Last week while a few of the preschoolers were outside, I placed a large branch into the soil in one of the barrels. MR came over as I began placing fallen leaves on the tiny twigs sticking out from the branch.
MR: "Is that a Christmas tree?"
Bee: "I wonder what you think it is?"
MR: "It's a Christmas tree!"
I put a few more leaves on the ends of the twigs. TS came over to look at the branch, as MR worked on placing a leaf on the branch. We then talked about decorating the "tree" the following day with all of the preschoolers.
We went outside the next day near the end of the day and the branch was no longer in the barrel. I found it and placed it back in the barrel, this time digging a deeper hole to make the branch more stable. Soon after I started placing leaves back on the twigs, EB and IR came over and asked about the branch. I talked about the conversation I had with MR the day before and they agreed, "it is a Christmas tree!" I put a few more leaves on. Then EB quickly walked around the yard, finding various items to put on the "tree" as IR and JH watched.
EB began by placing yellow straw on the branch, exclaiming, "it's gold." She then got a funnel and placed a twig in the end of it and said, "maybe we could put this on top of the tree for the star." So, I placed the funnel on top of the "tree."
Next EB found the jumprope and tangled it around the "tree." She said, "these are lights."
EB added more "gold" to the branches as more preschoolers came over to observe and explore the "tree."
I remembered we had bells in the garage and told the preschoolers that I would get them out. As I came out of the garage with the bells, I noticed the preschoolers standing around the "tree," all
singing "Jingle Bells."
I began tying the strings on the bells as I talked to the preschoolers about how they may need to share a bell with a friend, because there were not enough for each of them to hang one. Immediately preschoolers started pairing up, getting excited to work as a team putting the bells on the tree. Some offered help to the younger preschoolers and some just watched.
After all of the bells were put on, we listened to hear if the wind was strong enough to ring the bells. They rang quietly once, then a few of the preschoolers tapped the bells carefully with their fingers to hear the soft ringing.
Once a few of the preschoolers went to find other activities to do, I noticed a pile of rocks and jewels gathered together in the barrel next to the "tree."
IR: "The tree asked for presents."
IO: "No, the fairies brought the presents and they go back into the little rock. And some fairies stay in the bell. The bell fairies. The boy fairies are inside the bells. Over here are the girl fairies and over here are the boy fairies."
IO talked about how the bells sound differently depending on if there are girl fairies inside of them or boy fairies inside of them.
Most of the preschoolers moved onto other explorations and then IR and EB brought a few large concrete bricks over to the barrel and placed them around the bottom of the "tree." IR explained, "it's something to keep the tree from falling over." EB added a few more strands of straw to the tree, exclaiming, "Look, more gold for the tree!" We then left the decorated "tree" for the afternoon.
The following day, our "tree" was still standing tall with all of its leaves and decorations intact. IR made her way to the "tree," adding some final touches.
IR: While digging the end of a funnel into the soil next to the tree, "This was my next idea for the Christmas tree. Adding a different kind of leaf. This is doing it, how funny."
MR came over and exclaimed, "wow Bee, this is really pretty." IR noticed MR and began talking about the items she was adding to the barrel, "special little things, because MR wanted these on the Christmas tree so I said I'd put them on it."
KO came over to see the decorated "tree" and then TS climbed into the barrel to ring a bell at the very top!
The following day, the branch and all of it's decorations were missing from the barrel. The preschoolers had spent three days exploring how a simple branch can turn into a "Christmas tree" with decorations and presents. Then this provocation was gone and new explorations were occurring. Preschoolers explore and manipulate various objects and provocations for as long as they can learn, share, and find new ways to explore them. They then move on to other explorations to keep their imaginations, curiosity, and natural passion to learn alive and constantly moving!