Week of December 14, 2015
This week was full of gingerbread! A gingerbread house, gingerbread stories, gingerbread games, and more.
Our gingerbread house was a weeklong project. On Monday, we mixed the dough. On Tuesday, we rolled out the dough (always a fun project whenever flour is involved!), cut it with a special gingerbread house cookie cutter, and baked it. We also took a walk to “Nature’s Market” in search of “meringue powder” but they didn’t have any. Meringue powder is known for making a stiff icing that is completely safe to eat and is good for holding together pieces of a gingerbread house. I found some at Vermont Kitchen Supply, so on Wednesday we mixed up the icing. Each child had a turn to help me hold the mixer, an opportunity they thoroughly enjoyed. After putting the pieces together and giving them time to set, a few children counted out pieces of candy and adorned our gingerbread house. The rest of the group had their turn to decorate on Thursday. They were all disappointed to find out that we weren’t going to eat it, but seemed appeased to have a cookie rolled out from the extra dough instead. They were quite adamant in informing the 5/6s, 6/7s, and 7/8/9s that it was just a decoration.
Throughout the week we read several versions of “The Gingerbread Man.” One by Jim Aylesworth told the familiar tale with the gingerbread man being outwitted and eaten by the fox. In Gingerbread Baby by Jan Brett, it is the gingerbread baby’s creator, Matti, who is able to capture the gingerbread baby in a gingerbread house and save him from all the people and animals who want to catch him. Gingerbread Friends, also by Jan Brett, is a continuation of Gingerbread Baby and tells the story of the gingerbread baby’s quest to find some friends. He thinks the treats he sees in the bakery will be his friends, but once again, it is his creator, Matti, who realizes what the gingerbread baby wants and makes him some friends. Gingerbread Girl, by Lisa Campbell Ernst, tells the story of the gingerbread boy’s sister. While she is baking in the oven, she hears the little old woman and the little old man talking and learns of her brother’s fate. She knows she must watch out for that fox. In the end it is she that outwits the fox. The children enjoyed listening to these variations and requested them time and time again.
Outside we played a few different gingerbread tag games. We all took turns being the gingerbread man or girl and having the rest of the group chase us. As we ran, we sang these tunes:
As fast as you can.
You can’t catch me,
I’m the gingerbread man!”
“I’ll run and I’ll run
With a leap and a twirl.
You can’t catch me,
I’m the gingerbread girl!”
Also outside I noticed a bit of a shift in the children’s play. They weren’t playing so much as individuals, rather they were playing together in small groups. Their play was imaginative and there was a much more cooperative nature to their play. They were sailing ships through stormy seas, taking a drive Wayside Store to buy eggs, ice cream, and other essentials. They were puppies and bad guys. It was such a treat for me to step back and be an observer to their play. I’m curious to see if they will pick right up where they left of when we return from break, or if they might go back to playing more on their own. I suspect it will be a combination of both. When we do return from break, my plan is to keep things as familiar and routine as possible. It will almost be like starting school all over again. While they know the space, the people, and the things, they will have been away for a few weeks and will need some time to reacclimate. Kids who never had a hard time saying goodbye may all of a sudden find this difficult. This is all perfectly normal. Try and keep your morning routine just as it was before break and I will be there to help if need be.