Hello January! Below freezing on Monday, in the 60s by Thursday. Maybe we should send some Nature Preschool expert witnesses to the next United Nations Climate Conference…
However, we can’t deny how much fun it was to start our week rolling in the snow, finding tracks, and exploring ice…and end it making mud cakes in t-shirts.
The Oaks have been wanting to climb into this old foundation all year. They just weren’t sure if they could get out. Then suddenly at lunch this week, one popped in, and the rest followed. They taught each other different techniques for climbing out, and gave assists when needed.
Psychologist and child development theorist Erik Erikson proposed that around age five until about 12, children enter the developmental stage of industry (vs. inferiority). They actively work to develop competencies. They want to learn new skills and do things by themselves. They seek peer and adult approval and develop a sense of pride in their accomplishments. We see this every day, but especially at Hilltop Home, where the Oaks direct their own projects. They spring up from circle and story, ready to work.
We “started” our mapping unit this week. I put the “start” in quotes, because really, we have been working on mapping concepts all year. We use position and direction words as we explore Woodend. We have been naming landmarks, large and small. The Oaks know these woods, they know how the trails connect, how the stream runs to the pond, where the land rises and falls.
This week, we made a model (3D map) of Hilltop Home out of blocks. The Oaks looked at it and guessed what it could be, “Are we planning a shelter?” “Are we going to make towers at Hilltop?” “Can we build with blocks?”
Then one child noticed the circle of tiny tree cookies. “It’s where we do our meetings!” Then another hollered, “It’s Hilltop Home!” Together they looked at the model and figured out what each block was. “That’s the boat log!” “That’s the Feeling’s Den!” “That’s my fort!” The children took turns running to stand near landmarks as we pointed to them on the model. They helped each other if they got lost. “Look, it’s behind the two forts, over there.”
Then we told them the model had clues (stickers) to show them the locations of toy snakes hidden around Hilltop. Each child chose a sticker on the model, and then went to the real-life location to find the snake. Snakes were placed on the model, until all were found. The children then took turns hiding the snakes and marking them on the model for others to find.
Symbol, scale, position and direction, number. Sense of place. The joy of exploration and discovery. Mapping offers such a rich terrain for learning.
Books we read this week (children’s favorites)
Rex Wrecks It
The Little House in the Big Woods (part of first chapter)
A Year Around the Great Oak by Gerda Muller
Flower Fairies Magical Doors