Thursday, December 17, 2009

November Updates

The children savored the changing weather that November gave us. Warm sunny days, frosty mornings, and rain have created quite a playland in the paddock. We observed many seasonal differences in the meadow as the homes emerged on the hill above us, and we examined how plants release their seeds in late Fall. The children discovered how vehicles enter the space and were delighted to validate their prediction that one, a grass cutter, had actually gone down the path before we arrived. Many children tested their balance after rolling down a new-found hill. Thank you for being aware of the changing weather and dressing your child in an appropriate manner for paddock play.

Two Visiting Artists joined us in November. Mark gave us a fencing lesson and shared the history of this Olympic sport. He taught the older children how to hold a weapon and score points in a bout. We learned several footwork drills that incorporate advancing, retreating, and lunging. Audrey joined us to teach finger knitting. Many of the children enjoyed knitting strings with colorful yarn. The children truly connect with and enjoy learning from people just a few years older than themselves.

Songs, movement, and felt stories enrich our circle time. We continue to add complexity to the movements we use when singing. We’re switching directions, practicing cross crawl, and walking with feet right over left across a tape line. Each of the children is challenged to listen to the directions and move their bodies during these games which can be a developmental challenge.

During circle we have also begun a series of direct discussions on relationships and caring for one another. You may have seen our paper dolls that were the center of our discussion on how conflict is normal in relationships. We’ve also made a list of things that friends do together. “I” messages have also been introduced as a way to communicate our feelings without making the other person feeling bad. Please help reinforce this positive communication statement with your child by role modeling this language pattern. For example, “You make me upset!” would be restated as “I am upset!”

The patterns in the nooks continued to evolve this month. Many children are branching out in their relationships to form different play partnerships. Children continue to extend their attention spans, spending more time with each choice. We have had a number of doctors in the room attending to sick or dying patients. You may have seen the new classroom rule. It reads, “NO DYING!” Personally, I like that rule in school.

Thanks to the families for bringing healthy snacks throughout the month and supporting the child initiated Sandwich Making Day. This is an example of a child suggesting an idea and having the interest to carry the project through. Children have lots of ideas at Wellspring and many projects are initiated. After a day or so of inactivity I follow-up with the child to find the interest is gone and the project comes to an end.

I am thankful that Leslie has joined us as a yoga instructor on Thursday mornings. The children are enthusiastically learning new poses and practicing old ones. I too am thankful for your support of your children, the school, and your understanding that sometimes our learning gets messy, cold, and wet!

(Photo courtesy of Flickr user jdroth, shared under a Creative Commons license.)

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