We have begun our world travels. In order to travel outside the U.S., the children made “passports” and were introduced to the idea of visas.
The first country that the children “visited” was India. They listened to sitar music and tabla drumming. They also made a lotus flower and a tiger, the national flower and animal of India.
I read a book to the older children, The Elephants and the Mice, from the Panchatantra, an ancient Indian collection of animal fables. On another day, Ruhi showed them bangles, a dress and bindi from India.
The next country that the children will “visit” is Germany.
During the week, Sneaky Snake took all of the upper-case letters, and the children made new ones. The next day, the lower-case letters appeared on the board. After that, Sally Snake, Sneaky Snake’s daughter, took her first letter, a.
Duck has flown south due to colder weather and his friend, Pierre the Pig, has taken over his job. Pierre, though, also slacks off on the job.
As the children learn about the lower-case letters, we review the upper-case ones.
Stay warm this week!
Welcome to Zal, who started at Friends earlier this month!
We will finish our walruses this week. The children have been learning about animals in winter, and we focused on ones that live in the arctic. They heard a walrus sing and learned a few facts about them (such as that they are very big, use their tusks to climb onto the ice after they’ve been in the water, and can live for 40 years).
Next, the children are going to get a Friends Passport and learn about other countries. This unit will depend on you! If you or your parents are from another country and you would like to teach the class about it, we would be thrilled to have you join us. You could present music, a story, or something else that could represent the culture of your country. We could learn to say hello and friend in your native language. I’ll work with you to come up with a craft.
Please remember to switch out the clothing in your child’s cubby. The children need to have a change of winter clothing.
We take them outside unless it is bitter cold. That means they need a winter coat, mittens, and a hat every day. If there is snow on the ground, they will need snow boots and (and snow pants if they want to make snow angels).
The children will begin learning about winter animals this week. We will talk about the ones in the Arctic and about how animals here survive in the winter.
Sneaky Snake has stayed indoors and has her eyes on the letters P and R.
Laura and I acted out a scene that showed how a friend feels when another one says, “I don’t want to play with you.” We also acted out a scene with me not wanting to hold Laura’s hand in a morning meeting. A few children got up and went to hold Laura’s hand. They all knew that Laura would be sad if I didn’t hold her hand. We talk about how we can make a better choice so our friends don’t feel sad.
Some children have gotten interested in the map in the classroom. They looked at where Japan is located. “It would take a long time to drive there,” one child said. Another corrected her, “You can’t drive there. Look at the water. You have to fly.”
Another child pointed to countries on the map and asked what they were called. She pointed to Russia and said that she had been to a lot of places, but she didn’t go there because it was too big and she would get lost. Then she asked about India and said that she was in the part of India where she could ride her orange bike.
Earlier this month, one of our students, Ayaka, went home to Japan. We will miss her!
I hope everyone enjoyed the weekend. It was wonderful to see you at the school’s Thanksgiving Day celebration. The children had fun getting ready for it, painting our sign, creating patterns with their necklaces and headbands, and making pumpkin bread.
This week, the children will work on their ravens, birds that have the ability to transform and bring light to the world in folklore from tribes in the northwest.
Sneaky Snake still has an appetite for letters, though she indulged herself during Thanksgiving. This week, she will take the letters J and O.
The children noticed the colors and shapes of leaves as they collected them to make a collage. The next day, they participated in making applesauce, which they will have the opportunity to taste on Monday.
They also helped to plant an oak tree. The following day, a small group ran to check on it and reported, "It grew a new branch!"
Our forays in the natural world are a warm up to studying cultures of Native American tribes. The children will learn about the role of nature in Native cultures.
The children will make necklaces, learn some symbols and make a raven, a cultural hero in many of their stories.
Duck dressed up for Halloween, though he was not supposed to come to school in costume. The children didn’t mind and asked him who he was (Little Red Riding Hood).
Sneaky Snake took the letter C, as she had a hankering for candy, cake, and cookies on the day after Halloween.
The children have been talking about Halloween and have been counting down the days until the big event. They have been making spiders and are in the process of making a spooky landscape.
We have finished our unit, All About Me. This week, we focused on our senses. The children made predictions about combining primary colors when we did experiments with milk, food coloring and dish soap. I asked what sense they were using as they watched the experiment, and they said, "sight!" I asked which part of our body we use for sight, and one child said, "ears!" We then talked about how our ears and eyes help us to navigate the world and the different ways they help us.
The children made touchy dragons and felt various fabrics, foil and sandpaper as they glued them on. Today, they had a special snack and tasted seven things, describing the flavors as salty, sour, or sweet. We talked about how we use four or five of our senses when we eat, depending on whether we are eating something that makes a sound, such as crunchy pretzels and whether the food has a smell, such as that of clementines or pickles.
Some feeling monsters still need to find their voices and tell their stories. Other monsters have spoken. One said, "I am happy because I feel loving."
Laura and I acted out a few scenarios. In one, we were two children who were playing and then Laura wanted to play a different game. I didn't want her to leave and held on to her. We asked the children how Laura felt and they said, "sad." Then we asked them what we should have done. We agreed that Laura needed to use her words. "I want to play a different game." I needed to say, "OK," and not use my hands to hold her.
On another day, we acted out situations involving not holding hands at circle time because Laura wanted to hold someone else's hand.
When situations come up, we talk about them and often act them out at snack time so the children can see how those actions impact the other child. We talk as a group about how we can decide to behave differently so our friends will not be not sad.
Sneaky Snake has taken the letters A and V this week.
In the afternoon, children made squirrels using the imprint of their feet. These squirrels are on the tree in the classroom.
The children are getting reacquainted with one another and are making new friends as the school year begins. They have enjoyed playing outside and with toys inside, as well as painting their names and making puppets that represent them. They will use their puppets all year when they enter the classroom, as a way of checking in. We call them their "attendance puppets."
Sneaky Snake began her quest for letters from our alphabet. On Friday, she took the letter I.
We will soon be exploring our first unit, All About Me. We will talk about our feelings and what things make us happy, sad, mad, or excited.
During our last week of camp, the children looked at paintings by a few modern artists and then — inspired by impressionist Claude Monet's The Japanese Bridge—made their own paintings. They also experimented with color.
We were fortunate that there were bright days in the midst of a rainy week. The children played outside for a portion of each day. Because of the rain, some of our cucumbers grew quickly, and they were spotted by the children. Those who were adventurous tried a slice of cucumber during lunch.
I hope everyone has a wonderful August. We have enjoyed working with your children.
This week, the children learned about the ways in which worms keep soil healthy for trees and flowers. On the first day, they had the opportunity to hold worms that I had brought in. Then they moved their fingers through finger paint, making tunnels as if they were worms.
They also learned that worms do not have eyes and that they breathe through their skin. They are hermaphrodites. We read two books about worms, Bob and Otto and Worm Loves Worm.
Children also looked at trees and felt their roots as we talked about the ways worms help to nourish them.
Many children dug for worms outside and gave them new homes in the soil. They also learned that you cannot give worms a bath.