“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.” Ecclesiastes 3:1.
By Beth Pinyerd
Happy National Newspaper Week to The Opelika Observer. We say thank you for serving our community so well. Newspapers let us know what is happening now. It provides motivation for reading and discussion which is so important in education.
The newspaper is such a wonderful teaching tool for the classroom, families and individual children. At times we think of our newspaper being used by older children bringing in weekly current events but we early childhood teachers use the newspaper for teaching reading, language arts, math, social studies and science. Newspapers make learning so much fun.
A newspaper project area with the different sections of the newspaper spread out like community news, weather, sports, education is a good starting point. Provide crayons, markers, construction paper, plain paper and glue to encourage learning and creativity in the preschool mind.
My classroom room mothers would cut out newspaper pictures to use in teaching the alphabet letters of the week as well as phonics. Children can match pictures to the correct letters and sounds. Too, cutting out newspaper stories in pictures and learning what comes first, second, etc. teaches language arts sequencing skills.
My favorite newspaper resource is for a young child to choose and cut out their favorite picture from any part of the newspaper, whether it be advertising or cartoons, then glue this picture on tag board or construction paper. During reading group time, the children can tell a story about the picture. As a teacher, I write down the story the child is telling and attach it to their chosen picture. Families can do this at home as well and share during family time together.
Have you ever noticed that the newspaper is full of numbers? As a teacher, I love to set up a grocery center in my classroom for the children to pretend to go shopping and buy groceries. The newspaper food ads and coupon sections can provide a good money lesson. Have the children count out pretend monies on how much something costs that is advertised in the Looking at the scores in the sports section can provide math lessons in numbers and which team wins vs. loses. Newspapers have many different shapes in their content. In preschool we teach and sing about shapes such as squares, rectangles, triangles or circles. Children will love pointing out different shapes they see in the newspaper and teachers and adults can make it a game. We are blessed to have a wonderful recipe section in our newspaper by Ann Cipperly. Young children love to help their families prepare delicious dishes. They can learn about measurements, steps of preparing a recipe and helping to serve special dishes. Include your preschoolers in family meal preparations. These build warm memories.
Too, what better lesson can be taught to preschoolers than about their community. The newspaper is always highlighting the activities going on in our community. Community Helpers is a favorite unit to teach young children. Community Helpers being rewarded or recognized is good for our young children to learn. Point out Community Happenings in the newspaper that you and your young child might want to attend. As teachers we look at the newspaper to see interesting places that we might want to take our children on a field trip. Too, the newspaper can teach our young children about different cultures and help them begin to have an understanding and appreciation that we are all different and we are all special. Preschoolers can be taught character lessons from our newspaper. Our columnists provide wonderful weekly family lessons that can be read to your preschoolers.
Newspapers also highlight science lessons for young children. There is always coverage of our weather in the newspaper which can help preschoolers learn different kinds of weather. Will the temperature be hot or cold over the next few days? This will help them learn the skill of predicting outcomes. Too, we always see all kinds of animals in the newspaper such as pets, farm animals, forest animals, zoo animals or water animals. Children can make simple animals posters or books with newspaper pictures of animals. Remember, young fingers get inky when working with newsprint projects. Provide wipes, water, soap and paper towels when young children finish projects.
Our newspapers not only teach and benefit our younger children, but they are excellent teaching resources for us older folks too. I love to do “Sit and Chats” with the Greater Generation as we reflect and remember famous front page stories like landing on the moon in 1969, different national, state and local elections in years gone by or the end of different wars in the United States. We certainly remember the Personal Advice Columns in our newspapers. This can set up wonderful interactions of stating questions asked then how would they offer advice and solve the problems. Too, recalling newspaper stories from the past is so very good as a resource for Memory Care.