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ECC 703

December 22nd, 2011



Philosophy of Education ………………………………………………………… p. 3 Group specifics …...……………………………………………………………… p.5 Environmental plan ………………………………………………………………. p.6 Description of plan….………………………………………………………. p.7 List of materials …..………………………………………………………... p. 9 Ideal schedule….………………………………………………………….. p. 12 Goals and objectives ………………………………………………………. p.13 Curriculum …….……………………………………………………………….. p.16 Subject area skills ………………………………………………………… p.16 List of themes, projects & activities ……………………………………… p.18 Anticipatory planning webs……….………………………………………. p.20 Integrated web …….……………………………………………………… p.23 Teaching & learning methods……………………………………………………p.24 Sample lesson plan ………………………………………………………………p.26 Plan for assessment ………………………………………………………………p.28 Parent involvement ………………………………………………………………p.30 Use of technology …….………………………………………………………….p.32 Appendices……………………………………………………………………….p.33 References ………….……………………………………………………………p.35



Life is a journey of constant changes and realizations. Children are constant reminders that life is impermanent and we must make the most of it. My purpose is to inspire young children to love learning, love life and love themselves on this beautiful journey called life. As Rudolf Steiner once said “Our highest endeavor must be to develop free human beings who are able, out of their own initiative, to impart purpose and direction to their lives” (Follari, 2011, p. 240). It is essential to do in the first years of life because so many changes and developments occur that change our lives in the future. For a child, life is play. It is through role-playing, building, movement, music and creative projects that children learn problem solving and critical thinking. Encouraging free play and imagination are central to the young child’s world and development because it allows them to fully integrate the world without preconceived ideas. Also, young children pick up what is in their environment and the behaviors of others through imitation. As a teacher, one must be self aware of ones actions and model respectful behavior in order for children to grow up to be stronger and more empowered humans in our society. Children are curious and natural learners. It is my belief that nature provides everything we need and can be the best teacher in life. Author Richard Lou (2008) states that “children need nature for healthy development of their senses, and, therefore, for learning and creativity.” By allowing my students to fully explore and discover the natural world around them through play, they will learn to respect all living and non-living things as well as gaining knowledge of the planet we live on.


I think that it is important to consider children as capable beings and active contributors to their own learning. Teachers need to get to know each child as an individual person who learns at their own pace and has particular interests in order for them to reach their full potential. What may be developmentally appropriate for one child at a particular moment may not be for another. Children should be encouraged to work in groups to cultivate a sense of community but also have the choice to make decisions and think independently. Teachers learn from their everyday interactions with children. That is how we become better educators. It is my duty to continue learning and growing myself, by regularly reassessing the classroom and expanding resources. Teachers, parents and communities must work together to provide nourishing and caring environments that will spark interest and foster development. It is through this collaboration that we can establish agreements and dialogue and thus make everyone’s lives more enjoyable. Because of my multicultural background, fostering a knowledge of other cultures as well as learning about local customs events and will be a central part of everyday learning. Also, having worked in photography and film, using technology in my classroom will allow children to capture their lives outside of school as well as communicate to their parents what they have done in class. For example, using child friendly cameras is a great way of fostering independence and instilling a send of pride in the learning process.



The following curriculum has been created for a mixed aged classroom of preschool and kindergarten children (ages 4 and 5). There are 12 students, 7 of which are girls and 5 are boys. The setting is a suburban, middle class neighborhood outside of New York City. All the families are able to pay for this private school education. 6 of the students are Caucasian (2 of them coming from different European nations), 2 are African –American, 2 are of Asian descent (3rd generation Americans) and 2 are Hispanic but all speak English, and only 3 students speak another language at home (2 of the Hispanic student speak Spanish and 1 of the European student speaks French). All, except for 1 student, appear to have appropriate physical, cognitive, social and emotional development. This child is one of the Caucasian Americans and has difficulties sitting still, concentrating and occasionally displays aggressive behavior. He has not been evaluated, but shows no visible physical or cognitive impairments.



(Made using Floorplanner)


This environmental plan has been designed for children ages 4 and 5 in mind. The general octagonal shape allows for free movement and a feeling of openness while at the same allowing for visibility from all areas of the room. This geometrical shape is mimicking what honeybee’s cells look like, although they make their cells with only six walls. Light is extremely energizing and important for growing the garden; therefore there are large windows on each wall except the one with the Smartboard. The entrance to the classroom faces a communal garden and has extra space for cubbies and for children to take their shoes off and change into slippers. This avoids dirt and mud from getting into the space too much. It is also important to have a separate space where children and their parents can stay for a while if needed. A bathroom has been added so that no on has to leave the class. It allows for the teacher to know where every child is while at the same time fostering independence of using it alone and when needed. The meeting area provides a space for the group to meet and discuss and share anything and everything. The sharing table provides the children with an opportunity to show their peers something important to them or a project they have completed. Having benches or back jack chairs (see Appendix 1) gives children their own space and support for their backs. Smartboards are useful multimedia tools for the classroom in certain occasions. It should be monitored by the teacher and used occasionally. The tech area includes one computer for group research work and for use by the teacher. This corner of the classroom is the quietest. There is also the library center, which is a place to relax and feel safe in. This area has pillows and a sofa as well as a stereo with headphones to allow children to quietly engage in activities.


The creative center has kidney tables so that children can interact with each other while doing projects or for the teacher to help scaffold and/or observe. There are easels and a touch box with changing manipulative materials in it to enhance tactile experiences and also so that multiple children can work on different projects at the same time. This area is close to the kitchen so that children can easily access a sink. The kitchen is an area that must be kept clean and any activities happening here must be done with the supervision of an adult. It is useful to show children daily activities that happen in the kitchen and have them help out. It also provides a space to eat in (along with table from critical thinking area). The critical thinking area is where children can be challenged intellectually with puzzles, games, and acquire math skills. The imagination area includes some kind of covering (tent or play stand) in order to create a feeling of being in a separate room. The block area blends into this area so that imaginary play is not constricted to a certain space. It also allows for the free movement of large materials such as blocks and more social interactions between the children.


LIST OF MATERIALS Note: all furniture and materials are wooden unless specified otherwise

Meeting area - Large circular carpet - Smartboard - Sharing table (includes objects that children bring in from outside playtime or home that they want to share) - Calendar (includes days of the week, months, how many days in school) - Benches or back jack chairs (see Appendix 1) Library/Ohm area -

Books Pillows, cushions, sofa Ceiling is covered with a fabric hung in a droop Carpet Stereo to play music with headphones Hammock

Imagination area -

Wooden logs, branches Large tunnel blocks/ large cardboard blocks Arches Tent or play stand (see appendix 1) All wooden blocks for food (can be shaped as some foods) Large fabrics Felt dolls and puppets Notepads and pencils Tank for fish, worms, ants, gerbils, etc. Stuffed animals Cardboard boxes Knitted ropes


Block area -

Wooden blocks & large plastic/cardboard blocks Musical instruments Wooden and plastic animals & cars, buses (transportation) Train tracks and magnetic trains Legos Rocks, pebbles, sticks, string, masking tape. Images of world famous buildings Paper & pencils Fabric pieces/ carpet swatches Reuse leftover materials from art (old paint bins, tape rolls etc) Cardboard boxes Play wooden construction sets (screwdrivers, hammers, nails)

Critical thinking area -

Puzzles (foam, wooden, small and large) Unifi cubes (plastic) Small dry erase boards with markers Abacus Lego (plastic) Board games/cards Memory games Pick up sticks Magnet tiles 2d shapes & 3d shapes

Creative area -

Paints, finger paints Crayons, markers Cardboard, paper, construction paper, tissue paper Scissors, hole punchers Buttons, small fabric and felt pieces, string, beads Screens, looms, yarn Clay, beeswax, sponges, play dough Recycled items bin, small boxes Touchbox (sand, soil, rocks, rice, beans, foam, slime, floam) Book about artists & art projects Easels, mural paper


Kitchen (used only with adult supervision) - Real sink and stovetop - Basic foods (flour, rice) - Ceramic plates, cups, glasses and utensils (all real, no plastic or Styrofoam) - Child safe knives and peelers (see Appendix 1) - Refrigerator & freezer - Window farm/garden (see Appendix 1- vertical gardening system in window using recycled materials) - Planter beds to grow food/flowers in - Soil, seeds, watering can, construction items stored away (screwdrivers, shovels, plant food, and other gardening needs) - Cookbooks Tech area - One shared computer with several stools for group work - Childproof digital photo cameras (see Appendix 1)

Other -

Cubbies Sleeping mats Recycling bins



8:30 am


8:30am – 9 am

Outdoor play in the communal garden

9 am – 9:15 am

Morning meeting time

9:15 am – 10 am

Structured activities

10 am - 10:15 am


10:15 am – 10:45 am

Free play

10:45 am – 11 am

Story time/ sharing time

11am – 12 pm

Outdoor play

12 pm – 12:30 pm


12:30 pm – 1:15 pm

Rest time

1:15 pm – 2:15 pm

Free play

2:15 pm – 2:30 pm

Wrap up meeting time

2:30 pm

Pick up



SOCIAL/EMOTIONAL SE1- Child is able to follow classroom rules and routines smoothly. SE2- Child is able to separate easily from adult. SE3- Child understands the value of classroom materials and treats them with respect by knowing where to use them and where to put them back. SE4- Child is able to share toys when asked to do so. SE5- Child is able to go to the bathroom without assistance. SE6- Child recognizes the feelings of others and responds appropriately. SE7- Child is able to adjust to classroom transition without insistence. SE8- Child demonstrates self-direction by making decisions about what materials to use and when. SE9- Child can enter into or initiate a play situation.

COGNITIVE C1- Child is able to count past 20. C2- Child is able to order numbers from smallest to largest. C3- Child recognizes shapes and creates more complex shapes with already known ones. C4- Child makes up own stories while looking at a book. C5- Child understand the days of the week and time differences. C6- Child like to take on pretend roles and situations in play. C7- Child is able to classify objects in varying degrees. C8- Child is able to measure and compare amounts.


PHYSICAL Fine PFine1- Child is able to hold a pencil in a tripod grip. PFine2- Child can cut out shapes with scissors. PFine3- Child can slip beads onto a string. PFine4- Child can zip up coat. PFine5- Child can (un)dress him/herself PFine6- Child is able to draw people and copy shapes. PFine7- Child is able to write some letters. Gross PGross1- Child can jump and hop with ease. PGross2- Child is able to walk across a balance beam. PGross3- Child can coordinate movements and move fluidly. PGross4- Child can climb up and down a ladder. PGross5- Child can skip. PGross6- Child is aware of own body when climbing over and going under small areas. PGross7- Child can throw overhand and catch a ball with ease. LANGUAGE Receptive LRec1- Child can follow multiple step instructions. LRec2- Child can listen to another speaker. LRec3- Child remembers important events during the week/month/year. LRec4- Child follows directions given to the group. LRec5- Child follows directions given individually. LRec6- Child understands stories read aloud. LRec7- Child understands classroom discussions by answering ongoing questions.


Expressive LExp1- Child takes turns in conversations. LExp2- Child knows the words to many songs. LExp3- Child is able to express feelings and ideas with some ease. LExp4- Child likes to retell familiar stories in a logical order. LExp5- Child is able to act roles either showing off or shyly. LExp6- Child asks appropriate questions. LExp7- Child knows the sounds of the letters of the alphabet. LExp8- Child asks for help when needed.



SUBJECT AREA SKILLS MATH M1- Connects quantities of objects or actions to numbers M2- Becomes familiar and/or identifies monetary quantities M3- Sorts and categorizes objects by one or more attributes M4- Estimates the number of objects in a group and verifies results M5- Uses objects and drawings to add and subtract up to 10 M6- Compares different quantities (more than, less than, equal) M7- Names and draws 2 dimensional shapes M8- Recognizes and recreates patterns M9- Measures length and weight M10- Creates simple graph using collected data

SCIENCE Sci1- Asks meaningful questions about a topic and seeks out answers Sci2- Makes predictions about an outcome Sci3- Identifies and manipulates a wide variety of equipment for investigation Sci4- Makes observations and records Sci5- Describes similarities and differences in the appearance and behavior of what is observed (people and animals come in different sizes and colors) Sci6- Represents collected data through representations (drawings, sculptures, charts etc) Sci7- Understands the changing form of liquids, solids, gases Sci8- Knows that living things need food, water and air Sci9- Notices changes in environments (climate, seasons, life and death etc) Sci10- Uses five senses to make comparisons


LANGUAGE ARTS LA1- Reads and starts to write upper and lowercase letters LA2- Can sight read signs, words and symbols in familiar settings (school, stop sign) LA3- Uses pictures to learn the meaning of words LA4- Groups words in common categories LA5- Uses pictures and some print words to show the order of events in a story LA6- Begins to understand the difference between fiction and reality LA7- Expresses ideas by telling them to an adult who writes them down LA8- Prints letters of own name and short words (letters form words) LA9- Writes simple stories using pictures, letters and invented spelling LA10- Explains what he/she is writing about and for what purpose LA11- Follows oral instructions

SOCIAL STUDIES SS1- Identifies ways we belong to different groups (family, friends, schools) SS2- Uses stories, folktales, music and art to learn about other cultures SS3- Describes the location of important places and things in familiar settings (home, school etc) SS4- Tell how natural resources such as water are being used in particular setting/context SS5- Recognizes that people have things they need versus the things they want SS6- Knows that some things need to be purchased or a service may be required SS7- Understands the importance of rules in a community SS8- Identifies different occupations and their roles in society SS9- Cooperates in classroom activities by sharing and resolving conflicts using words SS10- Recalls the necessary steps involved in purchasing items



Theme: Our edible garden - Project: Plant our garden  Activities • Read books about gardens/gardening • Assign jobs chart • Prepare soil, seeds and planting • Create prediction charts for measurements - Project: The life of plants  Activities • Vegetable story book making • Anatomy of a plant • Record growth using video/photo • Sun and water games - Project: Harvest  Activities • Pick vegetables & compare size charts • Sell surplus at school/community market • Look at recipes • Cook a meal

Theme: The orchestra -



Project: Parts of an orchestra  Activities • Read books about instruments and music • Listen to sounds and guessing games • Draw/collage of types of instruments Project: Go to a performance  Activities • Web of questions to ask conductor/musicians • Record sounds • Sketching/ graphing of instruments Project: Our own orchestra  Activities • Make instruments • Play with instruments • Learn a song in ensemble • Perform for parents/school


Theme: Kites - Project: Kites around the world  Activities • Watch part of kite movie (ex: Mary Poppins) • Go to a kite festival • Place different kites on world map - Project: Make kites  Activities • Read books on kites • Plan shape and layout, gather materials • Assemble kites • Discuss places to fly, show and tell of each kite - Project: Fly kites  Activities • Test and compare different kites on different days • Wind games • Learn a kite song • Fix problems with kites



What grows in an edible garden?

Can you grow flowers in the garden?

What is edible?

Can you eat flowers?

Who owns gardens? Our edible garden

Do animals live in the garden?

What do you do with what you grow?

How long does it take for a garden to grow?

What kinds of bugs live in the garden?


What do plants need to grow?

How many instruments are in an orchestra?

Who plays in an orchestra?

What is an orchestra? Do people play more than one instrument?

Can you listen to an

The Orchestra

orchestra at home? Are orchestras loud?

Do children play in an orchestra?

Can you sing in an orchestra?


Where do musicians get their instruments?

Can anybody make a kite?

What happens if the string breaks?

What are kites made of?

How high can they go?

Can kites fly like airplanes?

Kites How do kites fly?

Can you fly a kite anywhere?

What happens if a kite crashes with a bird?


All are kites diamonds?




Balance is everything when it comes to teaching young children. Having both a child centered and teacher directed teaching method allows for the children to take an active role in their learning as well as gaining knowledge from the teacher’s experiences. A child-centered approach is beneficial because it encourages independence, promotes creativity and problem solving, allows for exploration through the five senses and it creates a sense of community in the classroom. As a teacher, I would be more of a role model and guide than delegating information to children. It is more effective for young children to develop their own ideas about topics and discuss them with peers and adults than having information given them directly because they are at the age where the body and brain is still developing. In order to create self-motivated individuals who think independently and critically, the teacher should give children a large part of the control and power in decisions in the classroom. That is not to say that the children run everything, on the contrary, the teacher is there to contain order and to guide any misconceptions that children may attain through their active exploration. This can be done by providing a wide range of materials and areas, a sufficient amount of free play time and outdoor play time as well as provoking the children’s though with questions that will further their understanding of the world. Topics will hopefully naturally come out of the children’s interest in something that has happened to them or they have seen. An “emergent curriculum” makes the classroom reflect reality, which is more meaningful to the children’s lives as well as a way to integrate all the necessary skills into one fluid curriculum. It also provides children with the feeling that they are


in control of their learning and are contributing members of a group, which makes learning fun and motivating. It may so happen that a group of children do not show interest in any topic, which is when the teacher would trigger an event or use a group meeting time to discuss possible ideas with the children. All children are unique and not everyone may learn in the same ways, therefore it is important to consider different ways of approaching projects and activities. Learning through all of the senses, by moving the body, smelling, tasting, hearing, writing, reading etc, by incorporating different activities will account for different learning styles. Furthermore, discussion, problem solving activities, using real world examples, coming up with summaries, breaking a concept down into sections and overviews can help supplement different learners. In order to ensure that all children are gaining beneficial and appropriate learning experiences from the classroom, the curriculum must provide enough time for the teacher to observe and record the children while engaging in free play as well as a solid and ongoing assessment plan. Giving children the opportunity to be heard and making sure to listen as a teacher are essential elements to watching the growth of each child in the classroom.



Wind games (from ‘Kites’ theme)


- Learn about four cardinal directions (North, South, East, West) - Learn about wind direction - Determine appropriate conditions for flying kites - Make a group art project with bubbles

Prior knowledge: Children will have read books about kites and created a web or list of questions they have about kites. They will have also made their own kites already. This lesson is a precursor to going out and testing the kites. Materials: -

Wind vane (can be made with students before hand, or use real one) Compass Bubble solution Bubble wands Food coloring Small bowls or cups Large pieces of cardstock Student journals

Procedure: 1) Discuss four cardinal directions by showing students compasses. Draw the four directions on the board and write the words “North, South East, West” accordingly. Pass the compasses around and have the children turn around and see what happens to the direction. Then have them only turn the compass around to see happens to the direction. When does it change, when does it stay the same? 2) In order to know which direction to launch our kites, we need to know what direction the wind is coming from. Show them the wind vane. It will show us the wind is coming from, not the way the wind is blowing.


3) Allow children to copy compass drawing into journals. 4) Take children outside on a windy day. Demonstrate setting up the wind vane, aligning North direction. 5) Have children test to see the wind direction by wetting their finger with a little saliva and pointing finger directly up in the air. Record believed wind direction in journals. 6) Next introduce the bubble solution and wands by blowing some yourself. Give each child a bubble set. What direction is the wind blowing from according to the bubbles? Record in journals. 7) To make group artwork, pour some bubble solution into small cups and drop different colored food coloring into each cups. Mix and let children blow colored bubbles so that the wind carries them onto a large cardstock and pop, leaving colorful marks. Several children may have to hold the cardstock up, or it can be hung or taped up. 8) Once back inside, discuss whether it was easier to test wind direction with their fingers or with the bubbles. Also talk about whether the same thing would happen if there was less or more wind. Finally determine how much wind would be necessary to fly the kites. Extension: Compare how fast or slow bubbles by going outside on days with different winds. Assessment: -

Children were able to copy and label the cardinal directions in their journals.


Students compared their guesses with actual wind direction.


Group worked together cooperatively to capture bubbles as they fell onto large cardstock.

Domains and skills covered in this lesson: Science: observations, recording, climate/weather Social-emotional: group work to make art project Physical fine: holding bubble wands, writing directions Language: learning the cardinal directions Cognitive/ Math: comparing



When assessing young children, it is important to remember that all the domains of development are important and that each child has their own personality. In order to ensure that all children gain something from their classroom experience throughout the domains, both unstructured and structured play or work should be considered. The first kind of assessment is observing and recording in the form of anecdotal notes of the child’s interests, learning styles and achievements. Some notes can be kept in individual assessment portfolios, one for each child. In these portfolios, artwork, written work, photos, oral retelling (recorded on a tape recorder or written by teacher), and work selected by the students themselves can also be stored. The work will be separated into categories of the domains (cognitive, physical, language) listed above so that samples in each domain are covered. This is a good way of monitoring which areas children excel or need help in. For the social emotional domain, a separate checklist is needed to assess the children once a week (see appendix 2). It is essential to communicate with all the children on a one to one basis to get to know what they are felling and how they see themselves growing in the classroom, or also to discuss any issues they may have. The teacher would have mini conferences with individual children during free playtime and record any important information. Outdoor play is a great time for teachers to observe social emotional behavior and the use of tape recorders or anecdotal notes can provide insight into children’s development when they are not interacting with adults. Parent, child and teacher conferences will be held at the very beginning of the year and several times throughout the year in order to get a sense of how the family dynamic can affect the child, for the whole family to get to know the class and the teacher and for the child to show 28

parents what he/she has learned. The way children talk about their work with the teacher and their parents can be another form of assessment. Student journals are another way for children to keep records of the things they have learned and a way for teachers to assess development in specific domain and subject areas.



As a teacher, it is really important to remember that parents trust you and rely greatly on you to take care of the well being of their children. Therefore, one must also remember to trust parents and allow them to be a part of the classroom community. Open communication is the most essential element in maintaining healthy parent-teacher partnerships. First of all, having an open-door policy allows parents to be contributors and collaborators in their child’s learning. Encouraging parents to come a share their abilities and knowledge benefits everyone because the parents and teachers can get to know each other more intimately and the children can see the broader scope of what they are learning by having an outside source as well as feeling encouraged and excited to learn more. Before the first day of school, an orientation would be held so that parents can introduce themselves to other parents and the teachers and so that the teachers can give a general overview of the goals, teaching style, methods, themes and overarching philosophies they have for the year. At this time, a survey of what the parents expect of their child and the classroom will be given so that the teacher can have a clearer idea of where the parents stand. Several weeks into the school year, it would be nice to send a personalized e-mail to each family describing the positive things the teachers have noticed about the child and also to schedule an initial conference either over the phone or in person so that the parents can give the teacher any additional information they feel might be important. Throughout the school year, communication notebooks will be sent home every week with a piece of work the child has completed and a detailed description of what was done and


what domains and skill sets were targeted. Also, a monthly newsletter will be created to keep parents up to date with any special projects, events, fieldtrips, educational research, tips on how to help children in the different domains and projects they can do at home with their children. The teacher should be available when children arrive and leave school everyday to talk to a parent about any significant event that happened with a child. If this is not possible and the matter is urgent, a personal phone call can be helpful.



As mentioned above in the materials list, a Smartboard will be in place in the classroom but should not be the central tool of instruction. Rather it should serve only as supporting material, like viewing videos the children have created, or on relevant topics. has recently created a new interface for educators where the content is filtered to contain only educational videos, no advertisements or lists of other videos to watch (Marcius, 2011). Children will have access to controlled programs on the classroom computer only during designated times, and no more than one to two hours a week each. Furthermore, they will be used only with a task in mind either as suggested by the student or by the teacher and they will always work in groups to help support each other’s learning. Studies show that children can teach other if they are given the chance (Mitra, 2010). A basic introduction on how to use the computer will be provided during the first weeks of school. Also, child friendly digital photo cameras will be available for children to document their work and activities. These photos can be used for assessment, displayed in the classroom and sent home for parents to see. The use of a stereo will also be made available and used with the teacher’s permission to listen to audio books or music with headphones. The monthly newsletter will be printed and sent home with the children as well and send via e-mail. Parents will be reminded and informed of any pertinent general information by email, but any personal information regarding their particular child will be discussed in person or by phone.



APPENDIX 1 Back jack chairs: Play stand: html Digital cameras: Window garden: Child safe knives: yCode=CE



Social/emotional checklist Check Skills

Child: Example


Following rules and limits

Conflict resolution

Confidence in social contexts

Turn taking and sharing

Responsible use of toys and equipment

Care for the learning environment

Responsibility and care for personal belongings

Positive expression of emotions


Date: Comments

APPENDIX 3 Child friendly cameras:


Floorplanner, (2011). Floorplanner. Retrieved from Follari, L.M. (2011). Foundations and best practices in early childhood education: history, theories, and approaches to learning. New Jersey: Pearson Education, Inc. Lou, R. (2008). Last child in the woods: saving our children from nature-deficit disorder. Chapel Hill: Algonquin Books. Marcus, C.R., (2011). YouTube creates separate site for schools. Retrieved from Mitra, S. (2010). The child-driven education [video transcript]. Retrieved from Patsalides, L. (2011). Kindergarten weather lesson: blow wind, blow! Retrieved from



educational portfolio for ages 3 & 4


educational portfolio for ages 3 & 4