Learning on the Road
We welcomed spring this week at a local park dancing around our Maypole, and we managed both the weave and the unweave - twice in a row! It was truly a magical moment because in all of our rehearsing we had only succeeded in unweaving the ribbons a total of one time. The spring sunshine and milder temperatures had us outside for math, snack, and lunch in addition to our normal recess and adventure walk times. All of our students headed out into the world on field trips as well. It was a great week for taking our learning out of the building.
Rachel's PreK Reflections
What an adventurous week for our 3-6 aged students! We celebrated “Dragon Day,” complete with music, dragon imaginative play, dragon egg math work, and stories. After reading a book about dragons loving tacos, the children made their own “nature tacos” from plants they picked outside! Some of the children dressed up for the occasion, and many brought stuffed animal dragons from home for the special day. They’ve been asking for another “dragon day” ever since!
Our other big event for the week was seeing the Albany Symphony Orchestra perform a children’s orchestral program in Albany. Our kids recognized the sound of the instruments tuning from how often they listen to a recording of “The Magic Flute” which begins with the orchestra tuning. Several children have requested to learn the songs they heard performed, so we will begin that next week.
Following the musical performance, we met at Washington Park, also in Albany. With their annual Tulip Festival only being days away at the time, the children were able to enjoy a picnic lunch while surrounded by thousands of brightly colored flowers which they enjoyed exploring and comparing afterward.
Toying with Science and Mineral Hunting at the NYS Museum
Juggling and balancing ladders led us into the world of science during Garry Krinsky's performance at The Egg. It was great to see how many of the children remembered lessons they had learned during our fall physics unit. Ask your child why they don't want to SLIP on the two W's. We used this mnemonic to help us learn about simple machines in our lives.
After lunch by the reflecting pools, we headed into the NYS Museum to visit their mineral collection. The children used their maps to find their way to the Mineral Collection. We went on a hunt for a variety of minerals and were surprised to find how different one mineral (especially calcite) could look. We also examined the longhouse and other exhibits in the First Peoples of New York section. The day was capped off with a trip on the carousel, and everyone agreed they wanted to visit again because there was simply too much to see.
Our Theme: China
Each year in the spring, we study a different part of the world. Two years ago, we studied India. Last year, we studied Mexico. This year we are studying China.
We began the study by asking the kids what they are most excited to learn about. The resounding answer was "food!" Fortunately, food ties into all of the essential aspects of a culture. So far, we have practiced using chopsticks, and we have talked about typical Chinese food and the place settings used. This coming week, we are going to look at maps of China and see how geography plays into the eating habits of any group of people. We will also explore different ways that children play.
In all of our studies of different cultures, we hope for the children to understand that it is complicated. It is complicated to study a different culture without trivializing it. It is complicated to study a space as vast as China, with so many different languages and cultures, in one month. We hope that studying China (or any part of the world) will spark the students' curiosity and imbue them with a solid dose of humility. We want them to understand that everyone is the same and everyone is different, all at the same time.