"Look at all the geese heading south!" "Oh, this leaf looks like a fire!" "I found a wooly bear!" All of our children have been cluing into the changes of the season and sharing their discoveries. Spending lots of time outside gives all of us a chance to do some careful observation. Which of our trees are losing their leaves first? What colors do we see on each tree? What birds do we notice in our fields and woods?
I've also been observing the fall changes that happen as our children settle back into the school year. They know our new routines and are making new friends. They are stretching themselves in new directions with their learning and dusting off some familiar old games in their play. We are re-learning songs from past years after the summer's hiatus and stretching into new musical territory.
Rachel's Reflections on the PreK
Every day has brought new excitement in the Preschool lately! We’ve been using the change of seasons to enjoy the plants that appear or leave around this time, to learn about the hibernation of animals and the “root children (plants) falling asleep for the winter,” and have been eagerly listening to Antonio Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons” to keep with the theme. The children have been working on identifying plants, learning new songs and stories, identifying numerals up through 9, and have started to blend beginning words as well!
Our Theme: Community
Hamsterdam (our town for clothespin "peeps") went live, and it was a sight to behold! We couldn't come to consensus about whether or not we needed money despite reading The History of Money to help us understand why other people started using money. There were a series of lively discussions that included concerns about how our peeps could visit other places in the world without money, how bartering could work if someone didn't need what you had, and how loans might work for people who wanted to make big changes to their homes or businesses. When the children turned to their teachers for a final call, we said, "Let's just start working in the town and see what happens." Interestingly enough a system of "bead currency" quickly developed to compliment the bartering that was happening. When we met to talk about how things were going, children noticed that they had made money and that wooden beads had become more valuable because there weren't as many of them. We talked about supply and demand and the value of limited commodities. The children also observed that they had created holidays, that everyone was caring for the town's infrastructure (our wooden block roads), that there needed to be more of many professions or substitutes to cover when someone was busy or hurt, and that they were discussing problems as they came up and solving them. I could do this theme for the whole year happily, and it gives me hope for the world these children will help to create as they grow older.
Our Next Theme: Physics
We'll be delving into the world of energy and matter, and trying to understand why the universe behaves in certain ways. We'll also be tapping into all the knowledge our children already have about motion, energy, light, and sound.