Spring 2014 Place Based Preschool

This spring, I am looking forward to offering a 5 week session. The topic is titled Wild About Water!
We will be exploring states of water, the water cycle, and bodies of water. The class is geared toward 4 to 6 year old children and includes nature based activities, art, storytelling, and songs. Families enjoy their time together while exploring a nature based topic.

This session will run 5 weeks on Thursday mornings from 9:30 to 10:30 at the Merrymeeting Arts Center (MAC on:

May 1st
May 15th
May 22nd
May 29th
June 5th

The cost of the course is $50 per child.

To register call the Merrymeeting Arts Center or contact Corie Scribner at 207-749-5410 or coriemelvin@yahoo.com.

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Place Based Preschool 2013-2014 Dates

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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!

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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 – In and Around the Pond ….again!

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 this 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!

In and Around the Pond

I have already posted about our first three session for spring.  This post will reflect the last three sessions.

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I asked the families to gather at my house for another day in the field.  Through the woods, there is a marshy section of our local river and the woods are thriving with salamanders.  It was a perfect opportunity to talk about their similarities and differences to frogs and lizards.  During circle, we use plastic models of salamanders to think about their body parts.  Salamanders have 4 toes in front and 5 toes on back.  I used a oil covered plastic bag to simulate salamander and frog skin and we compared it to an onion mesh bag that simulated lizard skin.  After our comparisons, I coached the children on the respect needed while investigating live salamanders.  We pretended to find them under logs and hold them in our hand (preferably on a leave.)    Then, we went into the woods for our investigation!

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The children worked with the teachers and parents to find the habitats of the salamander.  We found several and many discoveries along the way!

“He likes holes!”  Caleb

“I think I see five toes!”  Althea

“They crawl fast.”  Nick

It was hard to pull them away from this investigation, but we made our way to the outdoor classroom area to start our reflection and art.

imageI invited the children to talk about what they noticed on the salamanders they found and I then shared a variety of pictures of different types of salamanders.  They noticed the stripes, spots, and colors.  I asked them if they would like to create their own salamander.  This project reflected their creativity and their learning from investigations.  They used their knowledge to create the shape of the body and then they loved imagining their own specially designed salamander.

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“I want spots”  Ella

“My salamander’s name is Sara Sweetheart.”  L.L.

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image“Mine will be a rainbow salamander.”  Althea

And Finally…….

Our last  session was spent at a local school that had a perfect environment to show the children another type of wetland and to showcase a vernal pool (temporary pool of water.)

The school has a stream on the grounds and the fourth graders are part the The Stream Team.  They have learned about the habitats around the stream through the course of the year.  I invited them to show the children around.

During circle, I used a plastic tub, brown cloth and water to simulate a vernal pool and how the water evaporates or sinks into the ground.  Then, I was able to show them an area that use to be filled with water, but still has the wetland vegetation.  The children remembered cattails from our pond plants collage project in an earlier session.

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After circle, the fourth graders took the children on a tour of local stream habitats.  They found tadpoles, water striders, red winged blackbirds, and a killdeer bird nest with a protective mother.

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Not the greatest picture… but you get the idea.

“Why is it on the ground?”  Emma

The children noticed the behaviors of the mother bird and were excited to get a glimpse of the spotted eggs.

After our investigation, I invited the children to create their final art project while thinking about the habitats of their previous clay creations.  They created their habitat on the collage.

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“Here is a log for the salamander, pond for the tadpoles and I gave them eyes.”

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Some children included plants to represent the vegetation.

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I supplied googly eyes to represent eggs.  Some children used them as eyes and others liked the egg idea.

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We finished our last session with some songs and a special hug and good-bye from Mr. Salamander.

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Happy Kindergarten gang!

Place Based Preschool – In and Around the Pond

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!

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This spring, I have been exploring the local ponds with the group. The hope is to give the children an appreciation of the diversity of life within the local ponds and vernal pools. This post reflects three sessions we have had this spring. As mentioned, we learned through both investigations and art. I also want to point out that in the spirit of emergent curriculum, I try to collect their thinking and comments along the way. This helps inform the next steps in our learning and thinking. You will see the comments below. It seems the pictures tell the story best.

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“What is that stuff around the black?” L.L.

During the first session, I was lucky enough to fine some frog eggs! The children were able to investigate this process. It is amazing to look through the jelly-like substance. We spent our time this session thinking about the eggs and tadpoles. I used a boiled egg to demonstrate the different parts of the egg. Then, we used cooled quinoa to talk about the feel of frog eggs.

After our investigation, the children observed the eggs and tadpoles to make clay models.

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“How do I make the little tale part?” E.R.

The next time we met, we enjoyed a story that helped to demonstrate the variety of life and plants around the pond. There are many books out there that could be modified for this purpose. We made a quick mural of plants and animals.  In the future, we will invite them to act out the story in the pond and become the creatures.

We started our investigation by thinking about water striders.

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“That one is too heavy for it.”  Ella

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Carol and I demonstrated the water tension a water strider uses to stay on top of the water. The children experimented with water tension with a paper clip. This is an easy experiment and the children can see the dent from the clip. It is a great extension to a sink or float experiment.

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“Why is it called a cattail?”  L.L.

“What is this fluffy stuff?”  Nick

Our investigations moved to exploration of plants typical of a wetland area.  We found moss, cattails, pussy-willows, and several tall grasses.  The children were immediately drawn to the portion of each plant that serves as the seed.  We had an impromptu lesson about types of seeds, just from their questions.  After their investigation, we started our creations: pond collages.

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“It is like we are painting with fuss.”  Emma

In the next session, we went out on the field!  We are lucky to have access to a local pond that is thriving with pond life.  We will be adding to our above collage based on our pond life observations.  Before we left, we talked to the children about proper handling of the life in the pond.  It is important to have wet hands to not hurt the skin.  We also talked about holding them close to the ground so they do not get hurt as they hop away.  As always, children should wash their hands after handling wildlife and before they eat.

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“Where is that picture of the strider?”  Emma

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“How big is it!!!!” Althea

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“Does he eat the tadpoles?”  Caleb

One of the best observations, I have had of the children after several sessions it their attention to the detail while our exploring.  They are truly curious learners.

Place Based Preschool: Spring Dates

Place Based Preschool: Spring

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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. The program is for 4 and 5 year old children. Enjoy!

Spring Session:

This spring we will have a six week session and meet every Thursday from 9:30-10:30 from May 2nd to June 7th. The class can hold approximately 8 children. We will meet in our classroom area at the Merrymeeting Arts Center or in a local natural area (TBD.) Enrollment is appreciated by April 30th. Families can register with the instructor or by contacting Merrymeeting Arts Center ( www.merrymeetingartscenter.org )

The topic for the spring session is still evolving; however, if you want a taste of our activity please feel free to peruse this blog.