The staff of Little Owl would like to share some simple activities that we hope will be fun experiences for the whole family. We'll change them every month or so. The activities and ideas on these pages reflect Little Owl's philosophy of learning in concrete ways, using all our senses and giving children the opportunity to use their creative voices to make the projects their own. Open ended conversation with your child is one of the ways children build vocabulary and build on the knowledge base they already have. Research shows one of the best indicators for successful learning in school is having a parent who reads to his/her child every day. We often notice an interest by listening to the questions and having "conversations" while we read with the children. This sparked interest leads to many of the extended activities that scaffold to another level of learning. Enjoy these activities and feel free to share your favorite home activities with us.
Books should be found everywhere; the bathroom, the bedroom, in the car, in baskets, under pillows - even outside. The best place to read to your child is anywhere you can be comfortable! Bring books with you on long and short trips. Even trips to the doctor's office and grocery store can be made more pleasant when your child has a book.
Share your enthusiasm about your reading and make sure your children see you reading for pleasure.
Our philosophy and educational pedagogy is based on the strong research of Social constructivism, Brain and neurological research and the educators of Reggio Emilia, Italy. They include: Jean Piaget, John Dewey, Z. Vygotsky, Jerome Bruner, Ellen Galinsky, Daniel Siegel, Howard Gardner, Loris Malaguzzi, Howard Gardiner, Richard Louv, Louise Derman Sparks and Bev Bos. We believe the best learning takes place when based on the belief that children come to us powerful, full of desire and abilities. They grow to construct their own knowledge and not only need, but have the right to be co-researchers and co-learners with their teachers. Learning occurs as learners are actively involved in the process of meaning and knowledge construction as opposed to passively receiving information. Deeper learning scaffolds upon what the child already knows and is interested in. Questioning and experimentation lead to collaborative learning, seeking consensus and reflecting on learning as something dynamic that can change with experiences. Ideas are reshaped as their evidence finds original theories need reworking or a different perspective. Social/Emotional Intelligence is as valued as Academic Intelligence. Building character with respect, resiliency, empathy and the desire to hear all voices will serve them well as they develop higher levels of critical thinking. The following resource list and links are books, agencies, sources we find useful and promote our vision of the best practices for children, educators and families.
The experience of fiber art develops and nurtures imagination and creativity (intelligence), eye/hand coordination (writing skill), expression of feelings and ideas (language) and the concept that ideas have value (self‑esteem).
Reading isn't the only way to learn. A child's understanding about the world depends a great deal on their sense of touch, smell, sound and taste.
Children's imaginations are endless. One day they are a Super Hero, then next a Dog Doctor and then a rock star. An easy way to enlarge on this kind of play is to have a few prop boxes available.
Construction and Building
One of the best things to build and create with is the plain old cardboard box. I think it's a universal experience that all children enjoy turning a box into something else. Track down Antoinette Portis' charming book, It's Not A Box, which explores all the possibilities a child sees in an empty box. It could be a mountain, a rocket ship, a cave or a boat. I highly recommend checking out the video and resulting Imagination Foundation from Caine's Arcade. You can find it at cainesarcade.com. Adults and children of all ages have been inspired by this little boy's ingenuity and vision of making an arcade out of cardboard boxes. The website shares other children and families attempts at creating imaginative things using cardboard.