Our first week of school was spent figuring out how shcool works. We have many materials to explore that many kids have never used! We also have a lot of new friends who have never worked together before! Most of our new friends have never been in a school setting for a full day! Many have never been separated from their parents for a full day. All of these factors can lead to many problems that need solutions very quickly!
We stared out our year by creating a family/ school connection by having parents write their hopes and dreams for their child on a ribbon and help their child weave it on our class loom. This loom will be displayed in our room all year as a reminder of the hopes and dreams for them from their parents.
Most of our time was spent getting to know each other and learning how to use the materials in our room. We have been reading stories that teach us about characteristics we need for our classroom to work such as respect for people, places (our room) and things (our materials), responsibility for taking care of our materials and putting them away, empathy for our new friends, being helpful, handling frustration (we don't always get what we want) and becoming problem solvers.
We have been slowly introducing all of the areas in our room and practicing respecting and taking care of the materials in each area. If they do not respect the materials, they are not allowed to explore that area until they show me in other areas of the room that they can handle it. As teachers, we are observing and documenting what we notice. Who is not easily frustrated if they don't get their way? Who helps others in need? Who takes responsibility for helping clean up? We are also noticing interests to get ideas for future inquiries.
It is amazing what the kids will start exploring based on the materials provided! Here are some examples of the learning happening purely through exploration.
Below we see some friends who wanted to show us how they could create sound in different ways in the block area, which is in our science standards. This was completely on their own without teacher guidance.
In the clay area, the child below was showing me that she could make heavy lines and light lines based on the pressure she applied!
There was a lot of exploration of texture in the clay area, along with some creating!
Below, a child didn't have enough clay to create the different textures. Her friends were not willing to give their clay up for her to use. She then came up with the idea of creating smaller pieces. Problem solving at its finest!
Some explored Symetry in the loose parts area, again, no guidance from the teachers! They did this on their own!
Some created self portraits.
They were practicing observational skills at the Look Closer table. I loved listening to what they had noticed!
We notices an awful lot of children exploring balance on their own!
At the writing station, one friend was inspired to write a story using symbols. I was amazed that rather than copying the example, he created his own symbols to tell his stories! Of coarse we had to let him share his story with the class!
and our math trays.