Last week, a handful of the students transformed into architects and spent several days creating a city landscape in our block center. The city included parking lots, a school, an airport, a zoo, and of course lots of buildings! Each day, the students added more features to the city such as walls (to keep the animals from escaping), bridges, and more road signs. They also designed maps for their city in case it ever needs to be repaired or remodeled. Then, this week, one of the students proclaimed that it should be called North West City. Each day, the city expands and develops into a more intricate design.
The students have worked together to problem solve when the buildings have fallen apart, where to put new structures, and what to do when they ran out of blocks. The collaboration and synergy has been effortless and is proof that that our once young, wide-eyed students are now confident and ready for kindergarten.
Whew! That went fast! At 8:00 this morning, our little explorers began to arrive. Some of them were a bit nervous, some were very excited, and a few acted as though they had been coming here for years. (“Bye, Mom! Time for you to go now.”)
The beginning of the school year is always very busy. Many of the areas of the classroom are not yet open for use so that we can slowly teach the children the procedures and routines for particular supplies and manipulatives. For this reason, there are not very many options available upon arrival for the first couple of days. As we introduce new centers and materials each day, the choices that are available will certainly expand.
Today we introduced the kitchen in the dramatic play area and the block center. In our kitchen, we discussed the purpose for returning items to their previous baskets and shelves. We decided that food should go in the refrigerator, pots and pans in the oven, and dishes in the dish washer. Although it might seem a bit overboard for a group of four-year-olds, we know that they can keep an area organized if they know the expectations from the beginning. In the block center they learned that each block has a corresponding label on the shelf so that they can easily find a similar block or replace them when they are finished.
We also reflected on our feelings during our first day of Pre-K. We were pleased to see that many of the children were feeling “happy” and “good”. A few were more in the “shy” range with only one admitting to being overtly “sad” (although the picture she drew was of herself smiling). One student went so far as to say that she was “nervous AND excited”.
Our class did make it outside today, as well. Although the weather did not at first appear to be cooperating, luckily the rain stopped early enough for us to spend some time outside on the black top. Children who brought rain boots were allowed to play in the grass, too. If your child would like to keep rain boots at school for outdoor play, we can certainly accommodate them. We believe that it is extremely important to get outside and get moving many times a day. Heavy rain and dangerous weather are about the only things that keep us inside.
Amazing that we did all this in one short four-hour period. We can’t wait to do it again tomorrow!