Here are teacher recaps from Preschool Director Chu Hsi Tseng’s June 2022 newsletter to give a peek into the Preschool classrooms in action.
Preschool Orange Class with Fu Laoshi
“Butterly!” “That’s not a butterfly, it’s a moth.” “Look, I found an ant!” “Ah! Bee!” “Be careful! It will sting you.” “Why ladybugs are our friends” “Why are flies pests?” “Are fireflies our friends?” Starting with all these wonderful questions, we started our last unit of study, “Exploring Living Things.” Within only seven weeks, instead of being told which are the helpful insects and which are pests, we read books and watched videos, had great discussions, and answered our own questions. Throughout these seven weeks, we kept asking and answering questions about insects and plants. We learned how to plant cherry belle radish, took care of our own plant by watering it everyday. We observed and discussed why some already sprouted, and some didn’t. We observed how little caterpillars became bigger and bigger everyday, transformed into chrysalises, and we have been waiting for them to become beautiful butterflies so we can set them free out in nature. We did an observational drawing about a ladybug as a way to review symmetry. Through learning about the needs of the insects and plants, we learned to protect them and to protect the earth by not littering, not driving too much, and not using pedicide. We really feel proud and fulfilled.
To celebrate what we did and learned this school year, we made and ate granola bites on June 8, and had a dance party at the end of the day. Before the party, we discussed what the ingredients were and where they came from. We learned that almost all of the ingredients we need for making granola bites started with a little seed. People need to take care of them, and it takes a lot of work until it’s ready for our dinner table. We learned to appreciate what we have! We also want to take this opportunity to appreciate all of the parents. Thank you for all the support you have given us, and your understanding. We couldn’t have had a smooth school year without your help. Have a wonderful summer!
Preschool Green Class with Wu Laoshi
April showers (not really in SF) bring May flowers and June is here already, so summer is around the corner! It is hard to believe that the year is drawing to a close. During May, “Reduce, Reuse and Recycle” was our mantra for the month. We have discussed the importance of trees and watched the video “What If All Trees Were Cut Down?” I was pleasantly surprised that some children started to use less tissue to dry their hands, and some children used both sides of the paper when drawing. In addition, Green class focused on living things in May, such as plants and animals. As you may notice, we have some special guests joining our class—Goldfish, Caterpillar, and Cherry Belle Radish. We learned the life cycle of caterpillars and frogs, observed the growth of cherry belle radish, and recorded it. During this period, children found that the caterpillars in our classroom died during their transition. And some of our plants (cherry belle radish) also withered. We took this opportunity to discuss the dangers that creatures may encounter in growth and that it’s not easy for them to grow up. Therefore, we need to take care of the plants and animals. Learning about animals is our favorite! We have introduced oviparous and viviparous, aquatic animals, terrestrial animals, and birds. A few children noticed that rabbits don’t lay eggs. We also watched videos of raising giraffes and rabbits to learn about their habits, what they like to eat, how they sleep, and how to care for them. We continued to introduce different animals’ characteristics and living habits and introduced the ways that energy resources can be conserved.
The end of every school year is bittersweet. Thank you for your trust and support, especially during the years of uncertainty. On a personal note, I would like to say that I treasure the time I get to spend with you, parents, and your children. The children bring laughter and joy to my day. I truly feel blessed to have had the opportunity to get to know so many of you parents and your family. Have a fun-filled and safe summer!
Preschool Red Class with Roan Laoshi
Earth Day inspired us in many ways. After observing our students collecting leaves and flower petals during recess, we realized that Spring is a perfect season to study flowers. To expand our learning, we decided to begin our last unit of study “Living Things” with flowers. We started the project with an opening event in which flowers received from Teacher Appreciation Week, along with scissors and vases, were placed on each table. After students returned from recess, they were invited to touch, smell, and observe the flowers and work as a team to make flower arrangements for the class. After one week, students noticed that the flowers in the classroom were dying and wondered what happened?
Child A: They didn’t drink enough water.
Child B: There’s no sun inside the classroom.
Child C: The flowers look really sad.
Child D: They died already because there are no roots.
During the discussions, students suggested planting the flowers back into soil and placing them by the window. They were hoping the roots would grow back after adequate water and exposure to sunlight. After four days of observation, we agreed that flowers slowly deteriorate upon removal from their roots.
Parents helped our class open a flower and dessert shop in our dramatic area. Students kept busy selling flowers and ice creams and they practiced counting without knowing it:
“请问多少钱？(How much is it?)”
“你有 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 朵花。 5块钱！(You have 1, 2 , 3, 4 , 5 flowers. Five dollars!)”
We want to thank Luke’s mother, Jack’s grandmother, Zadie’s mom, and Chu Hsi Tseng for serving as our visiting experts to make learning super fun! We got to see different types of seeds, learned how garlic grows, sang the song “Part of a Plant,” and explored various edible leaves! We also want to thank you for your love and support throughout the year. We would not be able to have such a wonderful and fun-filled school year without you. Have a great summer!
Preschool Gold Class with Chang Laoshi
The highlights of the past two months were conversations and observations around animals, plants, fruits and seeds. During Circle Time, we read books, watched videos, built wormeries, and observed and cut fruits. In the Science Area, friends observed worms, fish, snails, caterpillars, chrysalises, flowers, and shells. They used magnifying glasses to observe them closely and drew their observations carefully in the science journals. In the Art Area, friends studied flowers, fruit and seeds and did detailed observational drawings. Through these activities, friends not only built up their mathematical and scientific skills but also sharpened their Chinese vocabulary when they shared their observations and asked questions.
May was AAPI month, when we celebrate the journey of all Asian American and Pacific Islandar immigrants and citizens in the U.S. Amy Wu and the Perfect Bao by Kat Zhang, Dim Sum for Everyone by Grace Lin and The Colors of Us by Karen Katz were great books that we used to facilitate discussions. Journeys that teachers and families had made the conversations very meaningful and relatable to our class. All year long, our discussions around self, differences and similarities between each other, creativity, tinkering, protecting the environment, and taking care of the living thing help children understand their responsibilities of being part of a diverse and inclusive community. Thank you for your support and help throughout the year and we look forward to hearing your child’s growth in the coming years! Have a safe and relaxing summer!