Yesterday was our first official Forest Four Day. Kindergarten and Pre-Kindergarten spent about two hours exploring our Northbound Trail. The undergrowth sprouted up beyond our knees over the summer, leading to a lovely, wild excursion.
We made collections:
Tried some problem solving and teamwork:
Took on some challenges:
And searched for wildlife:
That was the sentence that inspired a creative endeavor today. One of the children had drawn a picture. When I asked her where it went, she said, “It’s in the mailbox!” Hmm….I don’t currently have a mailbox in our room. I mentioned this discrepancy and she suggested that we could make one.
Pull out the boxes. Put out the paint. Find a smock and get ready to create.
The following conversations took place while the children painted:
Mrs. Forst: What do you do with a mailbox?
“Mail can come in it from the mail truck.”
“Then when you come in from your car, you’ll get some mail.”
Mrs. Forst: What is mail?
“Mail is some kinda mail.”
“You have to put something in it, like a person.”
“Mail is paper. It has like pictures and stuff.”
Mrs. Forst: Where does the mail truck come from?
“That’s too hard.”
Mrs. Forst: How do they get the mail in the truck?
“They open the back and the mail guy puts the mail in.”
Oh, yeah. I forgot that our wee ones are so literal.
How lucky we are to have the freedom to follow the ideas, questions and curiosity of children. During morning meeting Monday one student decided to shake elbows instead of hands with a friend. She gave a very particular reason. She said that her “molecules would get on” her friend.
What an interesting turn in the conversation. (We were planning to discuss the morning message; words that begin with the /h/ sound.)
Stop the presses! Scrap the letter H. We’re off to microbiology!
So of course our next question was, “What is a molecule?” Right away, we had hands up in the air. “Molecules full of dirt that could make a person sick.”
The example we gave them involved a little bit less germs.
If one boy stands up, he is a student. If everyone in the group stands up, they are a class. Are they a class by themselves? No, but when you put a bunch of students together, they are a class.
Now look at the skin on the back of your hand. Your skin is made of millions of skin molecules. They are too small to see when we look with our eyes. If one skin molecule was hanging out on the back of your hand, would it be like the skin you have now? No. It takes many skin molecules to make the skin you see, just like it takes many students to make a class.
Rapt eyes and engaging questions followed the discussion of our skin molecules. We asked what our hair might be made of. “Hair molecules!” Of course! They discovered that everything in our body was made of special molecules that make different parts. Then they noticed Mrs. Forst’s ring. Guess what it is made of….metal molecules! How about the easel? Wood molecules! What about a basketball? (Uh-oh, a bit of confusion here.) “Wood molecules!”
Sounds like we might need to take a closer look at the materials that make up our world.
Even outside, tech is on the little ones’ minds. All these natural surroundings and we have to invent electronics. Here we have two friends working on the computer they built in the play house.
Quote of the day yesterday:
“Mrs. Forst, can you help me? I’ve got some nature in my hat.”
Gritty, dusty, grimy first-hand experience. That is what defines our time outdoors. As a few children searched for worms today, they had many variables to work with.
Which digging tool would produce the best worm hole? Where would the worms most likely be hiding? What container would be most enticing to worm life? How many rocks and pieces of mulch can we throw in the bucket, on top of a worm, before Mrs. Forst suggests we’re going to squish it?
It is so delightful to work with young children. They experiment constantly, frequently making and adjusting mistakes, and only rarely throw in the towel.