Sunday, April 27, 2008

Young Explorers

Wednesday could not have been a more perfect day for us to go to Central Park and explore. We split into small groups and were able to walk around the park and talk about what we saw. This was very exciting for the children, and when we met as a class for lunch, we were all very excited to see each other and share our stories. Upon returning to school, we examined some observational drawings of flowers made by the children, as well as some items brought back from the park (all were sanitary: twigs, flowers, unknown natural objects).

Each group was equipped with a camera for the children to use, and we will happily display those photos at the Art Show (May 15).
Below are some photos that I took while traveling with my group.

Some things the children noticed, which we discussed at the day's end:
1) The Sun makes you hot
2) Shade keeps you cool
3) There are no dogs or carriages allowed on the track around the Reservoir
4) The Reservoir would not make a suitable swimming pool
5) Male ducks have green heads, females have brown, and some ducks have blue bills
6) The Park has many bridges

I noticed that many children enjoyed using found sticks as tools, to draw on the ground, for example. The next day, we featured this at our sand table, and it was a big hit. Hooray!

We had two special guests on Friday. Amy came in and helped us make matzo balls which we then enjoyed in a delicate broth. Everyone had lots of fun, and we listened to a story while the soup was cooking. Evelyn came in at the end of the day and helped the children with some yoga positioning. The children have been exceptionally receptive to doing yoga, and we are trying to include it more and more in our classroom. What we are trying to emphasize at the beginning is that yoga is a calm, quiet, relaxing activity.

And finally, we decided to change our snack routine in the morning. We now feature a table with snack and a menu on the wall, and the children can come up to freeplay for a bite to eat. Everyone has been learning to wait their turn, and to listen to their tummies for when hunger strikes. After eating, the children write their name on a list, which helps us ensure that everyone had a chance to come eat if they were hungry. So far, this system has been working well. It results in a more leisurely snack time, whereas in the morning it was rather rushed so we could move on to our morning meeting.
And best of all, reading and writing skills are complimentary. On the house!!

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