Yesterday marked the end of our first two weeks at the preschool this year. We usually allow up to three months for the children to get accustomed to the rhythm of our day. This year is unique however, as we have so many children returning from last year. They already know what is expected of them at Willow House and for the few new students we have, they have very easily adapted to the rhythm of the day.
The handwork in the first few days of school is kept very simple. The first week, each child was given a short length of wool yarn (about ten inches long) to feel and explore and talk about. My ultimate goal was to teach them how to tie a knot. But it's fun to see where the children take this on their own. Some began to make shapes and letters, others wound it around their finger and made a puppet...one child even pretended it was a mustache. After playing for a while, we began the lesson of tying a knot. For some it came quite easily...the younger children had to work at it a bit harder, but eventually, they were all able to make several knots. Pure joy and satisfaction was revealed in their very expressive faces.
In the second week, we continued working with yarn and this time we made rope twists. This was a great exercise in fine motor skills as well as learning to work with a partner.
We began with a length of yarn about two yards long. (I pulled out a piece that reached from hand to hand across my out-stretched arms). Fold the yarn in half and the child who is helping holds the looped end in their hand, the other child begins by twisting the ends of the yarn (be sure they continue to twist in only one direction). Here Julen is helping a friend.
Once the yarn has been twisted from end to end, I stepped in to gently take both ends being careful to keep the yarn taught. I then asked the child to find the halfway point on the twisted yarn and push down (I am still holding the other ends together).
This is even fun for adults! If you don't have a partner, you could hook the looped end over a doorknob so you are free to twist.