Let’s get growing! This week we planted seeds and talked a lot about trees. The kids are also getting to know all my favorite tree songs too. We love getting outside, so thank you in advance for always bringing your child’s snow gear to school.
Please read below for a summary of topics in our week.
Trees and Tu B’Shevat. Most of our morning meeting questions this week focused our discussion about trees. We had a picture pass of trees growing in Israel (almond, olive, orange, date and pomegranate), and then went on a walk to look at some Minnesota trees. I acted like I didn’t know what trees were, by pointing to a light pole and a fire hydrant and saying, “Kids, look at this cool tree!” They thought that was hilarious, and then I was able to have them teach me some facts about trees (I’m sneaky that way).
The kids planted two types of bean seeds with cotton balls in clear cups, and we’re going to observe and write about the changes we see over the next few weeks. We learned about capillary action, which is how plants drink from the bottom to the top (a simplified science definition to be sure, but it’s not incorrect), and set up an experiment of some white daisies in different colored water. If we’re lucky, the petals will turn color! We also set up some other growing experiments with carrot tops and lettuce in small bowls of water: maybe they’ll sprout next week.
Letter Rr. I introduced the letter Rr in our meeting, and Rowan, Brooklynn and Zander not only have a R in their names, but they are all placed in different places, which was cool to see and sound out. Evie noticed that we haven’t played our memory game with the weekly letters this year (it’s on my to-do list, but I needed a reminder), and so I will bring out the letter H items and the R items on Friday for choice time.
Small World Play. Every day, there are small toy people and animals in our room for kids to engage in play. This week, I highlighted some forest animals by putting them on a table during morning play with green carpet (grass), some little trees, some tree “cookies”. Somehow, when it’s set up, it’s an invitation to play in new ways for the kids. This table was so popular! The kids get into different roles, and Ms. Emily and I heard owl hoots and wolf howls throughout the room.
Dramatic Play. Ms. Emily and I have been impressed with the self-monitoring of the skaters this week; they really have limited themselves to four at a time with no issues. It continues to be a popular place for kids to move their bodies in acrobatic ways. I have heard work out problems by taking turns and inviting kids to play. For example, Colette wanted to skate but not by herself. Everyone at the time seemed engaged in other things. She asked, “Does anybody want to skate with me?” Jack quickly answered, although he was coloring, “I will!” He put away what he was doing to play with her. I’ve also observed some of the kids with baby dolls there too, but the kids seem to find someone (usually a teacher) to babysit while they skate.
Social/Emotional Skills: SecondStep. Empathy can motivate children to respond to others in a caring way. This week, we focused on the keywords care, kind, and helping to get kids thinking and give them practice in demonstrating helping behaviors and in saying something kind in response to scenarios. This close work in looking at facial expressions, studying a scenario, and talking about different emotions, I believe, is very engaging. I hope that it builds on what you teach about empathy at home to help them to be ready to navigate friendships in kindergarten.
A peek at next week: We will welcome back Seth into our class, and Lucy will turn five years old! We will keep up our care and observations of our seeds (hopefully seedlings this week). We will read and retell the classic tale of The Mitten. In our ice rink, we’ll add some props to play ice hockey. We’ll also learn about the letter Mm.