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A Closer Look at Pre-K

Monday, April 16, 2018

Take a Closer Look at GUS Pre-K

Learn more about preschool at GUS as we wonder, explore, and discover! 

April 16, 2018:  The World Around Us Drop-In Program, Weeks 2 + 3

The second two weeks of our ‘The World Around Us’ drop-in Pre-K classes flew by as we dug into our investigations on the GUS nature trail and in our greenhouse classroom.

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During our second week we drew pictures of the specimens we’d collected on the nature trail, using our magnifying lenses to take a closer look at them so as not to miss any of their fine lines, bumps, marks, specks, hairs, and other unique properties. For inspiration, we looked at Ellsworth Kelly’s Plant Drawings before getting to work on our own.

      

 

Next, we got to work on our own drawings!

    

We also took advantage of some wet weather to get out of the greenhouse, and look for worms and insects in the mud and under wet leaves and rocks. We found many! It was thrilling to get our hands dirty and dig around to find animals wiggling to the surface (or trying to stay hidden).

    

 

Finally, in our third week, we were excited to see our specimen drawings turned into scavenger hunt cards! We took to the trail with great enthusiasm to be outdoors, exploring the surroundings we’d grown familiar with during our repeated outings, and looking for specimens using our newly created, personalized scavenger hunt cards. On these final trips, we were especially interested to look for signs of animal life in hollowed out trees, under rocks and leaves, and in streams. On our last day of the program, we took advantage of the warm and sunny weather to go farther on our nature trail than ever before - it was a thrilling way to wrap up our 3-week adventure!

   

 

April 7, 2018:  GUS Pre-K Concert with L.A. Musician Parker Bent

On a chilly and rainy Saturday morning, we were thrilled to welcome L.A. musician Parker Bent to Glen Urquhart School for a free, family-friendly rock concert.

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It was a full house, with more than 100 families turning out for the show. Kids munched on popcorn while they sang and danced together for over an hour. Parker's songs delighted the kids (and the grownups!) in the crowd, and it was a special treat for all when he turned the mic over to the youngest voices. Kids were eager to have a turn to join Parker on stage to showcase their best dance moves and sing some of their own favorite songs, like the "ABC's," a selection from "The Smurfs," and "Happy Birthday!" In between songs, children were able to participate in free-form, large-scale community drawing in the GUS Urquhart Room. Parker closed out the show with a clever audience-participation version of "You Can't Always Get What You Want", the Rolling Stones classic that all kids and parents can relate to! By the end of the show the sun had come out and children and families were able to head outside to enjoy the beautiful weather by exploring the GUS nature trail and spending some time on the playground.

This concert was part of GUS's robust line-up of Pre-K programming for children and families throughout the spring and summer. We look forward to hosting more family-friendly activities in the weeks and months ahead, so stay tuned!

   

March 27 +  March 28, 2018​: The World Around Us Drop-In Program

This week we kicked off our The World Around Us drop-in Pre-K classes, and were lucky to have two beautiful sunny days to begin our explorations of the Glen Urquhart School campus. At the start of each class, we gathered together in the greenhouse, and greeted each other by singing a welcome song called "Funga Alafia." Next, we shared our ideas about what it means to be a scientist. Children discussed parts of a scientist's job—observing and examining objects in their environment, and wondering and asking questions, in order to learn about the world. We decided to try being scientists by taking a walk on the GUS nature trail to explore our surroundings, ask questions, and find interesting items to share and examine back in the greenhouse. Magnifying lenses and bags for collecting specimens were chosen, and we let our curiosity, imagination, and sense of adventure be our guide! Finally, we discussed the five senses, and used our senses of sight, touch, scent, and hearing (there was nothing we could taste - yet!) to describe some of the properties of our carefully selected nature trail specimens.

Next week we will continue to examine the specimens we found, and will draw our own pictures of them to include in a nature trail scavenger hunt book. We will also discuss some of our big questions from this week, and figure out our next steps in learning about the world around us at Glen Urquhart School. Join us Tuesday morning at 9:00 a.m. or Wednesday at 1:00 p.m. in our greenhouse.

Read below to see the questions we asked and some of the treasures we found on our nature walks. We were especially interested in the water we observed, the gigantic fallen trees we encountered, and the animal tracks we discovered. If you'd like to flex your scientist muscles, join us next week!

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At this week's The World Around Us Pre-K classes we found animal tracks in the mud and in the snow. We wondered: Which animal left these tracks? A tiger? A lion? A cheetah? What kinds of animals live in these woods? Where was this animal going when it left these tracks?

   

Children examined a fallen tree, and noticed that one side of the tree was bumpy and filled with things that looked like roots, while another side of the tree looked smoother and straighter. We also noticed a tree stump that showed rings. Why were these three tree parts different? How did these trees fall, and why? What could we learn about the trees by examining them?

  

We discovered a bridge on another section of the nature trail. We wondered: where would the bridge lead us? Would there be water under it? Would there be an ocean under it? There was only one way to find out: cross the bridge!

We did find water on one side of the bridge! We recorded the sounds it made and asked: why does the water make that sound? Are there things in the water, like rocks and sticks, that are creating that sound?

We also found water in three other parts of the nature trail. We wondered: where does this water come from? Where does it go? Is it all connected? We saw something in the water that looked like an octopus and asked: Could an octopus live in this water? What kind of animals might we find in this water?