Self-Reliance, Self Portraits, and Space
Happy fall everyone!
A Lesson in the Power of Children
When Theresa mentioned during recess that the first day of fall was this week, the children got really excited. I was inside getting math materials ready, but they came inside glowing. "We're going to have a party!" "A fall party!" They had already started to decorate the tree house with lots of large branches. There was talk of special snacks, costumes, and maybe a pinata. Theresa sat everyone down on the carpet to give them a chance to round out their ideas while making it clear that this was a kid directed party. The teachers were not going to be staying up until the wee hours of the morning making crafts or cookies. She also made it clear that this was not an opportunity to demand the "pumpkin mousse tartlets with whipped cream" that take six hours to make. Parents were also not going to be staying up until the wee hours of the morning.
The fall party was lovely. We had toffee popcorn, pumpkin seeds, dried and fresh apples, two kind of cookies, and pumpkin shaped carrots with dip. Our outdoor puppet theater/store/cat house, took on a new role as a "cider tasting station." The children decorated themselves elaborately with pieces of felt that they cut, ripped, tied, and taped together. We had bubbles, Twister, fall drawings, a huge pine cone, a beautiful paper pumpkin, and pumpkin seeds to take home and plant. Every child had a chance to decorate a mini pumpkin to bring home. Signs were made. The children danced around.
Theresa listened, said "Yes!" and wrote a short email to parents. Other than that we just sort of stood back and watched. It was a great lesson in the power and ability of children. And it helped me realize that I need to let parties like this more often.
The children got to finish their life size self-portraits this week. They experimented more with mixing the primary colors and white to get a shade that matched their skin and allowed us to talk about the differences between us. More experimenting went to matching eye and hair color. I love to listen to their observations during this process, the sharing of information with each other, and the mutual regard. "How did you get that color? Can you show me?" They added details to their clothing, spots, stripes, and hearts. We'll be cutting them out and photographing each child with her self portrait before sending it home next week.
New Theme: Space
We've been spending this first chunk of the school year establishing our routines and getting to know each other a little better. This next week we are going to start our first big theme of the year - space. The children helped me to do a little demonstration of our solar system and planetary motion as we talked about the autumnal equinox this week. We'll be creating moon journals, talking about the planets, and trying to understand our place in the universe. If your child has any resources about space (books, puzzles, star charts, etc.) that he would like to share, please feel free to send them in over the next few weeks. Please do make sure to put your name on any books so they don't become an unintentional part of our library.
Have a wonderful weekend and enjoy this transition into fall!