Nature News

Weeding our gardens before we can plant vegetables and herbs.

Weeding our gardens before we can plant vegetables and herbs.

As former UN Secretary General Dag Hammarskjöld said, “He who wants to keep his garden tidy does not reserve a plot for weeds.” And so weed and water we must, as Nature teaches us a lot: plants are as thirsty as we are and weeds grow even faster than we do. While tugging on some strong, thick weeds, we talked about why we need to remove them. First, we thought about what would happen if two friends tried to drink out of a very small cup with two straws. Then we huddled together and tried to spread out our arms (roots) which we agreed was hard to do.

We also talked about the first commandment mentioned in the Bible which was God’s direction to Adam (whose name in Hebrew means man of the earth) to take care of the earth. The Bible also forbids us from destroying the fields or fruit trees of an enemy. 

We are working diligently this summer to maintain our crops planted over the last two months, each tending our own tiny plots and helping out with others. As we work to keep our herbs and vegetables healthy in the summer heat, we learn about what plants need to grow, the changes they go through, and the challenges they face. We also learn about commitment and teamwork! A worthy effort indeed.

A More In Depth Look at WotYC at MCA

This post will provide a more in-depth look at the Week of the YOUNG CHILD at MCA as well as provide parent resource articles with information, tips, and ideas.

As you know, the Week of the YOUNG CHILD at MCA is April 11-15 and each day will celebrate our early learners and demonstrate our project based learning curriculum.

These are our themes:

Matzah Monday

Tinkering Tuesday

Whimsical Wednesday

Theatrical Thursday

Family Friday

 

HOW DOES PROJECT BASED LEARNING WORK?

Let's use Matzah Monday as an example of how our teachers break down our monthly themes and build a project from it:

 

MATZAH MONDAY

Project: Making Matzah

Early Literacy Objectives:

  • Read books about matzah
  • Understand connection between books & personal experiences
  • Engage in word play
  • Predict Endings
  • Engage in dialogue
  • Beginning sounds

List of Books:

  • Matzah Ball: A Passover Story - Pre-K
  • The Matzo Ball Boy - 3 & up
  • The Little Red Hen and the Passover Matzah - 3 & up
  • This is the Matzah - 3 & up
  • Matzo Ball Moon - Infant/Toddler & up
  • No Matzah for Me - Infant/Toddler & up
  • Lotsa Matzah - Infant/Toddler

Social Studies objectives:

  • Discuss why we eat matzah during Passover
  • Talk about Passover and its significance

Science objectives: Cooking

  • Predictions of what will happen to the matzah once baked
    • Will it be hard or soft?
    • How will it taste?
  • Discuss cause and effect
  • Discuss chemical reactions
  • Conduct experiments with fermentation, oil and water, etc.
  • Make homemade play dough using flour

Math objectives:

  • Measure the matzah ingredients
  • Compare and contrast measurement tools and increments
  • Discuss size, geometric shape, and attributes of matzah
  • Compare dry ingredients and wet ingredients
  • Talk about the significance of the number 18
  • Count to 18 (Pre-K count by 2s)
  • Graph
    • Who does and doesn’t like matzah
    • Who knows matzah’s shape
  • Sorting pieces by size
  • Guess / estimate the number of holes in a piece of matzah

Art Objectives: Make a matzah cover

Use a white handkerchief and decorate:

  • Paint with watercolors
  • Paint stripes for handwriting practice
  • Cut small pieces of tissue paper, spray with water and let dry on handkerchief, then scrape away the tissue
  • Decorate with markers and spray with alcohol and watch the colors bleed
  • Glue fabric scraps to create a design

Resource for families:

     Article: Children Learn So Much From Cooking!

 

Here’s a glimpse of the rest of the week and how you can incorporate activities at home...

 

Tinkering Tuesday: Build together, work together

When children build together they explore math and science concepts and develop their social and early literacy skills. Children can use any building material--from a fort of branches on the playground to a block city in the classroom, or a hideaway made from couch pillows at home.

Try this: Practice organizing blocks by size! Try building a block tower with large blocks on the bottom and little blocks on top! OR build a fort in the living room!

Resource for families:

     Article: 10 Things Every Parent Should Know about Play

 

Whimsical Wednesday: Let’s be silly together!

Young children have a special preference for silliness! Experts believe that silliness has important developmental benefits for building social skills, cognitive thinking and creativity.  Laughter creates a bond between people.  Stretching the imagination, thinking outside the box, and learning to look at a situation from different angles are other long-term benefits of developing a sense of humor.  Dr. Seuss is the best example of taking silly words and creating meaning with his message!

Try this: Reading Dr. Seuss books, Singing silly songs while in the car, play rhyming game using names

Resource for families:

     Article: Encouraging Your Child's Sense of Humor 

     Book: Pre-School Parenting Secrets: Talking with the Sky by Brian Caswell

 

Theatrical Thursday: Think, problem solve, create

Children develop creativity, social skills and fine motor skills with open-ended art projects where they can make choices, use their imaginations, and create with their hands. On Theatrical Thursday celebrate the joy and learning children experience when engaged in creative thinking and art making. Use any materials - from your imaginations to crayons to paint, clay to crafts!

Try this: Take art projects outside!  Offer light and dark paper! Act out scenarios. Create fantastical tales with words randomly chosen by the children and then make a picture book of the story!

Resource for families:

     Article: How Dramatic Play Can Enhance Learning

     Article: Meaningful Art Projects Parents Can Fit Into a Busy Day

 

Family Friday:

Engaging and celebrating families is at the heart of supporting our youngest learners. We would like to invite parents to come celebrate a special Tot Shabbat dedicated to family!  Stay after Tot Shabbat and have lunch with your child. 

We would love to end the week with a special Kabbalat K’tan with Ms. Lisa Silver at 6:00 in the sanctuary.  Afterwards, meet us on the playscape for a night at the movies under the stars! 

Try this: Over the weekend, head to the library and check out some books! Make a Cozy Corner at home! Have an indoor picnic!

Resource for families:

     Article: Books Plus Time Equals Happiness

Week of the YOUNG CHILD at MCA

Each year NAEYC, National Association for the Education of Young Children, sponsors a weeklong celebration of early learning, young children, their teachers and families called the Week of the YOUNG CHILD.

We love this idea, so we are going to celebrate the
Week of the YOUNG CHILD but with an MCA twist!


(What's an MCA twist? Well, for instance,
instead of 'Taco Tuesday' we are doing 'Matzah Monday'!)

So, for the week of April 11-15, we have planned 5 days full of creative ways to celebrate our early learners and demonstrate our project based learning curriculum*.

Matzah Monday
Tinkering Tuesday
Whimsical Wednesday
Theatrical Thursday
Family Friday


Did you catch that last one? Yes! It's Family Friday and we have something very exciting planned...

We would love to end our fun week with a special Kabbalat K'tan with Ms. Lisa Silver at 6:00pm in the sanctuary. Afterwards, join us on the playscape for a night at the movies under the stars!

 

*HOW DOES PROJECT BASED LEARNING WORK?

Here's a great example of how our teachers break down our monthly themes and build a project from it:

MATZAH MONDAY
We are going to make Matzah together!
In this one collaborative project we will tackle multiple objectives such as:

  • Science (cooking, predictions, ingredient combinations)
  • Math (measuring, counting, graphing)
  • Social Studies (why do we eat matzah during Passover)
  • Literacy (books about matzah, word play, interactive dialogue)
  • Art (decorating matzah covers in creative ways)


For a more detailed description of how these objectives are met, click here to visit the MCA blog. You can also click here for an article on how children can learn so much from cooking!

Please mark April 15th on your calendar because we would love for everyone to attend. We will send out more details on our Family Friday movie night as it gets closer on the calendar.

Want to be involved more than movie night? There will be plenty of opportunities to help out throughout the week, so please check with your teachers to see what they need! Also, check out the more detailed description of our week here, and see if one of these topics are up your alley! Perhaps you love to cook and want to help bake Matzah or maybe you're an artist, a builder, a storyteller, etc. We would love to have some parent-led projects, so if something speaks to you, please let us know!

Also, the NASHVILLE ZOO is kicking off the Week of the YOUNG CHILD with free admission after 2PM on Tuesday, April 12th. Local organizations geared toward children will have booths set up throughout Entry Village with activities and information from 2pm-5pm. Hopefully, we can all take advantage of this great deal and community opportunity to converge en masse on the Zoo!

Theresa and the MCA Staff

 

   Please join us for an Open House on Wednesday, February 3rd, from 9:30am to 11:00am.  Come LEARN about Micah Children's Academy, see where your children will PLAY, and find out how they can GROW with us.  Email Theresa LePore at  tlepore@micahchildrensacademy.org  to RSVP or schedule a private tour      LEARN...   - Curriculum promoting cognitive, social, emotional, physical, and creative development  - Highly trained educators encouraging children to explore and share  - Hands on learning methods   PLAY...   - Thoughtfully designed indoor spaces  - Eco-friendly outdoor playscape  - Gardens outside every classroom   GROW...   - Preparation for a lifetime of learning  - Emphasis on communication and parental involvement

 

Please join us for an Open House on Wednesday, February 3rd, from 9:30am to 11:00am.

Come LEARN about Micah Children's Academy, see where your children will PLAY, and find out how they can GROW with us.

Email Theresa LePore at tlepore@micahchildrensacademy.org to RSVP or schedule a private tour

 

LEARN...

- Curriculum promoting cognitive, social, emotional, physical, and creative development

- Highly trained educators encouraging children to explore and share

- Hands on learning methods

PLAY...

- Thoughtfully designed indoor spaces

- Eco-friendly outdoor playscape

- Gardens outside every classroom

GROW...

- Preparation for a lifetime of learning

- Emphasis on communication and parental involvement