Young children are naturally curious. They want to investigate, to know more, and to find out. The topic might be something individual to a particular child, or perhaps a small group of boys and girls choose to follow an interest together. Sometimes, as part of a curriculum or standard, the entire class will learn more about a specific topic or theme. The research process
for preschool children should include asking questions and then searching for answers, using a variety of resources to gather information, documenting the learning in many waysretelling, acting out, playing, creating artwork, dictating thoughts, discussingand sharing the information with others.
Learning More About Tools
(Science Early Learning Standard)
One important science topic involves learning about toolstheir purposes and usesand how specific tools can help solve problems or create something. Parents can provide valuable experience with tools by visiting the classroom and sharing implements from their workplace or hobbies with the boys and girls. You can introduce students to the helpers in your school by asking the secretary and custodian to demonstrate the tools that make their jobs easier. In addition, make sure you model the proper uses of tools the children will use in schoolcrayons, markers, pencils, glue, scissors, paints and paintbrushes, and tape. The following books also serve as interesting resources for learning about the world of tools:
| ||I Love Tools!|
|by Philemon Sturges, illustrations by Shari Halpern (HarperCollins, 2006, ISBN 0060092874)|
"Tools, tools, tools! I love tools. I love my ruler. I love my square. They help us draw a straight linethere!" This story in rhyme introduces young children to basic hand tools as a family constructs a birdhouse together. The big and colorful art in the book makes it easy to see the tools and understand their purposes. The text also evokes the five senses, such as hearing the hammer and smelling sawdust as the saw cuts into a board. The end pages of the book include outlines of the tools with descriptive sentences about the purposes of the tools.
| ||My Little Red Toolbox|
|by Stephen T. Johnson (Silver Whistle, 2000, ISBN 015202154X)|
Preschoolers can really feel like contractors when they "play" with this combination toolbox and book. My Little Red Toolbox features cardboard tools that really work: a pencil and an erasable slate, to draw up plans; a ruler to measure things; a saw that makes noise when it cuts wood; a drill with movable parts; a screwdriver and screws that turn; a wrench and bolts that turn; and a hammer for pounding nails. The tools fit into snug compartments in the pages of the book, and each two-page spread features a tool and a different shape that is part of the "work" for that particular tool. While they're building, children also learn about shapes, numbers, and colors. This is an ingenious approach to learning about tools!
| ||My Toolbox|
|by DK Publishing (DK Preschool, 2001, ISBN 0789468980)|
This DK publication is really a first word book. Each page contains one or two pictures of tools with a name label under each photograph. The book also includes 11 press-out tools that can be removed from the board pages for further play.
| ||Old MacDonald Had a Woodshop|
|by Lisa Shulman, illustrations by Ashley Wolff (Puffin, 2004, ISBN 0142401862)|
The Old MacDonald in this woodshop happens to be a mother sheep, and she is working on a very secret project. All the animals on the farm come to visit and to help while the baby animals peek in through the woodshop door. The Old MacDonald songwith a twistserves as the text for this story; instead of the sounds animals make on the farm, the noises of tools fill the song. This is a great book to share with children. They love singing all the sounds of the woodshop and delight when the mysterious workshop project finally reveals itself!
| ||The Toolbox|
|by Anne Rockwell, illustrations by Harlow Rockwell (Walker Books for Young Readers, 2006, ISBN 0802796095)|
In this simple yet informative book, Anne Rockwell gives young children a look at common hand tools and their useful jobs. The toolbox is a treasure chestand boys and girls will want one of their very own.
Learning More About Pirates
(Employed to meet Language Arts Early Learning Standards)Boys and girls love pirates. They enjoy the adventures, the freedom, the buried treasure, and the costumes of the pirate world. A study of pirates offers the opportunity to model and practice reading and writing skills.
- After reading several books about pirates, create a large chart to compare and contrast the characters and settings in the stories.
- Make a list of pirate vocabulary from the various stories.
- Use information from the stories to create a class information book about pirates.
- Create a pirate mural, including a map of buried treasure.
- Turn the playhouse or dress-up corner into a pirate ship. Have lots of kerchiefs and eye patches ready for the young pirates to play.
| ||How I Became a Pirate|
|by Melinda Long, illustrations by David Shannon (Harcourt, 2003, ISBN 0152018484)|
Jeremy Jacob is a boy who builds sandcastles on the beach, loves soccer, and knows a pirate when he sees one. One day, Braid Beard and his men take a wrong turn at Bora Bora and sail right to the beach where Jeremy is playing in the sand. Well, the pirates need a digger to help with buried treasure and Jeremy Jacob doesn't have soccer practice until tomorrow, so off he goes with the crew to become a pirate. After just one day with the pirates, Jeremy forgets his table manners, gulps his food, and doesn't miss eating spinach a bit. What he does miss, though, is someone to tuck him in at night and read him a bedtime story. Shiver me timbers, this book is a treasure!
|by Giovanni Caviezel, illustrations by Cristina Mesturini (Barron's Educational Series, 2006, ISBN 0764159933)|
Pirates! is a book created in the shape of a pirate boy. It is filled with information about pirates, ships, and buried treasure. Some topics covered in the text include who the pirates were, how to become a pirate, what the different parts of the pirate ship were, what the pirates wore, and what things were kept in the hold of the ship. With drawings, cut-away diagrams, and labeled pictures, this book is a great resource for boys and girls who want to learn more about being a pirate!
| ||Shiver Me Letters: A Pirate ABC|
|by June Sobel, illustrations by Henry Col (Harcourt Children's Books, 2006, ISBN 0152167323)|
The pirate captain alligator in this adventure wears a rubber-duckie inner tube and sends his pirate crew to search for all the letters of the alphabet. The pirates search ocean, island, and sand and finally round up those letters, except for Z. Exhausted from their wanderings, they fall into their bunks and, sure enough, up pop those zz-z-z-z-zz-z-zz-z's as soon as they fall asleep.
| ||The Night Pirates|
|by Peter Harris, illustrations by Deborah Allwright (Scholastic Press, 2006, ISBN 0439799597)|
In this bedtime tale, Tom meets a band of rough, tough little girl pirates with their own pirate ship. They welcome Tom aboard and sail off to an island. What they don't know is that a crew of real pirates is on the island, and the children surprise themselves and the reader with what happens next. The soft illustrations and jaunty text take you along on this fearsome trip. Wait, was that a dream, or did I really spend the night on a pirate ship?
Books selected and reviewed by Carol Price
. Carol Price has been a preschool teacher and director, a kindergarten and first grade teacher, an elementary principal, and a K-12 English language arts coordinator. Recently retired after working thirty years for Worthington Schools in Worthington, Ohio, she now spends her time as an educational consultant, workshop presenter, and adjunct professor at a local college. More importantly, she finally has hours and hours available to read newly released children's books and to curl up with a few of her old favorites, too.