Week of November 16, 2015
Painting at the easel was a new experience this week. Kids were eager to give it a try, and for many it provided an opportunity to wait for something they really wanted. The easel was set up each day so children had multiple chances to work on a painting. Some children delighted in the discovery of making new colors by mixing combinations of red, yellow, and blue. Some painted outlines and then filled in the space, others filled the whole page, and a few even painted dinosaurs.
The babies returned to the dramatic play area. The children enjoyed caring for the babies, dressing them in clothes, and getting them settled for a nap in the cradle. I heard many fewer requests for help in dressing the babies, an indication that the children are becoming more capable, competent, and independent.
On Monday, we welcomed our new Music Teacher. She introduced us to a variety of musical experiences including recognizing the difference between our singing and talking voices, recognizing different beats and tempos as we each had a turn with the drum, and a “freeze dance” tambourine song. She kept things moving at a tempo in which the children remain engaged so I anticipate great enjoyment from our weekly music classes.
On Tuesday, we read a book called Tops & Bottoms, adapted by Janet Evans, a clever tale about Hare and Mr. Bear. Hare tricks Mr. Bear into going into business together in a way that Hare is clearly the winner. When Mr. Bear says he wants the “tops” of the vegetables, Hare plants root crops, such as carrots, where the “bottom” part is the desirable part. When Mr. Bear says he wants the “bottoms,” Hare plants crops, such as lettuce, where the “top” is the part to eat. And when Mr. Bear has had enough of Hare’s trickery and says he wants the “tops and bottoms,” Hare plants crops, such as corn, where the “middle” is the part to have. Mr. Bear never went into business with Hare again! We also read a book called Delicious, by Helen Cooper, a take off on the original Pumpkin Soup story with Duck, Cat, and Squirrel. On a walk to the Manchester Community Garden, the children noticed that not much was growing, and came home with a cabbage, turnip, chard, and kale, which we’ll turn into soup tomorrow.
On Wednesday, we hosted our first Town Meeting. The 4/5s did a fine job of welcoming the 5/6s, 6/7s, and 7/8/9s to our assembly and leading us through the four parts of Town Meeting (1. Hello/Gathering Song; 2. Share; 3. Announcements; 4. Goodbye Song). They voted on “The Hat Song” as our gathering song, a song that helps us learn/remember names, and “Goodbye Good Friends,” a song we sing at the end of Movement Class, as our goodbye song. The 5/6s, 6/7s, and 7/8/9s shared a sound poem they wrote after visiting the Manchester Community Food Cupboard and also announced that we will be starting our own “Food Drive” at The Downtown School.
On Thursday, we played outside a little earlier to beat the rain and then enjoyed some time playing with cardboard brick blocks in the mudroom. The children had a blast! I think I could have disappeared for a half an hour and they wouldn’t have even noticed. They built cities complete with houses, hospitals, and stores. They balanced rectangles on top of triangles. They built tall towers, knocked them over, and built them again. Clean up time provided a great opportunity to search for certain shapes (the biggest/smallest rectangles, squares, triangles, and cylinders). They did great team work and worked very hard to get all the blocks to fit back in the boxes. Definitely something we’ll do again!
On Friday, we took advantage of yet another lovely day and went for a walk around the pond and down the path to the bridge. The children were intrigued by dropping sticks of varying sizes and discovering that they all floated down the river. Similarly, they were enthralled by dropping rocks into the water, watching them sink, and noticing which one made the biggest splash. A fabulous spur of the moment experience that turned into a wonderful teachable moment.