Teacher Talk: Pre-Kindergarten Students Explore the Sights and Sounds of All Five Oceans

April 6, 2016

Do you want to know how four and five year children know the names of all five oceans? Gather lots of small figures of ocean animals, find five tubs and label each one as a specific ocean, find a simple song about oceans, and be prepared to make small, medium, large, and huge ocean animals with the children after doing research about them. Our Pre-Kindergarten classroom is full of the sights and sounds of oceans!

Our five ocean tubs are full of water we made out of rice and blue paint … it was fun shaking that mixture until it was all blue. Each tub has lots of animals that live in that particular ocean. We have fish, mammals, and crustaceans. The dramatic play is fabulous. Some children prefer to make scenarios with friendly animals. Others act out chase scenes with prey and predators. The prey usually gets away! Some children are very factual as they manipulate the animals, others are fanciful. But even the facts can be fun …polar bears and penguins are interesting. I often hear: “No! No! No! The polar bears stay in the Arctic Ocean and the penguins in the Southern Ocean. They never meet! The bears would eat the penguins!”

We painted large and long pieces of paper various shades of blue and hung our ocean in the hall. Then we got busy making animals that appealed to us! Dolphins are leaping out of the ocean, diving for fish, chasing each other, talking to each other, bumping each other, leaping over each other, and coming up for air. We have fish scurrying around, staying out of the way! We have big turtles using big flippers to swim along, diving and coming up for air. We add animals as we think of them. The idea of adding angel fish came from one of the children! Painting them was interesting. Lots of different ideas … all beautiful. Fabulous fine motor skill work while cutting and painting all those sea creatures.

Very, very, very large whales are swimming across our classroom walls. Our Humpback Whale, Sperm Whale, and Orca were really fun to make! Good research, memory, and design work in order to make each whale different. Many children cooperated to cut them out and paint them. We didn’t have black or grey paint and so we even had to mix different colors of paint to make “Humpback Whale Color”, “Sperm Whale Color”, and “Orca Color”. Everyone thought that was great.

During our last days of our unit on ocean life, our Pre-K students produced spectacular paintings of ocean animals. They selected ocean animals from our sets and looked at each one carefully before painting it. Observation, planning, design, spatial awareness, fine motor control, use of color, and creativity! Come see our collection of vibrant works of art displayed in the hall. View more photos on our SmugMug page.

Patty LaMothe
Pre-Kindergarten Teacher