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How Themes Help Children Learn

February 18, 2010

Thematic Studies
A Story-Telling Platform

 

Themes support the application of new knowledge across various subject areas: Math, Science, Art, Language, Social Studies, Dramatic Play, Movement and Music. Themes invite children to immerse themselves emotionally, cognitively and physically into the process of learning.

 For Example:

Thematic Study
The Ocean

Unrelated Learning Objectives
Identify the color blue
Count to the number 5
Say the letter sound “S”

Whale

Thematic Link
Work together with the children to make an ocean mural. On a large piece of paper, children finger paint a blue ocean with “five fingers.” The teacher cuts out a sea star and prints the letter “S” on the star. Children choose sea star cutouts and glue them onto the ocean. Together say “S-S-Star” and pretend their hand is a sea star swimming in the ocean. Count the sea star arms: 1-2-3-4-5.


 

Our themes are broad and leave room for children to guide the discovery. When children help define the direction of a theme, the theme takes on a life of its own and children gain a personal connection to the knowledge.

When children explore the world around them, they collect information and store it in their memory. This is the process of developing mental schema. A mental schema can grow both in depth and breadth. Breadth of knowledge is like a panoramic photo that captures an expansive landscape but not the individual details. At Mother Goose Time, we identify three broad categories within which themes emerge: self, nature and global.

 

Personal

 

Nature

 

Global

Experiences in personal
day-to-day life

 

Experiences in nature
and the great outdoors

 

Experiences in the
world with diverse
people and places

 

Children deepen their understanding when they have meaningful experiences within one of these categories. Children may experience something in nature like an insect crawling up their leg. Out of curiousity, the children may want to know more about insects and start learning about dragonflies, butterflies, and lasybugs. They will file the memory of the insects within their picture of nature.

Soon their nature photo will be filled with many various themes - such as insects, birds and trees.

Often children become curious after having an experience within a category. This curiosity drives their interest to discover and learn more.

As children dig deeper and deeper into the details of the themes, they experience a depth of knowledge.

 

Mother Goose Time Curriculum offers a set of thematic studies that supports both a breadth and depth of learning experiences.

  • Each year, we recommend a combination of nine themes from the three categories of self, nature and global.

  • Each month, children expand their knowledge by digging into the depth of one theme.

  • Each day, children explore a subtopic and participate in activities and sensory experiences designed to offer diverse perspectives.

The result is an intentionally formed web of information that is organized around a series of themes and connects abstract concepts of letters, numbers, colors, shapes and facts. This web assists children in achieving maximum results in the storing and recall of information within their memory.

 

2010/2011 Themes:

Month

Theme

Numbers

Letters

Colors

Shape

Music Genre

September

Family Tree & Me

1 & 11

M, T & A

Green & Yellow

Circle

Swing

October

Bugs & Crawly Things

2 & 12

S, B & L

Black & Orange

Rectangle

Pop

November

Farms & Barns

3 & 13

C, X & U

Red & Brown

Triangle

Country

December

Winter in the Woods

4 & 14

W, O & H

White & Red

Square

Folk

January

Dress-Up Jobs

5 & 15

Z, D & V

Yellow & Gray

Star

Rock

February

Climb into Nursery Rhymes

6 & 16

I, P & R

Pink & Purple

Heart

Jazz

March

Birds & Eggs

7 & 17

N, B & E

Blue & White

Oval

World

April

Baby Animals

8 & 18

Y, G & A

Brown & Green

Octagon

Classical

May

Meet at the Pond

9 & 19

J, F & K

Purple & Blue

Cresent

Latin

June

Island Cruise

10 & 20

I, Q & T

Orange & Pink

Diamond

 Reggae

July

Let's go Camping

 

 

 

 

 

August

Be a Superhero Camp