I was born in Australia, and grew up in Sydney - even though I have lived in the US for many years, a big part of my heart is Australian. Naturally, I love to celebrate Australia Day with the Aussies. Here are a few ways you can celebrate, too.
This is a set of activity printables for young learners. Perfect for an introduction to Australia for children in the US, and to celebrate Australia Day for preschoolers and Pre-K in Australia. ("Harbor" and "color" use US spelling. Email me for a file with Australian spelling). It has 52 pages.
See it here and here. It is completely free to KidSparkz members.
Here's what's included:
• What is Australia Day?
• 2 posters
• Photos of Australian icons
• Uppercase alphabet letters for games and room decor
• Golden wattle writing/drawing page
• 2 Aboriginal style paintings
• Boomerang order by size
• Aboriginal artwork and crafts flashcards
• Design a boomerang
• Match the boomerangs cut and paste
• Photo flash cards of Australian animals (4 to a page) (12)
• Large cut outs of Australian animals (12)
• “Kangaroos crossing” road sign
• Australian animals song
• Emergent reader using photos – “What Animals are Native to Australia”?
• Emergent reader in b/w for children to color
• Cut and paste animals onto a simple map of Australia (both in color and b/w)
• Flag poster
• Color the Australian flag.
Here's an Australian animals unit, for preschoolers, with 86 pages.
Download these 3 FREE tracing and counting Aussie animals printables ...
.... and this set of FREE 10-frames counting cards. Provide manipulatives for counting, such as small leaves, play dough, or counters.
I love the cute-style Arctic Animals graphics, and use them often. But when we are teaching about the scientific aspects of the animals, such as the habitat, physical characteristics and interaction with the environment, it is important to use more realistic graphics. This Arctic Animals unit has had a lot of good feedback. It is designed for preschool, pre-K and Kindergarten.
Here are some pages ...
And here's what's in it ...
• Full page color posters, (15) Arctic animals included are : Arctic wolf, caribou, musk ox, Polar bear, walrus, Arctic fox, tern, snowy owl, puffin, beluga whale, orca whale, harp seal, narwhal, Dall sheep, Arctic hare .
• A “finish the picture” page for each animal in b/w. Discuss the page, read the caption. Children add other things to the picture, suggested by the caption or in the discussion. They can also dictate words for the teacher to write (or try themselves).
• Flashcards (4 to a page) for each animal – make games such as match the pairs, concentration/memory, hiding and finding etc. Use for recognition and vocabulary extension.
• Fact cards (2 to a page) 1 for each animal. These cards have real photos of the animal, and 3 to 4 interesting facts about them. Can be made into booklets with staples or a ring through holes punched in one corner.
• A picture/written word strip for each animal (word wall)
• Emergent reader – “Who Lives in the Arctic?” (Color photos)
• Emergent reader – “Who Lives in the Arctic” (B/w – children can color pictures.
• Game – categorize Arctic Animals/not arctic animals. This can be a center, or individual cut and paste b/w.
• Game – Find 3 animals each that go in the water/air/land . This can be a center, or individual cut and paste. b/w.
• Anchor chart and sorting game – Carnivores/Herbivores.
• Set of large animal cut-outs (labeled). Use for small group teaching, recognition and vocabulary; bulletin board; room display etc. Tape a craft stick to make a puppet.
In this preschool "draw and color" style booklet, the graphic style is semi-realistic. This one is $2.
If we are going to go TOTALLY cute, here's a freebie - a set of Arctic Animals large manipulatives for counting, 0-20.
26 important things to do to encourage the love of reading in early childhood environments
1. Use rich and complex language when interacting with children. Use descriptive words such as “proud”, “forgetful” and “translucent” in everyday language and sentences, and the children will pick up the meaning of the word in its context – if not the first time, then the second or the third.
2. Encourage the children to use complex language and sentence structure by modeling words for the children to hear and say. Speak to them, as you would want them to speak back to you. Encourage them to express how they are feeling.
3. Read to small groups at story times. Make sure the children are comfortable. Show the cover of the book you will read and introduce the characters. Tell a little bit about the story. Hold the book so that the children can see the pictures. Make faces and change your voice to bring the characters to life. Stop and talk about what the pictures show and what might happen next.
4. Read fiction and nonfiction books aloud daily, a little beyond what you think the children can understand. Encourage them to ask questions, to discuss that they have heard and seen in the pictures, and to pretend to read the stories themselves.
5. Read to one or two children at a time when they make a request or when you want to share a book that's just right for a particular child. Use these read-aloud sessions to encourage children to talk about the story and the characters and to share their own ideas.
6. Provide props and costumes so that stories can be acted out. Have a box full of hats and scarves and bits and pieces, so that the children can create their concept of the characters.
7. Encourage empathy and extend imagination by asking the children how they think the character is feeling. Have them change the ending of the story, or tell what they think might happen after the story has ended.
8. Encourage children’s questions, and don’t necessarily answer immediately. Challenge them to think by giving part of an answer, and letting them make a connection. If they discover their own “answer” with a little bit of prodding, they will remember it longer. This also encourages self-confidence in their own ability to solve problems and reach conclusions.
9. Provide opportunities to arouse curiosity about their surroundings and the world. Offer opportunities to experience and discover things beyond their everyday environment. Play different kinds of music, for example ethnic, classical, rock, and not just “children’s” music. Have available paints to mix, seed to plant, and of course reading materials of many kinds.
10. Try to relate the “themes” that you present to the children with what they have an interest in at the time. You could have 3 or 4 themes going at once, depending on the level of fascination. Personal discovery is a powerful motivator to remember.
11. Variety in our surroundings arouses interest – rotate toys, activities and “centers”. Leave things available long enough for interest to wane a little, them bring them out again in a few weeks. New learnings will be added, I guarantee.
12. Field trips add amazing dimensions to interest, learning, and motivation. Make our world AUTHENTIC rather than “virtual”. Read the book, then visit the scene, then read the book again. WOW!
13. It is so important to demonstrate and model the mechanics of reading and experiencing books. Show how to hold it, to turn the pages, to recognize the beginning and the end. Point out punctuation marks, word breaks, paragraph breaks, different kinds of print, and different kinds of reading materials. Name the author and the illustrator, explain their roles.
14. Surround the children with print, letters and words besides books. Label objects, post the alphabet, play lots of matching and categorizing games.
15. Have many touchable, hands-on letters, words and print available. Alphabet puzzles, magnetic letters, stencils. Write letters in the air, on your knee, in sand trays, in finger-paint. Have wring materials (crayons, markers etc) available all the time.
16. Draw children’s attention to the sounds of the letters (phonemic awareness), and how they sound when they are part of a word or a sentence. This is a very important skill to develop. When the shape of a letter is introduced, associate it with it’s sound.
17. Read many books that focus on the sounds of words and letters, such as Dr Seuss, Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, nursery rhymes etc. Hesitate when saying the rhyming word, so the children can fill it in.
18. Play lots of rhyming games, such as “clap when you hear two words that rhyme”, or ask if two particular words rhyme. Chant them. Clap or stamp syllables of words, especially names. Count the syllables. Count the words. Exaggerate the sounds.
19. When indicating the first sounds of words, say it as a short sound. For example, say “de” quickly instead of “dar”.
20. Write down the children’s “words” as much as possible. Descriptions of pictures, what they did last night, a fantasy story, everything. Let them see you write it. Tell why you are leaving a space, or putting a dot. Point to each word and read it back to them, and let them read it with you.
21. Learn about your library's services for young children. Sometimes librarians can visit childcare programs to discuss books and ideas. Borrowing from the library is a great way to expand book access. Order ahead online.
22. Create a colorful, well-lit, carpeted library area with soft chairs or pillows. Place books, magazines, and other reading materials with covers face up on low shelves or a rack so children can see them. Decorate the area with book posters and displays about favorite books. Offer a flannel board, puppets or other materials for acting out stories
23. Encourage children to develop the small muscles used for writing. They can cut, paste, draw, paint, thread beads on a lace, roll play dough, connect small blocks, use a keyboard, play a drum, spread peanut butter on a cracker.
24. Set up a special place where children can practice writing. Provide a table and chairs and low, open shelves filled with lined and unlined paper, writing tools, junk mail and catalogs, office supplies, a typewriter, and other items to encourage children's make-believe play
25. Include a few ready-made blank books (e.g., 10 pieces of paper folded in half and stapled on the fold) for children's use. Provide binding supplies such as cardboard for covers, a hole punch, string, or a stapler
26. Include opportunities for writing as a part of children's play. Offer writing materials and props for real workplaces--a restaurant, store, health clinic, or travel agency. Children can write menus, sales receipts, prescriptions, and tickets Put paper and markers near blocks so that children can make signs or labels for their block buildings
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr's message of equality, freedom and justice was eloquent and inspired, but how can we present it adequately at the level of a preschooler? We can begin what will, hopefully, be a journey of positive exploring, discovering, and understanding with an all-encompassing demonstration of kindness.
We all understand and respond to kindness. Here are some ways to begin, and continue, spreading the concept of being kind to one another, as we are interacting with young children.
This interactive cut and paste reader is about one little fish who was joined by so many colorful friends that they made a big bright beautiful rainbow.
Here is a set of 10 pictures to encourage conversations about being kind, being helpful, and cooperating.
Hello, I'm Susan. My goal at KidSparkz is to offer instantly downloadable, free and low cost early childhood printables and activity packs to busy teachers and parents.
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