Tag Archives: nature
Everyday nature provides us something new to explore in our outside classroom. During one of our explorations, we noticed two caterpillars. The class observed that the caterpillars were different from one another and began to inquire about the differences. Some of their thoughts and questions included:
Every day when the children go outside to water the garden they love conversing about how the plants are “growing”. These conversations began to reoccur in the classroom daily. During one discussion the teacher and the children had a lot to say about the plants in the garden.
Where do plants come from?
“A garden of dirt and they belong in the dirt.”
“Out in the dirt under the ground.”
How do the plants come out of the dirt?
“No, by growing, right?”
What do you mean by “popping?”
“It pops out of the ground.”
What else can you put in the dirt?
What is the water for?
“Because they’re thirsty.”
Do the plants need anything else to grow?
What are seeds?
“There are big ones and there are little ones.”
Since the children have showed so much interest in planting we set up a sensory bin with soil, dry beans, compound leaves, and “gardening tools”.
While working in the gardening bin the children were counting how many seeds they planted, how many plants were growing, how many leaflets were on the compound leaves, portioning the soil and water, and planting the seeds in the correct spot.
Planting and watching seeds grow is an inspirational experience for children because they see how something so small can grow into a living plant over time. This teaches the students patience and acute observational skills.
Digging the seeds out of the soil helped the children to improve their fine motor and social skills as they worked with their peers through out the provocation. This type of sensory play enhanced the children’s learning experience as they touched, smelled, and saw the dry beans, soil and leaves. Because young children are oriented toward sensory experiences this exploration engaged the students naturally to learn more about plant life. This provocation allowed the students to explore plant growth by using their senses while practicing their mathematical skills by observing and counting the materials in their nature sensory bin!
“Great things are done by a series of small things brought together.”
-Vincent Van Gogh
Reference and additional reading:
One week the teachers took advantage of the recent rainy days and brought the children out to the playground to enjoy some mud play. Through this activity the teachers wanted the children to experience a very important element in our world: nature! Continue reading
One week the students practiced their scribbles on many different occasions with different activities. Day to day we observed their scribbles and their quick improvements. In one provocation we explored butterflies and tied literacy into the exploration. First, the word butterfly was traced onto paper. Then the students painted each letter with watercolor while we explained the writing process of each letter they painted, “The letter ‘M!’ You go up , down , up, down and you’ve made the letter M.”
As children continue to scribble they become more aware of what they are doing, as the muscles in their hands become stronger their scribbles evolve into shapes. At this stage they are realizing the marks left on the paper are the consequence of the materials they use. They are not only developing hand eye coordination but visual control as well. This experience gave the children the opportunity to discover that the motion of their arms has a correlation to what they see on the paper. This brings joy of realizing a new type of control they have at such a young age.
This experience incorporated literacy through art. Utilizing two different concepts helps the children to learn the basic concepts of writing through art. This will not only benefit the children in the short-term but in the long-term as well. In future explorations they will be able to understand abstract concepts by applying them to concrete topics based from their past experiences in thinking outside of the box.
We are overly excited of the work that has been done with our rainbow Toddler One students. They have improved their scribbles and their characters are falling into place, as they recognize letters themselves. Our goal is to continue to work with these topics to continue strengthening literacy skills.
“Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children, play is serious learning. Play is really the work of childhood.” –Mr. Rogers
To continue our leaf study we conducted a math lab with leaves that we found outside on the playground. We drew ten boxes outside with sidewalk chalk. We then numbered each box from one to ten and asked the students to count the boxes. We asked the children to choose a number and then encouraged them to find and place that number of leaves in their square. Continue reading