Mama Provi and the Pot of Rice, by Sylvia Rosa-Casanova

            When Lucy gets the chicken pox, Mama Provi knows just what she needs to feel better.  She cooks up some arroz con pollo and heads up the eight flights of stairs to her grand daughters apartment.  On the way she meets some of her neighbors and the simple meal turns into a feast.


  • Local real-estate advertisements.  Two of each to use for matching.
  • Face picture
  • Dice
  • Picture of stairs
  • Animals in their homes


  • Apartment  (a home in a large building that has more than one home in it).
  • Dozen (12 of something)
  • Tremendous (something really great or wonderful)

Introducing the Reading the Story

            Ask the children if they know if they live in a house or an apartment? If you do not have any children who live in an apartment, show the children a picture of one, or draw one and explain that it has many floors that people live on.  Sometimes there is an elevator and sometimes there are only stairs.  Show the children the book cover and tell the children that Mama Provi lives in an apartment.  She lives on the bottom floor and her grand daughter lives on the top floor.  Read the title of the book and ask the children if they can guess why Mama Provi might be carrying a pot of rice up to her granddaughter Lucy. 

Approaches to Learning/Reasoning & Problem Solving; develops increasing abilities to classify, compare, and contrast objects, events, and experiences.

Reading the Story

            As Mama Provi goes up each flight of stairs, huff and puff a little as though you are slightly out of breath. 

After Reading the Story

 In the story Lucy had the Chickenpox.  Ask the children if they have ever had the chickenpox or been sick in bed.  Who took care of you, what did they do to make you feel better?  

Social & Emotional Development/Knowledge of Families & Communities; progresses in understanding similarities and respecting differences among people, such as genders, race, special needs, culture, language, and family structures. AND Language Development/Speaking & Communicating; develops increasing abilities to understand and use language to communicate information, experiences, ideas, feelings, opinions, needs, questions; and for other varied purposes.

Music and Movement 

            Play the Pretend game.  Pretend to carry something heavy.  Pretend to carry something wiggly, something enormous, and something very small. 

Creative Arts/ Dramatic Play; shows growing creativity and imagination in using materials and in assuming different roles in dramatic play situations.

Teach the children The Elevator Song. Make your bodies go up and down with the song.

Mathematics/Geometry & Spatial Sense; builds an increasing understanding of directionality, order, and positions of objects, and words such as up, down, over,under, top, bottom, inside, outside, in front, and behind.

Do the song, Let’s Go Riding an Elevator using scarves to act out.

Creative Arts/ Movement; shows growth in moving in time to different patterns of beat and rhythm in music.


            Bring in pictures or books about animals and their homes.

Science/Scientific Knowledge; expands knowledge of and abilities to observe, describe, and discuss the natural world, materials, living things, and natural processes.


            Give the children 10 cube shaped blocks or similar shaped blocks and challenge them to build stairs. 

Mathematics/Geometry & Spatial Sense; progresses in ability to put together and take shapes apart.


            Encourage the children to draw a large head shape, or use the one provided.  Let the children use bingo daubers or their fingers to make chicken pocks on the head shape.  The children can also personalize by adding hair or extending features.

Creative Arts/Art; gains ability in using different art media and materials in a variety of ways for creative expression and representation.

Sand and Water

            If your center allows, add rice to the table for pouring and scooping.  If not, try birdseed as it makes the same kind of soothing sound when being scooped and poured. 

Library and Writing

            Give each child a picture of the stairs and encourage them to copy or write the numbers on each level.  They can then cut out pictures of food to glue on the picture, or draw a picture of their own favorite food/s. 

Physical Health & Development; Fine Motor Skills; progresses in abilities to use writing, drawing, and art tools, including pencils, markers, chalk, paint brushes, and various types of technology. AND Mathematics/Number & Operations; begins to associate number concepts, vocabulary, quantities, and written numerals in meaningful ways.

Dramatic Play

            Bring in gift bags or shopping bags that the children can use in their play today.

Encourage the children to do some delicious cooking.  Can they name all the pretend foods in your dramatic center? 

Language Development/Speaking & Communicating; uses an increasingly complex and varied vocabulary. 

Math and Manipulatives

            Put the picture of the face on the table and explain to the children that when a person has the chicken pox that they get a rash that is all spotty.  Let the children take turns rolling the dice.  They can count the number of spots on the dice and then use a marker to make the corresponding spots on the face picture.  As the children continue to add spots make comments about how the face sure has many chicken pox! 

Mathematics/Number & Operations; begins to use one-to-one correspondence in counting objects and matching groups of objects.

Outdoor Play

            Use mud, sand, dirt, rocks, and other natural ingredients to cook a yummy feast today. 

Creative Arts/Dramatic Play; shows growing creativity and imagination in using materials and in assuming different roles in dramatic play situations.


            In the story everyone made their food trades “En un dos port res” which means lickedty split or quickly.  As the children move to the next activity ask them to move En un dos port tres or lickedty split. 

Language Development/Listening & Understanding; understands an increasingly complex and varied vocabulary.


Dear Parent,

            Cooking is a wonderful way to share an experience with your child.  While cooking you are introducing your child to math (add 2 cups of _______, ¼ teaspoon ____) and also science concepts (what happens to an egg when you add heat?  What happens when you mix milk with flour?).  Find a simple recipe that you and your child can make together.

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About Kerry CI am an Early Childhood Educator who has seen daily the value of shared book readings with my preschoolers. I use the book theme in my centers and can daily touch upon a variety of Early Childhood Domains which makes assessing the children easy and individualized.