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Insights from the Intersection of Childhood and Education

Friday, December 16, 2016

Meet Our Macabees

As part of their learning about Chanukah, our Kindergarten students talked about the Macabees who stood up against King Antiochus's decrees that denied the Jews to practice their religion. They discussed what it means to stand up for themselves, their values and principles. The children were very engaged and shared situations when they were brave, or strong, or afraid. It was also great to see how proud they were of the fears they had overcome, and how willing they were to think about whom they could help overcome their fears.

The children created Macabee shields exploring their own fears, courage and bravery.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Manhole Covers - Art at Your Feet

Have you ever stopped and considered manhole covers? No? No worries, most of us haven't. However, when our Afternoon Explorers class of preschoolers took a walk recently around the school's neighborhood of Hyde Park, the kids became interested in manhole covers.

And it turns out, once you actually look, there's a lot to consider. The children noticed that the manholes had different patterns and different words. Do the different patterns mean anything? What is written on them? The class decided to do rubbings of the manhole covers to study them more closely.

Back at school, the children studied the rubbings, noticing patterns, words, making out company names and figuring out what the covers were for. This even prompted the teachers to look up the different company names to learn more about who makes these covers and what goes into them.

The children's rubbings are now on display in the preschool's stairwell and all who pass stop to consider manhole covers! Goes to show that you do not need to travel far to discover interesting, beautiful and intricate things that introduce you to a whole new world - below our feet, no less!

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Preschoolers Learn About Bees

Since it's the bees that bring us the honey for Rosh Hashana, our four-year-old class, the Blue Room, has been studying bees.

For example, the class discussed bee anatomy. The children learned the three body parts: head, thorax and abdomen. They also learned that the bee has two pairs of wings, six legs, two antennae and proboscis. After the discussion each of them captured their knowledge on paper by drawing, using symbolic language.

The children also fashioned their own bee sculptures using model clay:

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Apples Galore Mean Shana Tova!

Our preschool classes are deep into learning about apples because apples mean Rosh Hashana is coming.

The Kindergarteners even went to a local orchard to pick apples. Then they recorded their observations:


The Purple Room, on the other hand, doesn't even have to go to an orchard, they've got their very own apple tree growing in their classroom, and greatest miracle of all: It grows red and green apples!

The Blue Room kids have been exploring apples through art and math. Using the light table, transparencies and red and yellow paint, they explored mixing colors. Then they used stencils to make the outline of an apple, an activity that promotes the development of fine motor skills. The results are these fun "light table apples."

Shana tova!
Wishing everybody a sweet New Year!

Friday, June 3, 2016

Observing Ladybugs

The children in the Green Room had some new, temporary pets: ladybugs! However, they didn't begin their stay as ladybugs, and the kids watched these interesting insects grow and change. They made observations and predictions about what would happen next. They also represented their observations with drawings and sculpture.

The final step was to release the ladybugs in the wild early this week!

Friday, May 6, 2016

The Return of the Butterflies

The butterflies returned!

As part of their study of migration, our first and second grade classes participated in Symbolic Migration, an initiative that had classrooms close to the Monarch butterflies' northern habitats sending class photos and symbolic paper butterflies to classes in Mexico. Now, in the spring, a return mailing of butterflies arrived, containing paper butterflies made by other classes in the U.S.

The children were also thrilled to receive a letter from a class in Mexico to "the dear friends in the north."

They also received a beautiful greeting from another participating school in Marlborough, CT, and are happy to have made these connections through migration.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Exploring Pyramid Building

As the Exodus and Passover are in the air, the Kindergarten class has been learning about ancient Egypt. Culminating this study, the children were asked to build a pyramid with a parent and then bring it to school for a magnificent display.

This project gave the children a chance to recall all they had learned and apply it in their own way. In line with our Reggio Emilia-inspired approach to early childhood education, this project bridges school and family by giving students the opportunity to spend time with their parent while working on this school project.

This project allowed the students to:

  • Display an understanding what a pyramid is
  • Demonstrate ability to represent a pyramid
  • Communicate ideas during the process and share them lateron
  • Choose materials and other details (Decision making)
  • Problem solving during the process of building
  • Be creative
  • Develop confidence and self esteem
  • Develop independence in the learning process
Students also wrote a reflection on the project.

"It was really fun and hard work. We started with cork and then we put glitter, glue and sand." (Gabriel)

"My mom showed me how to do the bottom part. I did mostly the rest. The top marshmallow is green." (Tamar)

"My pyramid is made of sugar cubes. We did layers and slowly built it up. I did the camel and the Nile River all by myself." (Shoshi)