Place Based Preschool Winter

Here are a few highlight pictures from our winter session. We met 5 times over the winter to think about the night and sky. We explored the reason for day and night, we had fun exploring aspects of each; stars, moon, constellations, shadows. We started our session by talking about the rotation of the earth.

“Does the earth make a shadow on the moon or just not shine on it? ”

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This session, we were inspired by the stories around constellations. We made up some of our own constellations and stories to go with them. We loved the storytelling so much that we decided to do our own play with shadow puppets.

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 Winter: Bird

Birds in the Winter

This week, we ended our winter session.  Spring had essentially arrived; therefore, I thought we could think about a common symbol of spring and also think about them in winter…. birds!  We used the felt rug to build a bird body for the winter.  We talked about their fat content, scaled feet, and feathers.  We also talked about their behaviors to help them adapt to the cold.  The children were able to pretend to be a bird in the winter.  When we moved to our investigation, the children quickly made observations about birds staying warm in the winter.  Features of the feathers and nest were presented to them.

place based preschool winter 2013 033“That must be a small bird”  Emma

place based preschool winter 2013 032Carol showed the children how the feather have the “zip” feature that helps the strands lock together.

We invited them to become a bird and collect nest making materials outside.  After their investigation, they had a good idea of what they wanted to collect.  The art project was building their own nest.

place based preschool winter 2013 036We used clay for the mud ingredient of a nest.

place based preschool winter 2013 038I also wanted them to complete their imaginative bird play by creating their own egg.  First we observed pictures of wild bird eggs.  I asked the children:   “If you were a bird, what kind of egg would you have?”

I should also mention the fun the children had playing “Bluejays and Juncos”

They each used a container to hide in a designated area outdoors.  The container serves as their nest.  One child is the Bluejay that will want to take their food.  This child counts to 25 and then starts searching for the nest.  The Juncos can run to the food source (parents with beans) and collect 5 beans at a time.  They collect as many as they can in a session to put into their nest.  The whole time they are collecting, the Bluejay is stealing from them but can only take 3 beans at a time.  When the game is finished they count their beans.  Three beans is for one baby chick.  How many were they able to feed?

Place Based Preschool Winter: Life under the Ice

Life under the Ice

When I knew that I was going to do a winter session for the Place Based Preschool, I was immediately inspired by thinking about under the ice.  The safest way to do this investigation in late winter was with a local pond.  We gathered near a nature trail in our town and began our session with some fun games and some review from our woods visit last week.  We found more tracks and the children had some immediate thoughts about them because of our investigation last week.

“I think that animal might have a tail because of that long mark.”  Caleb

place based preschool winter 2013 001Although, the children didn’t always get it right.  Their comments and inquiry were what I was looking for at this stage.  I feel the purpose of this class is to get the kids outside and thinking about the world around them.  Their thinking can go in many ways and I love to see what some children find fascinating and others just want to move on.  As long as they are surrounded by that wonderful natural environment and they are curious, I am happy.

After playing with snowshoes and looking for tracks, I introduced the children to a classic game called “Fox and Geese.”  It is a great way for children to enjoy the snow.  The group worked together to make our playing field.

1.  We used a person in the center and a rope to make a circle with our own tracks.

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2.  We used the rope to divide the circle into 6 equal parts.

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When we finished, we invited parents to play this unique tag game.  The hub (center) is safe and all the children are geese except for one, the fox.  As soon as a goose is tagged by the fox, they turn into the fox.  All children must stay on the tracks made.

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After the game, we were ready to take our walk to a local pond.  A friend was generous to let us visit her pond.  As we walked there, the children spotted some deer tracks.

place based preschool winter 2013 013When we arrived to the pond, we got wet feet on the edge, but the children successfully chopped through the ice and gathered some murky water.

place based preschool winter 2013 021place based preschool winter 2013 025place based preschool winter 2013 023If you decide to do this, the ice will be clear or a bit muddy and there will not be evidence of life immediately.  When the water is brought into a warm house, it feels like spring.  Tiny eggs will hatch and critters will appear.  I explained to the children that it is an experiment.  They may need to collect more than one time.  Luckily, my sample did produce a critter for the children to observe the following week.  Can you see it?place based preschool winter 2013 031I invited the children to think about their observations with an art project.

“How do I make so many legs?”  Nicholas

“I made a circle for the body.”  Ella

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“I hope my water gets one of those things.”  Calebplace based preschool winter 2013 030“Look at the head!”
Emma

Life in the Woods

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!

Life in the Woods

We met in our familiar spot in local woods.  I think I even heard someone inquire about Mr. Oak from our fall session!

place based preschool winter 2013 001Here we are pretending to be different active animals in the forest.  A porcupine waddling, a fox walking in a straight line, or a rabbit hopping.

place based preschool winter 2013 006We started our investigation looking for snow fleas (spring tails.)  This followed the springtail story the children heard from Corie.  The story highlighted the way they move through the snow.

place based preschool winter 2013 004During our search, we ended up finding more signs of other animals.  Scat and some tracks.

“Why are there so many animal things in this spot?”  E.B.

“That animal hops!”  N.W.

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We decided this could be a tunnel made from a mouse.

place based preschool winter 2013 013After our investigation, Carol and Corie invited the children to make up their own story in the woods on a small wood mural.  Some children had immediate ideas and some wanted to draw things they have seen in woods at home.

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Place Based Preschool Winter 1-Animal Adaptations

place based preschool winter 2013 014I 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!

place based preschool winter 2013 015The children arrived for our next session that is centered around “Life in the Winter”

They enjoyed some of the centers as they got to know each

other:  snow table with animals and tracks, light table, snowflakes, books, etc.

“Let’s pretend that the moose is walking through the woods.”  Caleb

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“Let’s make the snowflake with colors.”  E.B.

place based preschool winter 2013 017Then we learned about animal adaptations with the help of Friends of Merrymeeting Bay.  This is the migration circle where she wears a backpack to symbolize migration.  Others had  a down jacket to symbolize active animals, a pillow for hibernators, and an alarm clock for dormant animals.

place based preschool winter 2013 019Our investigation begins with pelts, stuffed animals, and etc. from Friends of Merrymeeting Bay.

place based preschool winter 2013 020place based preschool winter 2013 021The children were invited to sketch the animals and decide what is their most important body part to help them in the winter or survival.

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