Congratulations to the winners of our Early Childhood Winning Ideas Monthly Contest! Each of these entrants - teachers just like you - won $50 in Scholastic products for sharing their ideas. Thanks to everyone who submitted to the contest. And remember to check the latest contest topic for more chances to win!
1. Preschool Friends
By: Judy Hoyle, Sedge Garden Preschool, Kernersville, NC
In my three year old class we take photos of each child at the start of the year and create a "Preschool Friend, Preschool Friend" book to read in class. It consists of each child's photo and the words "Preschool Friend, Preschool Friend, Who do you see? I see (child's name) looking at me." At the end of the year we make a copy for every child and have it bound for them to remember their friends.
We also do a book called "When I Was Three." It is full of photos from the whole year of each child and all of the activities we have done. All of the mommies love it and the kids like to look at it and tell about the year.
2. Keeping in Touch
By: Barbara Formichella, Early Education Center, Mesa, AZ
We are a preschool program for four-year-olds who are moving on to Kindergarten. Families often like to keep in touch with each other as the year ends, so our class makes an "Our School Family" address book. Each child draws a picture of his/her home, and names and addresses are added by teachers.
The pages are duplicated and bound as a book for each child. If parents would like to exchange phone numbers for playdates, birthday parties etc., they are given an opportunity to do so on the last day of school. Teachers include their addresses as well. This way we all still feel connected, and it's easier to say goodbye!
3. Getting Ready for First Grade
By: Sandy Simmons, Richton Square School, Richton Park, IL
I teach Kindergarten in a Pre-K and K building. When my students leave Kindergarten they go to a new school. In April, we start to talk about first grade. In May, we put together our memory books, create a list of our favorite songs we have learned this year that from which I make CDs for each of them, and we autograph each others' t-shirts. In June, we visit their new school, which I have worked at and am familiar with. During the last week of school, they control what we do, whether it is to blow bubbles, make rockets, or read stories. I let them decide where they want to sit. It makes them feel grown up to be able to make all of the decisions. As a final activity I let them ask me any questions they want to and give them my email and home address so they can write to me any time. It is the perfect end to our year! I often hear from them during the summer and into the next year.
4. From Beginning to End
By: Robyn Benjamin, Woodland Elementary Charter School, Atlanta, GA
I begin my end at the start of the year by opening a folder on my computer for each child. As I take pictures throughout the year, a copy goes into the folder of each child in the pictures. By the end of the year, each child has a lot of pictures. The pictures have two purposes: 1. I print them as the year goes on and every Friday is "Scrapping Day". I have "scrapbooker friends" who come in a help the kids scrapbook their pictures into their "scrapbooks" (folders or notebooks with plain paper). By the end of the year, they have their own personal scrapbook and we have a "signing party." 2. I put all of their pictures into a PowerPoint presentation for each child. We work on the computers for about 2 months prior to the end of school, creating frames, adding graphics and clip art, and making them fancy. Each child records a sentence and types it on each slide. During our "end of the year party," each child presents their slideshow to a roomful of their parents. There is not a dry eye in sight! Children these days are so able to use technology to complete great projects. Let them step up to the plate!
5. Celebrate Good Times...Come ON!
By: Kelly Brown, Cherryville Elementary School, Cherryville, NC
To bring closure to end of my school year and to celebrate my students many achievements, I do several things with and for my kids. On the last day of school, we have "Awards Day". I pass out their "Time Capsules", give out photo collage frames, and show a DVD I make with pictures I have taken throughout the year. My families always love this - and I tell you there has never been a dry eye in the room - especially with the music that I add to it! I make copies of the DVD to give to each of the students as well. That is one of the "gifts" I give them at the end of the year. The kids just love seeing themselves in a "movie!" They think they are big time celebrities.
Another thing I do for my kids is make a picture collage of their pictures taken throughout the year. Believe me, by the end of the year, my kids are well trained in picture taking! It is just so cute to see how much they have changed.
For the Awards, I find something unique and special about each student. I do NOT give out awards for Best or Most in anything! For example, I have a child that loves to dance so her award will be "likely to be caught dancing the day away". I don't want any hurt feelings and this way my students can enjoy what I have picked up on about them throughout the year. The Awards Day ceremony comes complete with a program so families can keep a copy of what all the kids were "awarded" with at the end of the year.