Sunday, November 29, 2015

"We are all attached!"

What is the earth?
How can we see it?
Are we a part of it?
These are the questions that the preschoolers are asking in many different ways every day.  It speaks strongly to their natural desire to become a part of their surroundings, find the places the fit (or don't fit), to discover themselves, and follow their individual paths of development.  It's because of that individuality, we are finding we often have different ideas or answers to the questions we ask about the world we live in.  

One thing we can all agree upon is that we are all connected.  We talk about this a lot through our day in open ended activities which highlight the way we effect others, through building empathy and awareness.  During group there are many stories shared about things the children remember.  One day I brought out a green scarf.  We each held a piece of the edge and we imagined that the scarf represented our world.  We each had a place we lived, where we held on to the scarf.  When we moved the scarf, it made changes across the scarf.  If someone pulled tightly on one side, it made it very tricky to hold on another.
"Let's try something," I suggested.  "Everyone make your place very still, and watch closely.  I am going to create a wave and pass it across the scarf.  Across the world."  Everyone was silent.  I looked at everyone in their eyes with a secret smile.  Then I carefully moved my hands up and down twice and we watched the wave move away from me and move the scarf next to the children sitting across from me.  
"It moved!" they cheered.
"Did you move it?" I asked.
"No! You did!" They all agreed.
We practiced this idea of our movements effecting others a few more times, before everyone began feeling very silly and were ready for the next part of our group time.

The Earth
We continued to explore the earth through reading books, building puzzles and singing songs.  We also shared stories from our own knowledge of what the earth is and looks like.  

We came to a few agreements:

We all live on the Earth
Animals live on the Earth
We are standing on the Earth.
Sometimes it is a planet.  Sometimes it is just the Earth.
It has land and water.
It is round and it spins.
We can see it in pictures or if you use a rocket ship.
Everyone shares the Earth. 

"We are all attaching!"
   In the afternoons outside, art provocations are frequently available which usually involves a large piece of paper.  Collaboration is implied as each child finds a place to begin their work, as space is limited.  One day this week paint was available.  At first each child painted on the paper directly in front of them.  Then one child drew a line to another child's area.  "There!  Now its attached."  This idea caught on quickly, and soon everyone was attaching together with a cheerful chant, "We're attaching! Everyone!  Everyone's attaching!"  Smooth lines of paint connected everyone's separate works together, similar to our game with the scarf earlier in the week.  This idea of connecting and finding ways to attach is a neverending interest to preschoolers.  

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