The bees, wasps, ants, butterflies, beetles, worms, pill bugs, salamanders, toads, chipmunks and all sorts of other animal friends have been showing their faces around our school yard and woods. The children observe them carefully and generate all sorts of questions. "Do bugs have eyelids?" "Do salamanders have bones in their legs? They move all funny." "What do salamanders eat?" We look so more as we try to answer some of these questions and consult some of our books to see if we can find out even more.
Cheryl's PreK Reflections
"Eeek! An ant! A bee!" The squeals of fear by some were real at the beginning of this week as we practiced slowly walking away or gently shooing away insects being found all of a sudden both inside and outside of the classroom. We've been learning to, if not to love them, to accept these bugs. The Honeybee by Kirsten Hall and Isabelle Arsenault was a beautiful read aloud that got us oohing and ahhing over how honeybees take pollen from flowers and turn it into yummy golden honey in a hive. Our nursery rhyme "I Eat My Peas with Honey" was recited with a plethora of giggles and requests for a taste test (happy to oblige!).
We continued our student-led theme of useful insects that turn one thing into another by re-reading Eric Carle's classic, The Very Hungry Caterpillar. "I have this book at home!" they shared as we learned how the caterpillar turns into something we all easily adore - the butterfly. Like any fear, as a teacher it never ceases to amaze me how just talking about it and seeing it from another perspective/reminding how amazing all living creatures are, can really instill a new appreciation as opposed to just ignoring the uncomfortable feeling and thus allowing their fear to stay.
Besides eight colors in our caterpillar craft counted and written, the number of the week (8) was traced with our bodies pretending to buzz around as bumblebees, made into bracelets with eight beads, painted in the sky with our favorite (secret) color, traced with oil pastels on our number book paper and shaped with dough. Free play had us continuing to pick asparagus, parsley, cilantro and chives in the garden as well as new types of flowers beginning to bloom for salads and tea party displays. Fascinating architecture is being created for trucks and horses inside while outside a mural the length of our upper deck proved to be yet another medium to weave in what we are always exploring: our names and of course, the colors of the rainbow.
Nancy Magic with Insect Builders
Cheryl wasn't the only helping the children to think about incredible insects. Nancy shared two stories from real life (as opposed to her usual real stories that are really stories) about insect builders, particularly a crafty mud building wasp and a far-sighted fly. Both were making structures that were planning for the future. Ask your child to tell you some of the details and explain their building process above when they took their turns as insects.
Theme: Central America and El Mercado
We finished our theme study this last week with a big market day. Theresa brought in many of her pictures and products from her month long visits to Guatemala and Nicaragua, and she shared more of her stories from those times. We were inspired by her stories and many of the picture books about making things and shopping at the market. Each child created a variety of foods and crafts from our "beautiful bits" (all the leftover pieces from other art projects). They made signs in Spanish and English and thought about how to display their products. Many of them made baskets to carry for their produce to carry on their heads. I printed out ten quetzals for each child, and they used a combination of currency and barter to make their purchases. When we were all done, they reflected on how the experience was similar and different from how they usually shop in this country.
Our final theme for the year will be plants, and we'll be spending a bunch of time looking at everything from roots to seeds. We'll also be doing our best to re-claim our garden space for some planting and to help protect the perenials.