One of the students recently brought a pineapple to class! The pineapple was a massive chunk of fruit and it immediately captured the children’s attention. Based on their interests, we developed an activity around the pineapple!
To give each child a chance to explore the fruit, we set the pineapple in the middle of the table and we all took a seat around the table. From there, the children discussed what a pineapple looks like, how it tastes, the size, the texture, where it grows and how it grows. From this, the children began debating on the topic of where pineapples grow. One child believed pineapples grew from the ground and another child said it grows in a garden. After discussing their theories and comparing ideas, the two children realized that they meant the same thing.
Centered on this discussion, we brought a pineapple plant in the classroom to show the students what a pineapple looks like as it grows. This sparked a discussion on the pineapple seed and a few children stated that you could plant pineapple seeds that were inside of a pineapple. To test their theory of pineapple seeds, we cut the pineapple open and placed the slices on the light table. The children used this as an opportunity to observe and look closely at the slices to see if they could see any seeds. The children were so excited to see a few tiny pineapple seeds in the slices!
Based on this, the children created drawings of a pineapple and pineapple plants and we practiced sounding out and writing the word “pineapple.” While they were drawing, the children asked what we should do with the top part of the pineapple. Some children said we should throw it away, however one child suggested that we plant it. We will begin researching how to plant the top of a pineapple and how to plant pineapple seeds in order to continue this experiment!
During this project, the children worked on spelling, counting the number of slices of pineapples, counting the number of seeds, shapes, weight, density, and we learned about different shades of color. This activity highlights how certain projects are started. It’s all based on the child’s interest, what they want to learn about, and expressing their knowledge in as many ways as possible. We believe children are curious and capable human beings who have interests and imaginations that need to be expressed. One of the key ways we are able to succeed in a child-led learning approach is a result of our wonderful teachers. Our teachers at Little Wonders are trained to listen, observe, and then encourage a deeper understanding through art, sensory play, discussions, music, theatre, and more!
Some critics of child-led curriculum say that children don’t have as many opportunities to learn because they don’t know enough about the world. We don’t think that’s true at all, and that’s because of our view of children… capable human beings who deserve respect and a chance to express their knowledge. Moreover, it’s rare that a study on a food, animal, or job stays stagnant on that one topic. Our projects are constantly evolving. What may start as a study on pineapples can transform into a study on gardening, seeds, the categories of plants, how plants grow, and photosynthesis. In simpler terms, our curriculum is based on the children’s passions and pursuits that we observe from their dialogue and play. The whole process is about collaboration, learning with the children, and instilling a love of learning into them!
Moreover, this activity built upon a study of fruits and seeds that has been developing all semester. To read the previous posts: