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?