One of the children asked us many times if we might try cooking the corn. We asked them how we should cook it. After a bit of thinking, they decided that their mom makes corn in the oven. We weren’t sure where this experiment might lead, but we thought it was certainly an interesting prospect.
The temperature and baking time were suggested by the experimenting student.
These cooked quietly in the science lab while we finished our choice time in the classroom. The children helped us set a timer so we wouldn’t forget to pull them out of the oven. Two students watched the timer carefully for the last 9 minutes.
When Miss. Davis brought them in, the pan was still hot. We noticed they didn’t look too different. We did, however, decide that we should keep them separate from the other corn so we could compare them. One child suggested making a label and another wrote it out for us.
Once we looked a bit closer, we could see some differences between the cooked and uncooked corn. What do you notice?
Now that Applefest has wrapped up, we are finding lots of treasures left behind on the playground. Yesterday morning, the children discovered a few dried corn cobs that had fallen off of the decoration stalks. The cobs moved to the outdoor Maker Space where a makeshift factory was set up. Small fingers patiently and diligently removed every kernel.
This activity continued in the afternoon. Sadly, we discovered that our original corn collection had been accidentally misplaced by the older students. (Chalk it up to practicing perseverance.) No worries! We found more ears of corn to work with and many more classmates joined in on the project. In addition to the kernel factory, an airplane was built nearby where corn kernels could be delivered via leaf plates for hungry passengers.
As we worked, a few of the children came up with a plan for the corn. One child wanted to know if we could cook it. Hmm….we’ll see how that experiment works a bit later. (Don’t worry, we don’t plan to eat it.)
One of our centers had a makeover recently. Due to the sharing of nature collections from both at school and at home, the children have created what they call “The Science Lab.” We have ample acorns, plentiful pinecones, noodle-like nests, and one slightly dead, but way cool, cicada. The children have created their own experiments involving buoyancy, auditory tones, and habitats. Collections are also a great way to practice our math skills.
Our invitation activity this week has been fine motor based. The table is set with a choice of squiggles drawn on black paper. Two bowls of dragon tears, otherwise known as flat glass beads, sit to the side. This invitation is open to interpretation by the children. Some choose to use the dragon tears to “follow” the line. Others create their own designs. Either way, little finger muscles must grasp each tear and place it in the desired position.
Just another fun way to exercise some very small muscles.
Three children play in the sandbox. Two are pushing trucks, moving sand out of the way as a road is formed. Another child stands nearby with an excavator. He watches the other two and tries digging where they have cleared. One of the bulldozer drivers is frustrated and tells him he can’t play with them.
Remember how we spoke of misunderstanding communication at this age? The bulldozer child sounds as if he’s being mean and the excavator child seems to be being destructive. However, neither of these is the case. The child with the excavator was carefully watching the other two children. He wanted to join in but didn’t have the language to find out how. Our friend with the bulldozer had the language to tell the excavator that he didn’t like what he was doing, but didn’t understand what the excavating child’s body language said of his motives. Neither child is yet adept at viewing a perspective beyond their own.
This is where play comes in as practice. An observant adult can join the group and help each member find out what they want from the situation. We can discuss together what the problem might be and find solutions. Practicing these conflict resolution strategies in play builds the communication skills children will need as they grow.
One of my favorite ways to help children communicate their needs while including others in play is by adding one word to a very common question. Instead of asking, “Can I play?”, try
“How can I play?”
Adding “how” creates a completely different dynamic.
***Note: The picture at the top of this article is from a previous day. It is not of the three children referred to in the story.*
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.