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Insights from the Intersection of Childhood and Education

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)

Friday, April 15, 2016

A Win-Win: Middle Schoolers Helping Out in the Preschool

What to do with three sporting young fellows for whom one particular class in Middle School is simply not working? There is study group, of course, but that does not provide for much interaction, nor is it a classroom experience. Instead, the idea was born (and they were in on this) to put them to "work" in the preschool.

We are happy to report that this scheme has been working splendidly. These 7th/8th graders enjoy working with the younger kids. It gives them the opportunity to shine in a different way and to employ some of their abilities and qualities that don't come through in other school situations.

It's turned out to be a win-win for all involved because the preschool teachers love the extra help, and of course the preschoolers love the extra attention from "the big guys."

Friday, April 8, 2016

String and Yarn Self-Portraits

Making self-portraits is one of the great ways for children to explore and develop different techniques. Each month the Kindergarten teachers have tried to set up objectives that will help the children strengthen their skills in all the learning domains.

For March and April, the children worked with their previously taken photos but used string and yarn to fill in their face and features.

The objectives of this iteration of the self-portrait project were:

1. Having the children use their observation skills to choose the nearest shade of string to represent their skin, hair, eyes and clothes.

2. Enhancing fine motor skills by using the tip of their fingers to manipulate the string and fill in the proper areas.

3. Working on eye-hand coordination.

Teachers' reflection: Although a bit of a challenging task both for the children and the teacher, it was well worth it to reach these beautiful results. The children approached the project with enthusiasm and willingness. They displayed great perseverance and not even one mentioned that it was hard or wanted to stop in the middle. As for the teachers, this work required working with individuals or pairs to offer guidance, direction and support as well as to develop a conversation throughout the process. Overall, the teachers are very pleased with these newest self-portraits and proud of the children's effort.

The children also got to reflect on the process. Said Golda, creator of the above work: "I liked making this because it was fun and it was a little bit hard but it was fun."

Deborah: "It took me a long time but I think it is very nice."