After our Thanksgiving holiday and two snow days to start this week, everyone was pretty excited to finally be back in school. "It was so boring," griped one child. "I'm so glad we're back!" It feels like we are solidly in winter though we have talked about how the solstice doesn't come until December 21. All of the snow had our children really busy this week in lots of different ways. We did some careful tracking and told each other stories about what the tracks were telling us. We all worked to make the base for something like an igloo. We also all enjoyed the chance to come in and cozy up with some good stories after being out in the cold.
Cheryl's PreK Reflections
Thanksgiving and talk about being grateful for things in nature came and went, but we continue to be grateful for nature and in wonderment throughout the year in our school. "What bird is coming to our bird feeder?" one child asked while outside at recess...which led to a group of researchers gathering around a bird identification chart. I love how our little ones get so excited and empathetic toward animals. Snowy owls were the bird we focused on this week as we read and reread "Winter Rescue." Ask your child what the owl did to rescue the bunny! Hands popped up when asked if they would help a friend on the slippery ice.
Preschoolers delighted in acting like another bird who likes the snow- penguins!- as they went belly first down slides of compacted snow and into dug out tunnels. Some little "penguins" even stayed outside to help the big kds with their igloo building, and there was certainly an ice cream stand selling pretend cones. With kind friends all around and the time to play and wonder, let it snow!
Theme: US Geography
We circle in all of our studies, repeating themes every three years. In December we jump into geography. Last year was looking at geography on a world scale, next year we're at a local scale, and this year, we're looking at US geography. We started our study with a review of some landforms and terminology that we've introduced in past years. The children used play dough to model mountains, hills, plateaus/mesas, valleys, canyons, archipelagos, peninsulas, isthmuses, and others. We talked about tributaries, estuaries, deltas, and other features of rivers. The older children drew pictures to represent all of these terms while the younger children played, "Guess My Landform" with the play dough. If the snow sticks around, we'll be building some of these landforms outside too!
The children discovered on Wednesday that this was some good packing snow, making lots of snowballs, tunnels, houses, and even a snow toilet (ask your child?). Inspired by all of it, Theresa said, "Let's make an igloo!" We had some serious discussions about how big it should be and what the best construction methods might be. The children created a circle using one student as the center and a length of string to make the arcing line (giving us a great chance to review radius, diameter, and circumference). We used blue water in a spray bottle to mark the line, then the children started in. Bread pans were quickly discarded for 5 gallon buckets and a trash can. All of the shovels were being used: to hollow out the center, scoop up snow for the buckets, and to toss extra snow around the edges to fill in the gaps. Everyone was pretty impressed by the progress we made in just one day. It's still in process, and there are all sorts of ideas about how to make a roof. We'll keep you updated, and hopefully the forecast of 50 degree weather this coming week proves wrong!