A couple of years ago, the principal on my early childhood campus decided to intentionally make learning rich, developmentally appropriate vocabulary and language a part of every morning as students came into school. You can read all about this process in some of my earlier blog posts starting with the one on QUILTS.
Although these activities were extremely beneficial, we also recognized the importance of being exposed to and developing vocabulary in a child’s natural environment, the home.
Most parents are more than willing to work with their students at home IF they are provided with the tools necessary to do that. Sometimes parent just don’t know where to start.
We send home guided reading books, sight word flash cards, spelling lists, etc. Our parents ALWAYS do the decorate the turkey or cowboy boot activities with their children. They make beautiful dioramas and “about me” collages. So WHY NOT send home language activities with rich vocabulary and actual supplies needed to set them up for a language activity in the home?
Learning language through ACTUAL experiences is the most relevant and meaningful way. With campus goals to improve vocabulary and parental involvement, it just made sense to start sending home the tools necessary for parents to provide experiences in the home with language development as the main goal.
Our first take home activity was one we knew parents would be happy to use because it involved FOOD! We knew that many of our students would not have the necessary ingredients in their pantries to make a recipe from scratch. We partnered with our local grocery store to provide enough muffin packets for every student in the school to take one home!
With each package of muffin mix, there was a vocabulary instruction sheet in both English and Spanish. You can download a copy of the page that has been edited for your use HERE.
We encouraged parents to share their photos with their children using a specific hashtag, making them easily searchable and shareable on social media. With every post that was shared, every child we saw holding their pan of muffins, we knew we had made a potentially lasting effect on them because now we had made an impact on their parents and in their home.
As the students came into school each morning, we asked them if they made muffins or pancakes from their mix and charted it with their names.
So what do you need to get started? Just download this worksheet, ask your local grocery story how many muffin packets they will donate, your principal how many packets their budget will afford, and your PTO when can they help print and assemble the muffin activity to distribute to each class. You may be able to get enough for your entire PreK or Kindergarten class.
Maybe you want to start smaller. Send home a muffin packet with each of the language impaired students on your caseload. They are less than a dollar per packet in my grocery store and on Amazon.
I would love to hear how this goes on your campus. You can likely still see some of the photos posted by parents by searching the #ExperienceCarver hashtag on Facebook and Instagram. Please tag me in any posts you share so I can see their precious faces. You can find me on instagram at @msgardeniasspeechroom and on Facebook at Ms. Gardenia’s Speech Room.
Feel free to share in the comments below as well 🙂