Working hard on making that rocket ship!

We also made some masks after learning about Gambia and worked on a quilt!

Working on making a quilt

showing off her beautiful mask

 

 

 

In our Preschools we did many different things too..

Some  children learned about the solar system, including stars and constellations. They discussed different sizes of the planets, their formation and names too! Learning about the solar system can be tricky and abstract for children at such a young age so we try our best to make it as interactive and engaging as possible because the children show so much interest in this topic!

As part of the science program, we also studied some life-cycles of various living things for e.g. chickens, frogs and plants! With plants we planted some seeds and observed them for an extended period of time, watching them grow and discussing what we see. We also made observational drawings comparing different plants and read many non-fiction books to make it as meaningful as possible!

Our Gambian ambassador visited the classrooms too..

Trying on clothes from Gambia

For fine and gross motor development children have learned how to roll mats, wash windows, clean up using dust pan and broom and fold some t-shirts. This part of Montessori helps children learn about self-care. Cutting bananas, shredding cheese and soap, and spreading. Children love preparing their own food in the classroom and helped sliced bananas, made sandwiches and offered snack to their friends in the room! This helps them learn to care for others!

Children are also learning some American Sign language, Spanish and Mandarin during circle times with their teachers.

In another classroom we began our month with a space and myth theme. We used our myth theme to transition into some basic writing; to practice some name writing we started a sign-in sheet.  We also had discussions about how letters are formed, some ways to hold a pencil and the order of alphabet.  Children began learning about the difference between vowels and consonants, rhyming, and phonics through different Montessori works. We also focused on story elements such as characters,plot and the beginning, middle, and end of a story.   Lastly, we had our “Pom Pom” party this month, which included our lovies and a wonderful picnic in the park!

In a different classroom children worked on some Gambian Batik our ambassador introduced to us as well as household items like coasters. Children carefully weaved yarn around the coasters by following a rhythmic pattern- this helps develop cognitive development as well as fine motor strength. Our ambassador Mrs Aminata introduced Gambian musical instruments, clothes, money and some foods too!

Exploring the gourd and Gambian flag

We also discussed Gambian Art and common themes found in them, such as colors, lines and different shapes. Children used photos of animals found in Gambia and art to draw and paint in the classroom.

Using colors found in Gambian art to paint her own picture!

Working on coasters

Exploring instruments in the music corner and practicing our Gambian songs

Lastly, we held our end of the year Preschool Art exhibition and Carnival for all the children and parents to enjoy! The families and teachers enjoyed a wonderful graduation ceremony for our Preschoolers, many different activity booths including a bouncy house and danced to some West African music!

Preschool art exhibition. Photo courtesy Maria Grunwald

Photo by Maria Grunwald

Children made Batik- a beautiful patterned fabric found in Gambia- Photo by Maria Grunwald

Here are a few highlights of the Carnival, more photos to come! 

Dancing at the Carnival

Click the link above the view a video!

 

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