Tuesday, November 27, 2012

How Do I Introduce a Topic

I received an email asking how do I introduce a new topic in a drop-in program. 

In StrongStart, families are welcome to come whenever they can.  
Which means I might see a family a couple of times in one week but not again 
for several, while others come regular days every week.  
I might see families for the whole morning or just half an hour.

The question also asked, do I start with a book, and read it at the beginning 
of the morning?  If they don’t come on the day or even the time I read the story 
then how do I catch them up to the story?

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Thanks for the question Heather.  
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Generally there is a lay over between what we we’re focusing on
and what will come next.

For example; we are still talking and playing about transportation
and we’ll soon be focusing on stars
(which will be connected back to our Fairy Lane project).

Yesterday I created a Star Viewing Station.
It is a large cardboard box (from our fire truck) with white Christmas
lights poked through the top of the box.
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Today, a telescope was added
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and books related to stars.
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This is the starting point to talk with the children about stars
to learn what might interest them.  To talk with the grown ups
and listen to any ideas they may have on the topic.
Then I'll be more prepared to provide a variety of activities,
like art, stories, games, etc.

This is not to say that my whole room is based on one theme.  
So many children and so many interests means having a great variety 
of activities to meet not only their interests but also the developmental 
needs of all the children.

There are also times when introduction of a new topic is very spontaneous.  
If a family comes in excited and wants to share an idea then we build on it.  
We use what resources we have on hand.  
We use the school library.  
We make lists of things to gather for their next visit.

How do you transition from one topic or project to another?


  1. Hi Maureen;
    We are doing stars this week too...but someone brought in a penguin cuddly so now we are doing stars and penguins...go with the flow.

    I do extensions so usually our themes flow from one idea to another in some way that they can understand.

    Stars in the sky...then snow falling from the sky...santa on his sled on the snow....chasing the gingerbread men we are making(bc Santa likes those cookies on Christmas Eve-so our Gingy kids are escaping the night before Christmas snack!)....to stockings hung by the chimney for Santa....to angels in the sky to making ornaments on the tree...

    Circle times are great to review; add and fulfill any other needs and interests...songs help to review what they missed-repetition repetition repetition!

    I leave things out so there is a variety to choose from and if someone missed out on a special art...I have a tray for them to help themselves with.

    It's a great idea to leave those books out with each theme-it inspires us all-a good story always leads to fun activities!

    Happy star gazing!
    We just did our twinkling stars!
    We painted the stars with corn syrup and added sprinkles...and hung them on our "sky".

    They took a day to dry..then I added a picture of each child to their star...you should see how proud they are to show everyone their picture and star. Smiles from everyone!


  2. PS I'm stealing your great idea of the stars in the box! LOVE IT LOVE LOVE IT!
    Just got to beg for a big fridge box from someone now!
    Maureen you keep me on my toes!
    Grenfell SS