Thursday, December 8, 2016

Mail Carrier Day and a Preschool Geography Lesson

The November theme from Mother Goose Time was all about Community Helpers.  On Mail Carrier Day we first completed the Make & Play craft which was a mail carrier bag.  I taped one end of the yarn to the backside of the bag and then I put tape on the other end of the yard to make it more like a shoelace.  This makes it a lot easier to get the yarn through the holes as compared to a continually fraying piece of yarn.
 I told Adam that he needed to get the yarn through every hole.
 That was all the instruction he needed and he sat right down and got to work.
Peter is 5 and officially in Kindergarten but doing mostly 1st and 2nd grade curriculum.  But none of that matters when he sees the fun to be had with Mother Goose Time.  So I prepared the mail carrier bag the same way I did for Adam.
 He sewed his holes in order, not zig zag like Adam.
Great practice for Peter.  Not so much the fine motor which he's got down pretty well, but the patience, persistence and attention it took to get it done and not give up or get distracted.
 The bag is ready and now it is time to deliver the mail for the Delivering Postcards activity.
 We put the postcards in the bag.
Then he took one out at a time and matched it to the location.  There was a doctor that went with the hospital, a teacher that went with the school, a chef that went with the cafe.

Some of the matches were pretty straight forward like the ones I listed already, but others were more complicated.  Like the flowers that were outside the school or the type of trees that were in the picture.

He gasped at every postcard as he took it out of his bag.  He was so excited.
Adam gave some cards to Peter so he could play too.
I chose to put all the location cards in one place lined up on the couch.  This is mostly because I am doing this activity with a 2 year old.  If it was just an activity for Peter, who is 5, I probably would have taped the locations all over the house so he had to get some exercise too.  After all, it would have been more like a true Mail Carrier's job.

Here you can see the matches that went with the fire department location.  The dalmatian, firetruck and the tall buildings that are in the background.
I decided to take a step back and get a picture of the whole couch.  You can see the four different locations leaned nicely against the pillows and the couch cushions themselves made for a nice shelf as we got out the postcards and tried to figure out where they go.
So now here I am, sitting down to write a blog post on this one activity and I thought to myself "this activity was a lot of fun, but what did we learn?" We didn't count anything, we didn't read anything or search for letters, we didn't search for shapes or colors specifically.  To get my answer I went to the Teacher Guide, looked up the activity and read which skills were listed.  There were two skills listed: Patterns and Sorting 18.2 and Geography 23.1.

The Patterns and Sorting I got but Geography stood out to me.  I hadn't remembered ever seeing Geography as one of Mother Goose Time's 33 skills.  So I got out my Developmental Continuum of Skills poster and looked it up.

Geography is skill number 23 and .1 references the ability to identify types of places.  On the Developmental Continuum there are 8 benchmarks starting at benchmark A and ending with H.  A being what an infant would be able to do and H being more towards 1st or 2nd grade level.  

When we are looking at Geography 23.1

  • Benchmark A says that an infant should respond to changes in the immediate environment.  
  • Benchmark B - recognizes familiar places.
  • Benchmark C - Identifies a variety of familiar places, such as the store, car, home or Grandma's house.
  • Benchmark D - Identifies different types of water bodies, streets, buildings and landmarks in own community.
  • Benchmark E - Explains the purpose for different types of structures, such as bridges buildings.  Asks questions about landmarks.
  • Benchmark F - Compares the geographic features of own community to another community.
  • Benchmark G - Identifies and describes various types of land forms and natural resources.
  • Benchmark H - Explains how the physical features and characteristics of an environment affect how people live.  
I love that Mother Goose Time really has thought of it all.  They look at much more than just the basics of reading, writing and math.  I wouldn't have thought about Geography at a preschool level.  But as I read through the benchmarks I was reminded of Adam's talent to recognize where we are in the car.  When we are just getting into the town where my parents live, he always says "We are going to Grandpa's house!"  When we pass by a certain part of our town, he chimes in and says "we are home!"  I would say that he sits comfortably at Benchmark C which is the toddler almost to preschool age range.  Since he is 2 and a half, I now know he is right where he should be.  Isn't that nice to know?  It is for me.  

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