Being Together

We love being together. Each and every day. This does not mean that it is always easy. In fact, it can be quite challenging. Getting along with others is hard work! It takes effort; patience, maturity, understanding, compassion, empathy, forgiveness, generosity,listening, talking, sharing. Each day when we come together at Nature School, we see children working hard to figure this all out. And, indeed, it is a lot to figure out.

We are enjoying observing the children utilizing their skills in these areas. I am always amazed at their maturity and intuition. We have seen so much social and emotional development in the past little while. Are children feeling more confident to express themselves now that they know each other and the expectations of school? Are they learning to ‘read’ their friends with a little more understanding? At what point does a child think about putting someone else’s needs ahead of their own?

When I look at these photographs I see this hard work coming to fruition.  Children working at being friends, being a community of learners.Kate, Heidi, Tricia and I see children doing their work and we are so very proud of them for their efforts.

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Tree climbing takes a lot of motor planning- figuring out foot and hand holds. Combine that we others climbing on the same branches and you have now have a very unique and wonderful learning experience. Nell looks like she is losing her balance and Kaya is looking at her. Kaya most likely wants to help her but perhaps she is feeling too unstable herself to offer a helping hand?

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Heidi reflects: Louis and Ezra appear to continue their play from Tuesday. The boys take on the roles of “Batman (Louis) and Commissioner Gordon” (Ezra) in order “to save Elsa.” Ezra informs me that, “Commissioner Gordon tells Batman what he has to do.” Knowing that both boys love Batman, I wonder how they negotiated, not only to continue to the game from Tuesday, but their roles? Does the space in some way inspire this particular storyline?

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Heidi notes: The children and teachers are working on boundaries together. Understanding when and where it is okay to go ahead, where to stop, and always to ensure that a teacher not only knows where you are, but has deemed it safe. The children seem to really enjoy going on adventures in the tall grass where invisible boundaries have to be set. How can we as teachers make invisible boundaries more clear to children and communicate with them in a way that they understand, a purpose for these boundaries?

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Heidi observes: Clayton begins, “digging for crystals.” Aiden hovers around Clayton, he appears curious about what Clayton is doing. Clayton seems to notice this and invited Aiden to help him. The two boys do not communicate very much verbally during the play until Clayton spots a white rock. He holds it in his hand and holds it towards Aiden, “I found one!” Aiden looks and the boys continue to dig. What has inspired Clayton to begin digging for crystals and was Aiden inclined to join because of an interest in Clayton’s digging, the intention behind the digging, because of the invitation, or something altogether different?

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Heidi observes: Ella W. comes alive as she notices all the colors on her hands, after doing chalk drawing. “I have rainbow hands,” she proclaims while holding out her palms to teachers and children. Did her excitement come from this discovery, or had something else in her day brought out this social and confident persona?

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Heidi observes: As a result of Ella W.’s discovery, the children begin to intentionally create, “rainbow hands.” How much of what the children learn is from peer observation and interaction? How can we as teachers (and parents/guardians) help support this kind of collaborative relationship?

The excitement of Chinese New Year continued into the week. Ethan brought in his special Lion Head and performed a dance for his classmates. Most children wanted a turn being part of the lion’s tail. Ethan captured the Lions’ movements so well; he had gone to see the dance in Chinatown. How did he translate what he saw into his own body movement?

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Olina sets the table and begins serving the noodles. Nathan, Miles, Ty and Ethan soon join her. They are using the chopsticks with dexterity. Olina uses her chopsticks to dish out noodles from the big bowl into the small bowl. Did she learn this at home? I wonder if we should cook noodles this week and invite the children to use chopsticks?

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It takes a lot of collaboration to build Clayten’s “Time Machine”. Thomas, Ezra and Kingston jump into this imaginary world. These boys are demonstrating the ability to play with each other in a mature way as they work together towards a common goal. I wonder if they are offered these materials again this week will they build on this idea? How can we support this creative play?

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Nell picked up this long branch but it was too awkward to carry on her own so she solicited the help of her good friend Damian. They seem to enjoy the act of carrying it rather than needing to ‘do’ something with it. I love the freedom of this play. Typically we move things to achieve a result. How wonderful to move something just to move it.

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It is hard to see in the picture but Nicole is in a cardboard box. She is snuggled in the box with various stuffed animals. We have observed that many children enjoy the feeling of containment.

 

 

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Rylan is loving the imagination market station. Each day she gifts art work to a friend. Her enthusiasm is spreading- this station is getting a lot of use. Providing open-ended art materials allows for creative expression and practice with fine motor skills.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Very focused on their work, Dimitri, Miles and Claire work alongside each other, taking turns with the supplies and tools. Each child is creating their own design- do they start with the end in mind or do they simply experiment and then find themselves at the next step?

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Each child is approaching this art in a different way. Ty seems to be exploring abstract design and then groupings of colour. Even though it isn’t a recognizable drawing, does he have a story? Tia is drawing people (bottom left) and using large swishes of colours as background. What is her story?

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As an educator, you always try to open the door for learning opportunities. The simple act of laying out pastels requires thought; offering enough to avoid frustration but also limiting the quantity so sharing must take place.

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What is Claire pointing out to Rylan? Sharing information with others is so natural. Instinctually we like to share what we observe around us, whether it is a thing of beauty or something that challenges or senses.

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The children run, straddle, jump, and throw things into ditches. Ditches are clearly multi-dimensional! What is about them that is so interesting? Is it the change in landscape depth? The water? The mud? The idea of crossing over something without needing a bridge?

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After an emotional moment, Ty lends a gentle hand to a good friend. Soothing Kaya by touching her back and trying to distract her by pointing out a bird, is one of the ways we see strong friendships and care within our class

‘Till the next post,

Emily

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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