Tuesday, November 10, 2009

October at Wellspring

Throughout October we observed and explored the changes autumn brought to our environment. Two meadow adventures yielded many leaves, rocks, and seeds to view under our magnifying glasses. Several of the children discovered what was inside seeds by cracking them open at the work bench. Acorn seeds are growing in our window in an experiment designed after a child noticed they were sprouting. While at the pumpkin patch, a child decided that they wanted to find out what the inside of a pumpkin and gourd looked like. Last week we gathered a variety of gourds and discussed exterior similarities and differences. We then generated a series of wondering questions about what was inside. Many children enjoyed cutting the gourds open, with a “big knife”, to discover the contents. The children’s observations of touch, smell, and sight are posted in the classroom. Please take a minute after drop-off to view their work.

We took listening walks on the way to the post office and in the meadow. Children listened to a variety of vehicles going over the open grate bridge and wondered why they didn’t fall through as the bridge has holes. We listened to big and small rocks plunge into deep and shallow water. We also attempted to find the birds singing to us in the bushes.

In the paddock, the children have built many obstacles with spools, stumps, and boards. The wet weather has created challenging surfaces for negotiating these obstacles. Our Halloween celebration offered a chance to weigh pumpkins, vote on the Jack-O-Lantern’s features, predict a pumpkin’s circumference, and guess the contents of touch bags. Games of freeze tag have helped many of our younger friends stay warm on chilly mornings. Thanks to all for dressing your child to enjoy this paddock time in all types of weather.

During circle time we take turns listening to and talking with others. Most days we sing songs and share stories. Community meetings are held to talk about how we care for each other and our space. Younger voices are being heard more frequently in these gatherings. The Kid Who Cares documents how we want, or don’t want, to be treated. We often refer to the “rules” created by children for friendly reminders. Our Peace Mat is being used more actively to solve problems which I view as a sign that the children are more comfortable with each other.

The Mat and Tray Nook offers a wide variety of individual and small group activities that reinforce pre-reading and math skills. Many days this is a popular nook during choice time. Puzzles, games, and sound/letter sorts continue to be popular.

The activity in the Art and Writing Nook has increased significantly with the support of our parent helpers this month. The children are offered a variety of materials for projects. When you join me for a conversation, take some time to view the art work displayed in the room.

The Primary children continue to explore sound-letter patterns. Several are interested in learning to read, so their afternoons are spent blending sounds and gaining confidence with sight words. They were inspired to make haunted house dioramas after listening to a Cam Jensen book. Math skills are explored with calendar work, characteristics of a set, and the weekly estimation jar.

In closing I extend a special thanks to Parvathi for coordinating our field trips, the dads that spent their morning with us, and to the parent helpers that continue to enrich our daily program. I am grateful for your support.


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