Place Based Preschool Rocks, Sand and Soil

Place Based Preschool

I am thrilled to work with children to expand their experience with two things I am passionate about: nature and creativity. Every session we explore together through play, investigations, art, and stories. The place based model helps children feel a sense of place by connecting and learning about the world around them. That can mean the natural world, their local town, the local bird population, or anything around them. The plan with the preschool sessions is to gather once a season to explore a topic within our “place.” I also enjoy asking the children to interpret what they learn through art (inspired by Reggio Emilia philosophy.) I have so much fun that I want to keep the experience; hence, the blog! The blog includes post from the place based sessions or other ways and ideas to share an appreciation for nature and creativity. Enjoy!

Rocks, Sand and Soil

This fall, we explored rocks, sand and soil.  This topic was inspired by watching some of the kids from last preschool sessions.  They were always drawn to interesting rocks.  I can relate!  This is one of my favorite topics.  We were able to have six  sessions.

Below, I have a brief summary of them all!

1.  Rocks to Sand

We started our first session with a little puppet show featuring boulders, ice, and animals.  The story highlighted the breakdown of stones.  A great poem become our closing for each session.

Rocks into Pebbles

Pebbles into Sand

I really hold

A million rocks, right here in my hand.

After our puppet show we spent some time making our own sand with some mica and shells.  sand

Then, they used their new sand and other stones to create their own poem.rocks into sand

2.  Our Favorite Rocks

I asked the children to collect some rocks they liked during the week.  We have a rock museum in our space.  I asked them to help add to it if they wanted.  I wanted the kids to focus on the details of the rocks and get them talking about their observations.  We played some games to help them see and feel the details of their rocks.  We all had a chance to tell our own stories about our rocks.  Some shared where they found it and why they liked it.  Others shared an experience the rock helped them remember.

Then, I had some fun sharing of my own.  I brought in a big bucket full of rocks.  We had wonderful and exciting time sorting through them.  Like your grandmother’s old button box!rock collectionimageimage

We found a lot of ways to sort the rocks.  I suggested color first, then the children were excited to sort by what they looked like.

“I’m being a cool scientist!”  Nori

“These are all sparkly, where should I put them”

“These all look like shark fins.”  Beck

“This is bumpy.” Cora

“My shirt looks like soil.”

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After our sorting frenzy, I invited the children to arrange them onto a board for a rock collage.  I love the turnout!

 

 

3.  Soil

For this session, I invited the kids to my house to venture into the woods.  The purpose of our investigation today was to gather different types of soil to compare.  We gathered soil from the garden, the compost, the sandbox, and then the woods.

Once we had our last sample, we spent a lot of time talking about what we see in each and how it feels.

“I found some little rocks.”  image

“Why is there a lobster shell in here?”

The next step was to do an experiment.  We made a few simple predictions to see which soil would hold more water.  They did get some ideas about the experiment.  They all agreed that the clay soil would “trap” the water.  It was a little confusing for them that the woods soil didn’t hold any water.  I feel it was good enough for them to make the observation and ask questions.  I didn’t feel we needed to answer all the reasons for the experiment turnout.  It could get to be too much.

It was a cold day; therefore, our art session was less involved.  We did some some creations with wet sand and soil.  I noticed them all want the clay soil because it would stick better.

4.  Types of Rocks

I found the best idea on pinterest (look it up!) to show children the difference between, igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic rocks.  They really were able to get a sense of how these rocks were forms.

imageimage

The basic idea is to use crayon shavings as material.  Then using pressure, layers, and heat create the three types of rocks.  After this experiment, we tried to identify a few rocks from our collection.  The children we able to identify possibilities and were often correct!

When we were done with investigation, I asked the children to try and make their own rock with bakers dough.  They tried to recreate their favorite rock.

 

 

5.  Fossils

This was a fun session.  Kids love fossils!  It was time to tell another story.  I told a story about a river long ago and recreated some of the life that was around it with toys animals.  In the story plants landed in the river.  Then,  sand and soil went over it from erosion and change.  After a long time, the river dried up.  Then, people found the area and discovered some fossils.

I used play dough as part of the sediment.  When the people in the story found the fossils, the play dough had an imprint.  The children were eager to try to create their own fossilized imprints and we spent some time experimenting.

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Of course, I followed this activity up with some real fossils.image
“I can see the eyes on the fish!”

The children did some great observational drawings.

image6.  Rocks we use

For the last session, I wanted to have some fun with rocks.  We enjoyed Matthew Wheelock’s Wall by Frances Ward Weller.  We talked some about the way we use rocks.  Then the children tried to create their own wall.image

After this group project, we simple had some rock fun.  Rock painting and rock sculptures!

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I am looking forward to winter session!

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Place Based Preschool 2013-2014 Dates

Place Based Preschool place based preschool winter 2013 022

I am thrilled to work with children to expand their experience with two things I am passionate about: nature and creativity. Every session we explore together through play, investigations, art, and stories. The place based model helps children feel a sense of place by connecting and learning about the world around them. That can mean the natural world, their local town, the local bird population, or anything around them. The plan with the preschool sessions is to gather once a season to explore a topic within our “place.” I also enjoy asking the children to interpret what they learn through art, play, building, and creativity (inspired by Reggio Emilia philosophy.) I have so much fun that I want to keep the experience; hence, the blog! The blog includes post from the place based sessions or other ways and ideas to share an appreciation for nature and creativity. Enjoy!

place based preschool fall 2012 003

The class is a family experience for 4-6 year old children. We meet every Thursday from 9:30-10:30 for a 4 to 6 week session. Our meeting location is at the Merrymeeting Arts Center or families will be notified of a local natural area (TBD.) Enrollment for each session is appreciated by the week prior to the start of class. Families can register for one session or all three sessions with the instructor (Corie Scribner, coriemelvin@yahoo.com) or by contacting Merrymeeting Arts Center www.merrymeetingartscenter.org

Forms and payment are due the first session of class.

place based preschool 013The topic for each session is always evolving in the spirit of Reggio Emilia; however, the general plan is listed below.

Fall Session: Rocks, Soil, and Sand October 10- November 14 (no class on October 31)

See the posting from this session!

Winter Session:  Night and sky

January 9 – February 13 (no class January 16)

5 sessions for $50

Spring Session: Topic is TBD; however, my latest inspiration may come from local farms.

Place Based Preschool Winter

Tracks

Hello Friends!

I am gearing up for the winter session of the nature and arts based preschool (ages 4 and 5) The next session will start February 25th and will last 4-6 weeks on Thursday mornings from 9:30 to 10:30. Registration can happen through me or Merrymeeting Arts Center (www.merrymeetingartscenter.org)

As I gather resources, I will determine the theme for this session. I am leaning towards Life in the Winter. If you are interested in the class for your child, please give me a sense of their interest via email (coriemelvin@yahoo.com). It always helps the brainstorming.

Enjoy the winter!

 

Place Based Preschool: Texture and Trees

Texture and Trees

For our last session, we brought a lot of the things we learned together.  The pictures below show some of our investigations and creations.  The focus was exploring trees and tree parts and talking about their texture.

place based preschool 019“Is this a seed or a pine cone part?”  Caleb

“How do I pick these up, they break.  I guess they feel breaky!”  Ella

“Can we do art now?”  L.L.place based preschool 026Nick picked some “pricky” needles to create his clay collage.place based preschool 025

place based preschool 021“I have a pokey pine cone.”  Lilla

Place Based Preschool – Life cycle of a tree and trees as habitats.

Place Based Preschool:  Each session we have:  discovery and play stations, group circle, investigations,  art, and closing circle.  We include songs and storytelling into the hour as well.

place based preschool 017In group circle we told a story about a girl and tree growing up.

place based preschool 002Investigate:  We used our tree parts to think about their place in the tree life cycle.  I wish I had the pictures of our rotten log and the kids dissecting them.  Lot’s of enthusiasm:

“Let’s investigate!!!!”  C.P.

“There’s another sow bug in this log!”  N.W.

“Look at all the legs!”  E.R.

“Can I hold that one too?”  N.W.

“Let me see it closer..” L.L.

“Why is it hiding in the hole?”  Corie

“I think it likes the dark.” C.P.

place based preschool 005place based preschool 015Art:  Then, we picked a part to observe and record.  we drew or painted our observations.place based preschool 024Ella noticed the spikes on her twig.  she decided to make them colorful.

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Nick chose a rotten log to paint.  He was intrigued by the mushrooms growing.

place based preschool 012Caleb chose a branch and picked out all the shapes to draw.

Place based preschool – parts of a tree.

Place Based Preschool:  Each session we have:  discovery and play stations, group circle, investigations, art, and closing circle.  We include songs and storytelling into the hour as well.

place based preschool 027

We made ourselves into trees with roots, leaves, trunk and branches.

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Learned a new song…..

Parts of a tree son (  Tune of Wheels on the Bus)

The roots on the trees go

slurp, slurp, slurp

slurp, slurp, slurp

slurp, slurp, slurp.

The roots on the trees go

Slurp, slurp, slurp

All around the town.

Trunks……strong and straight

Bark….protect the tree

Branches….. reach for the sky

Leaves….. make food, food, food

Seeds…. go twirl and plunk

Wind blows the trees…. side to side

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Investigate:  We observed and identified parts of a tree.

“This is bark from that papery tree.”  N.W.

“I remember these leaves with pointy parts.”  L.L.

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Then, we used our observations to create a “Parts of a tree” collage.

“I want mine to look like a tree.”  C.P.

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Place Bases Preschool / Fall

place based preschool fall 2012 016

 

Place Based Preschool

I was thrilled to work with children to expand their experience with two things I am passionate about:  nature and creativity.  Every session we explore together through play, investigations, art, and stories.   The place based model helps children feel a sense of place by connecting and learning about the world around them.  That can mean the natural world, their local town, the local bird population, or anything around them.  The plan with the preschool sessions is to gather once a season to explore a topic within our “place.”  I also enjoy asking the children to interpret what they learn through art.  I have so much fun that I want to keep the experience; hence, the blog!  Enjoy!

Place Based Preschool Fall

The Trees around us

 

 

It was a beautiful day for our first session of the Place Based Preschool.  We started with a classic fall activity.  It is often these simple interactions with the natural world that help them become connected to the great world around them.

place based preschool fall 2012 011

We begin our hike through the woods to find the secret spot just for us!

place based preschool fall 2012 014

We found it!

place based preschool fall 2012 005

Pat Maloney from Project Learning Tree invited the children to investigate the leaves around them.

“My leaf has teeth like me!”  L.L.

place based preschool fall 2012 006

Collections and investigations start.

“I am going to see what dirt is by this tree.”  C.P.

place based preschool fall 2012 009

A close look

“My dirt is sticky!”  E.R.

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We find leaves for our leaf prints.

“This leaf makes a lot of paint.”  C.P.

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Story time:  Mr. Oak has left us some treasures.  Can we find him to say thank you?

“I want to see Mr. Oak too!”  D.L.