The children were so excited this morning! Last week, we hung a birdseed wreath outside our window. The children were a little disappointed that the birds didn’t arrive that very moment. However, this morning was completely different. From our window, we observed at least 15 birds rummaging around on the playground and this little friend repeatedly visited our bird feeder.
These sightings inspired many questions and a renewed interest in using the binoculars when we moved outside to explore. I can’t wait to see what other types of birds we might see in the upcoming months.
Our puppet shows just got a lot more interesting! One morning I noticed the children making what I thought were holiday lights. How wrong I was! No, these lovely lights were designed for our puppet show. I was informed that you can’t have a show without special lights.
Once our set was adorned, another group of children insisted that we needed some spot lights. Luckily we had some people powered Ikea flashlights ready to shine.
One of the hottest (and most toxic) topics in Pre-K and K is Best Friends. Most of the children do not enter the year with a preconceived notion that a Bestie is expected. However, once one child says, “You’re not my best friend anymore,” it pops up all over the place both in the classroom and out.
Friendships in early childhood change on a minute by minute basis. A Pre-Kindergartner’s event horizon can usually be confined to 15 minutes before and after right now. At this age, you are my friend if you want to play what I want to play. The minute you want to play something different, you are either no longer my friend, or simply no longer existing beyond my sphere of awareness. Pre-K children are not trying to be mean in this behavior. Rather their ability to understand the perspective of others is simply not developed enough to see beyond their own interests.
For this reason, “Best Friend” is not an appropriate term for the 4 to 6 set. We encourage the children to realize that all of us are friends in our class. Sometimes, we want to play with one child or group and sometimes we chose another. It has less to do with how much we “like” another person and more with whether or not what we are doing is related.
This week we read, “How Full is Your Bucket? For kids.” In this story, we learned that each of us has an invisible bucket we cart along with us everywhere. With each negative interaction or event drops of “water” drip out. When your bucket is empty, it can be hard to be kind or helpful. It can also make you feel sad or irritated. On the other hand, with every positive interaction or event, our bucket fills up. We also found out that when we are kind or helpful to others, not only do we refill their bucket, but add new drops to our own, too.
Some days, your bucket seems to be leaking like a sieve. Your alarm clock didn’t go off. You burnt the toast. Your dog stepped in the mud and then jumped on your pants as you walked out the door. All of these tiny little things take from your bucket. Children and adults are more quick to anger, irritate, judge, and outright react without thought when their bucket is empty.
We’ve been noticing when our buckets are losing water and when we can help fill another person’s bucket. Today on the playground, I saw children filling buckets by sharing binoculars, taking turns on the swing, helping others build once a building had collapsed, and by inviting friends to join them in play. If you notice your bucket is a bit low, try a small act of kindness. You’d be surprised how quickly it will fill back up.
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?