If we’ve learned anything over the past few weeks of Coronavirus quarantine, it’s that our kids thrive when learning is fun. Especially preschoolers. They love dive-in, get your hands messy, tactile learning. Admittedly, facilitating that kind of engagement can be daunting for parents. So we teamed up with the preschool experts at St. James Academy for a month-long preschool adventure you can do at home!

Introducing Adventures in Preschool Learning: Dinosaurs! (Who doesn’t love dinosaurs?!?)

Our guides for this EDventure will be St. James Academy’s PreK teachers, Megan Anecharico and Courtney Fox. We’ll be sharing different activities for you to complete with your child each week for four weeks. For more inspiration, check out our stories on Facebook and Instagram!

“Dinosaurs are so popular with our students because they are fascinating animals with so many different characteristics to explore and discuss!” said Mrs. Fox. “The students are always intrigued by these mysterious creatures and once they learn about one, they are eager to keep learning about the next! It leads to such delightful discussions and wonderful questions, which is why this is such a fun unit to carry-out with this curious little age group!”

Activity: Introducing Dinosaurs Through Literature and Art

Chances are that your four-year-old is already familiar with dinosaurs, which is great! They’ll have their own prior knowledge to build on while listening to a story about dinosaurs. Research suggests that the most productive learning happens when a child can build on what they already know and expand on it. Books are a great way to foster those connections.

Adventures in Preschool Learning: DINOSAURS!

Grab your child and get cozy. It’s time for a story! Dive into “If the Dinosaurs Came Back.” You can get an electronic copy of the book from your library or watch a live reading of it on YouTube.

“We spend so much time at school learning about how dinosaurs lived long ago- learning about their specific characteristics like whether they were a herbivore or carnivore, or what special adaptations they had to protect themselves. We talk a lot about what the earth was like when dinosaurs roamed- no people, no buildings, no roads,” said Mrs. Anecharico. ” So I like this book because it takes dinosaurs from long ago and brings them here to the present day. It lets the kids imagine what life would be like if dinosaurs were a part of OUR world. Children like to “make-believe,” and this story allows them to do that, make predictions, and come up with their own ideas about what would happen if the dinosaurs came back!” 

Before you start the story, ask your child to examine the cover and predict what they think the story will be about — just from the illustrations on the cover and the title. The author, Bernard Most, was inspired to write the story after his son wished that the dinosaurs would come back. The story was inspired by a kid just like your child!

After the story, revisit your child’s prediction. Did it come true? What did they think about the story?

Adventures in Preschool Learning: DINOSAURS! Adventures in Preschool Learning: DINOSAURS!

 

Bernard Most shares a lot of things that might happen if the dinosaurs were to come back. Ask your child to add two more pages to the story. What do they think would happen if the dinosaurs came back? Have them draw the background in black and white, just like Bernard Most! On a separate sheet of paper, have them create a colorful dinosaur. They can then cut the dinosaur out and glue it on to the black and white background. Ask them to tell you about what is happening in their picture.

Stay tuned for next week when we explore dinosaur habitats!

About Our Sponsor: St. James Academy’s PreK Program

Experiential learning is a hallmark of the PreK program at St. James Academy. As an integrated part of St. James’ Program, PreK students have the opportunity to utilize and enjoy the benefits of an 89-acre campus. The program offers the added value of a Kindergarten-Grade Eight experience, which allows students to make connections across grade levels and engage in real-life experiences. Their PreK classes are designed based on the Reggio-Emilia philosophy, a child-centered educational approach that embraces open-ended questioning, project-based learning, and lots of movement. Students begin each day with movement and play while developing those important skills of sharing and caring about their peers. They enjoy circle time, projects, literature, outdoor play/nature explorations, snack and lunch, story time, and rest, and they  end each day with more movement. St. James Academy also understands the needs of an academic PreKindergarten program, so within the experiential, they are weaving the academic building blocks that all students need to succeed as they move into older grades. They also understand the variety of learning styles children bring and their approach differentiates for each child’s readiness. Each week is enhanced by a host of extracurricular offerings such as world language exploration, library, art, physical education, music, and chapel. Yearlong enriched experiences include assemblies, field trips, guest speakers, and participation in school-wide community service projects. LEARN MORE