Over the past two weeks of school, we've had lots to celebrate - a good tonic to some February cabin fever. We shared some love with all of our school friends on Valentine's day. We've had snow, mud, and sunshine to play in. We went on field trips to the New York State Museum and Proctors. We threw our normal schedule out the window and spent the last week in a focused frenzy of creation as our kids pulled together their play on the Erie Canal. It's been a whole lot of fun!
Cheryl's PK Reflections
Preschoolers had a busy and magic-filled end to February with Spring peeking its way in. Children were enraptured by a haiku about winter's beauty and how it comes to an end when a pop of spring, or magic, can be found (a sprouting flower!). This led to a recess full of mud cakes, sprouts brought in to look closer under our microscopes, and squeals of joy over bird sounds and bird feeders being put out in hopes of robins on a day when coats were being peeled off and piled up. Fishing was the main event for pretend play at the rushing icy creek. Magic was alive too in their letter "U" sheets with, of course, unicorns. Then there was a field trip to see a poetic and art-inspired puppet show. When asked what their favorite part was I heard many say joyfully "Everything!" I love how this group of children had the patience and wonder to be mesmerized by the magic of the show. They displayed this patience again as they sat watching their older (beloved) peers during the Erie Canal play at the Gallupville House, getting the chance to sing right beside and practice being part of a real show. We ended the week embracing the cold and snow that this time of year still holds on to while snuggling up to read Extra Yarn. Magic played a huge part in this story, as well as the comfort of kindness and making a gift for a friend. Yarn was sprinkled about to make gifts with at free choice time... and when I asked them to tell me about theirs, one very proud child answered, "It is my very own creation." Indeed, these preschoolers are all magical, poetic artists.
NYS Museum Field Trip
All of our classes got to enjoy exploring the NYS Museum. They also each had a class that was specifically designed for their age group. Our prek children did a program on "Adirondack Animals." The kindergarten and first graders learned about the adaptations on mammals and birds in their "Fur and Feathers" class. The second through fifth graders learned about "Simple Machines of the Erie Canal," a nice compliment to our theme study. Everyone had time to play, touch, build, look, and imagine at Discovery Place. They also visited some of the favorite exhibits from past trips including "Minerals of New York" and "Native People of New York."
Our Theme: The Erie Canal
We had a full immersion in play creation this past week. We've made models of the canal, tried to feel in our bodies what it would be like to be digging the canal, and pretended we were riding in a packet boat ducking down to deck when we approached a low bridge. We painted sets, lettered signs, and played improv games. We sang our songs and said our lines over and over and over again. The whole day before the actual performance we spent at the Gallupville House becoming comfortable with the location and practicing keeping track of our props. It all came together in a performance for our school community - they were proud of their accomplishments (as were we), and they all have some definite knowledge about the Erie Canal.