Highlights in the Upstairs Classroom:
The Pre-K class shows a lot of excitement for outdoor days on Thursdays and Fridays with Annabelle when they spend almost all of the morning outside from drop-off until pick-up or lunch. While most of the indoor routine is maintained outside, the order and some tasks are slightly different. For example, after arriving children find their name cards hidden around the playground and compare the letters and sounds with peers before moving to the grassy area for circle. At midmorning, children combine a bathroom break with choosing jobs and updating the school day counting jar.
During free play outside, children often choose to play cooperative games (e.g. House, School, Doctor) and spend a significant amount of time deciding which roles each child will have (e.g. father, teacher, patient), and what props are needed (e.g. sticks, leaves, clipboard, paper, pencils, bowls, chairs). They work hard listening to others’ ideas and feelings, and speaking up to advocate for their own needs and feelings.
On October 28th, a special guest visited the upstairs classroom. Melody Walker Brook, a citizen of the Elnu Abenaki Tribe, shared traditional Native items like clothing, games, baskets, beads, and musical instruments. The children showed a lot of interest in feeling a mink fur, a leather dress, a dried gourd water bottle, and a sculpted wooden stick used in Snow Snake games. Children jumped up to dance when Melody unpacked her drum. During the Mosquito Dance, children stepped to the beat of the drum and waved their arms in the air as if swatting mosquitoes. They were keen to move more quickly as the rhythm of the drum beat faster!
Highlights in the Downstairs Classroom:
We spent the month of October learning about Water. The children enjoyed creating rivers and streams with the hose and gutters on the playground. They were especially excited to transform our sensory table into a river. Art projects included water droplets on coffee filters and blowing blue paint from straws onto wax paper. The children also explored the different effects that water temperatures have on food through making applesauce; they also enjoyed cutting up a frozen pumpkin.
We took advantage of the pumpkin season by utilizing donated pumpkins for sensory exploration, carving, baking seeds, and much more! Children went on nature walks to collect Fall leaves to bring into the classroom. They loved doing leaf prints and watercolor tissue paper leaves.
The cold weather gave us the opportunity to perfect our self-help skills and learn to independently get into our Winter gear.
The outdoor classroom, trail and field environments are ideal for scientific exploration and discovery. Children turn over logs and use animal tracking guides to identify bugs crawling underneath. They count the number of legs a critter has and notice the shape of its body to determine if its a match on the guide. They also step carefully to observe (with eyes only!) different kinds of scat on the trail. Their current hypotheses from looking at scat size and shape include: rabbits, deer, bear, fox, and squirrels. We are looking forward to finding footprints in the future and using measurement tools outside to help narrow down the identities of the animals in the area.
The upstairs class is looking forward to learning about Greek Mythology throughout the month of November. The downstairs class is eager to learn about Native Americans!