In honor of Groundhog's Day this week, we talked about the seasons in general. Seasons seem like a basic concept, but can get confusing for some preschoolers. Yes, spring is a season, but no, Easter is not a season and March is not a season. Easter is actually a holiday in the month of March which falls in the season of Spring... you can see where they can get a little mixed up. The easiest way I've found to discuss seasons is what we do and what we wear in each one. I did originally want to read "Red Sings from Treetops" by Joyce Sidman instead of "Old Bear", but several kids in my first group on Tuesday actually wandered off when I was reading that, so I finished the "spring" section and did our craft then. That's why I always have a back-up book! I do think it's a great book, but probably needs more concentration and explanation than is available in a storytime setting.
It's nice to start with a character everyone knows. And who doesn't love Curious George? This board book has limited text, and a wheel you spin to show things that we associate with each season. I pretty much disregarded the text and said things like, "What do we see in springtime?" and pointed to each picture to have the kids name what George was doing or wearing.
This is a nice peaceful book with descriptions on all four seasons and lovely illustrations. Originally four separate books, now each section is linked by "You know it's Spring (summer, fall, etc.) when..." and then a discussion of what we do and feel that season. Several wordless pages are included in each section, which I could see getting more scrutiny if you were reading one-on-one instead of to a group.
I am a fan of Kevin Henkes. And though this is a much simpler story than some of his others, the illustrations complement it perfectly. A bear, sleeping (I sneak in a little talk about hibernation in there) in his den, dreams about the different seasons and then finally wakes up when it really is spring. Simple story, but the repetition reinforces the names and concepts with spring, summer, fall, and winter.
Activity: Season Sorting
I made up a sheet for the kids, divided into quarters. Labeled each quarter with "spring", "summer", "fall" and "winter" along with a little illustration of flowers, a sun, leaves, and snowflakes so the pre-readers could tell which was which. Then I gave them each a stack of 8-10 stickers that I had made up in Word with various clip-art pictures of skis, sandcastles, baby chicks, pumpkins, and other seasonal items. The kids then were to put the stickers under which season they represented. They also drew pictures of things from that season. If you were doing this individually, you might also have the kids cut out pictures from magazines and paste them in as well. The kids especially loved the snowmobile sticker I put in there...
Theme used week of February 1, 2010.