Pulling Together the Threads
We're at that time of year when we're pulling all the threads together. We have a month of school left. It's the perfect time to reflect on what we have done and what we still want to accomplish before we slip into our summer. All of our parents came in for student-led conferences. They listened, watched, and asked questions as their children shared. We spent much of this last week collecting samples of the children's work, sorting through it all to find favorites, reflecting on ourselves as learners, and developing goals for future learning. Active reflection is such a huge part of my work as a teacher, and it warmed my heart to watch these children engage in this same process. Besides obvious things like handwriting workbooks and writing samples, children also wanted to share other things like how they can climb trees or the structures being built in the sandbox. They value these places of learning as much as the more traditional ones in the classroom.
Cheryl's PreK Reflections
A bloom starts with a seed. Just like something amazing starts with a wish or dream. Read-alouds like Ten Seeds, The Tiny Seed and Tap the Magic Seed got us excited to get our school garden bed ready for planting! Thank you for sending in gardening tools to share as our littlest ones reveled in pulling up weeds and getting their hands in the dirt. They found treasures already growing from the school building's previous owners (asparagus! parsley!) which then were smelled, taste-tested and made into 'kid salad'. Multiple little feet shuffled out to the upper deck for free choice time in the mornings to peek in on their sunflower seeds, giving them water and placing them in a good sunny spot. Wishers (i.e. dandelions gone to seed) were picked during recess and provided yet another opportunity to discuss how plants after blooming leave us all with a gift: another seed! To further their understanding our craft had them taking little seeds and gluing them to be the center of their sunflowers. Adding bubbles to the water table proved to be soothing and fun, especially for our homemade sailboats that had the special cargo of dandelions. The number '6' was studied through play-dough shaping, painting in the air and tracing on paper, using our abacus, and in a very silly way: singing 'Six Little Ducks That I Once Knew' whilst waddling and quacking around school. From reciting their colors, weather reports, alphabet and shapes to showing their families their favorite thing to write, play and explore, our Friday student-led conferences proved to be a great experience for our littlest to shine proudly. Their social emotional skills and reverence for nature continues to blossom. I tell them my heart is beating out of my chest with all of the kindness they've been showing this week to themselves and others. It is a beautiful, amazing thing to witness and all I could wish for them.
Prompted by last week's visit to the Old Stone Fort, a parent was kind enough to share her collection of clothes she wore for re-enactments. We even learned about old fashioned underwear, and some of the conveniences of having babies wear dresses. Ask your child for some details. We also celebrated all of our blossoming fruit trees, blooming and seeding dandelions, and tasty edibles in our garden. The children worked to beat back the weeds in the garden. They helped to shovel wood chips for under our swings. We even brought out our human powered mower to work on cutting the grass. The greater sand box construction area continued to be a huge part of recess time. "How about we call this the Grand Canyon Canal?" "Do you know what I noticed? The walls with the rocks in them are stronger. They don't wash away as much." I heard children talking about water pressure, erosion, and the absorbency of different materials (sand, rocks, bark, sticks). I asked them a question or two as well to help them reflect on the path of the water, refine some of their definitions, and work to include everyone's ideas. But mostly I just stood back and watched.