It's time for my annual apology. I am so sorry about all of the mud. I really am. But I'm not sorry enough to squelch the joy that comes from water, sand, and mud play this time of year. Our little streamlet has been gushing with the winter's snowmelt, and children have been busily building dams, tributaries, and pipelines. Their teamwork is full of the usual challenges of negotiation when visions compete, but they glow with pride at the results of their efforts. Others collect the water by the bucketful to bring to the sandbox for creations there. Still others have been carefully carrying water to our fruit trees and other perennials, making sure they have the water they need this time of year.
Cheryl's PreK Reflections
We dug deep-both in the garden and inside of ourselves this cold week for signs of spring. And unsurprisingly, the littlest ones found joy and spring all around! We went on a 'bear hunt' and kept our eyes out not only for bears, but signs of green outside. This led to pockets overflowing with green grass, lamb's ears and of course mud/sand/creek soaked clothes! (Please replenish extra clothes in your child's bin). We continued our study of numbers, and I love how committed each child was to writing '2' 'not backwards' on their chalkboards. Nests were created in clay with clay tools during free choice time, as were horse hospitals and tea parties/picnics. Ask your child to tell you their new nursery rhyme about 'piggies' and I am sure they will be happy to whip off their socks to share with a big grin (I may have been a little excited for bare feet weather)!
Science exploration had us guessing what the rain would do to our paper full of paint globs: a beautiful swirled rain painting proudly now hangs in our classroom. Ollie and I Hatched were read-alouds exploring baby animals being born in Spring. Towards the end of the week we explored books about the big concept of taking care of our Earth. In honor of Earth Day arriving, we had a sensory ball mixing finger paints for the blue ocean and green land to make our own circle Earths. We will continue this topic as well as gardening/planting seeds in the weeks ahead, with a field trip being planned to a local spot where a family is off-grid and ready to share with us all about green energy.
Music and Dance
When we have potential families visit, we mention that we are generalists, enthusiastic teachers and learners of all sorts of topics. I completely value the expertise that an art teacher or a music teacher brings to the table. But without having those positions on our staff, we do our best. Every day our children dance and sing. We do lots of songs in Spanish, making a physical connection between the word cabeza and the feeling of swinging our head around. We also do lots of traditional line and circle dances as well as clapping games. All of these teach rhythm and melody, but they also teach compromise and working together. I love watching our older students take the younger ones in hand to lead them galloping down a line or help bring them back to the right words in the middle of a round. We're looking forward to sharing a few of our repertoire at the end of the year celebration.
This week we read Pitter and Patter, a story of 2 raindrops traveling through the water cycle. We collected raindrops in a flour and salt mixture that allowed us to look at the different shapes and sizes that fall from the sky. Some of the drops we gently fished out of the mixture actually looked like snowmen, and the children hypothesized that these were multiple drops that had fallen next to each other. We read a book called Climate to help us differentiate between weather and climate. We used our huge fabric map to place different colored chips representing each climatic zone. The older children explored this idea more, making personal maps. The younger children talked and drew about our weather in each season and created a water cycle in a bag. We also read How the Weather Works and Let's Investigate with Nate: The Water Cycle. Everyone has been practicing reading thermometers and tracking the clouds in the sky. We're working on learning how those clouds let us know the weather that's coming... possibly more rain... and MORE MUD!