Early Childhood Curriculum Update

October 2019

Mott Class - Preschool

This October in the Mott Classroom we began our inquiry into babies. This project arose after observing a deep level of nurturing family play in the classroom as well as certain questions amongst friends about what is “babyish” and what is not. Our inquiry surrounded a few driving questions: “What are babies, Is being a baby a bad thing, How do babies grow and How do we care for them,” and finally, “What can we do now that we couldn’t do when we were babies?” We began our inquiry by asking our Mott Class friends what they knew about babies and what they wanted to learn about babies. We had a “baby expert” visit to answer a variety of our questions. We transformed our loft area into a baby nursery complete with care checklists, cloth diapers, bottles, and baby blankets. We introduced the class to two new special classroom babies, “Lucretia” and “Mott”, anatomically correct babies that will help us learn how to nurture and care for babies. Children had opportunities to wash and clean our babies, learn swaddling techniques, perfect blanket folding, mash baby food and even engage in a Milk Taste Test. Over the next few months, children will each have a turn to take Lucretia or Mott home for the weekend and teach them new things and showcase newly learned skills .

Throughout the month, we read a variety of literature, both fiction and nonfiction, surrounding topics related to the children’s inquiries, included but not limited to: Before you were Born by Margaret Sheffield, Littles and How They Grow by Kelly Dipucchio, It Takes a Village by Jane Cowen-Fletcher, Hush by Minfong Ho, The Little Red Stroller by Joshua Furst, along with many, many others that were carefully chosen to present concepts of growing in the womb, birth, and the journey from infancy to childhood in developmentally appropriate ways that use factual information and terms and utilize a variety of viewpoints and diverse perspectives.

The inquiry moved forward with a variety of activities and explorations. While observing the end of the growing season, the Mott Class took the opportunity to explore natural dyeing with flowers and vegetables which we used to dye baby wraps. This naturally progressed into questions about other ways babies get around and other ways we move. We created a bunk bed for Lucretia and Mott when, as a community, we decided they needed a cozier place to sleep. We also made babies, out of rice and socks and took these babies outside into a miniature baby “playground” complete with simple machines (pulleys, ramps, and even a zipline). The exploration of simple machines with our rice babies was a wonderful opportunity for our Mott Class Friends to wonder about what “our babies” might want to play with. This simple machine exploration also organically transitioned into an exploration of another simple machine, the wheel and axle, and how they are used in a stroller! After examining and making observational drawings of a stroller, The Mott Class worked together to make a stroller for our class babies out of PipeWorks and also created individual strollers out of cardboard tubes and loose parts.

This month we also had an opportunity to walk to the fire station for a tour and the class had a fantastic field trip to AGA Farms for pumpkin picking. The trip to the farm organically wove our Fall Study back into the classroom and we spent some time exploring the pumpkins, comparing their weight and circumference to our baby dolls, looking at some stories about the growth of a pumpkin, doing some fun fall patterning with leaves, gourds, pinecones and pumpkins, hammering, carving and digging out the insides of pumpkins AND making pumpkin muffins. The month ended with a wonderful Halloween celebration. The Mott Class looks forward to finishing our baby work next month and moving on into our next exploration of “Light.”

Rustin Class - Kindergarten

The Rustin Class study of pollinators extended to studying apples. We visited Bauman’s Apple Butter factory and Hamilton’s Apple Orchard. We also invited our friend Colleen in to help us peel apples and make applesauce. After making the applesauce, we decided to open an “Apple Restaurant” to share our cooking with the school. We have been making apple dips, apple pancakes and eating apple butter on crackers. Next week is the Apple Restaurant debut!

In addition to all of our Discovery Unit study, we have been reading Level A books including Beautiful Butterfly, Hello Chick and We Read. We have learned how to look at the first letter of a word to give us information if we are unsure of the word. We are putting our fingers around the word to show that we know what a word is. We have almost finished writing all the capital letters! We started our daily writing journals and have a lot of great stories about ghosts.

In math, we are studying patterns on the daily calendar including counting leaves, indicating which color comes next and which direction the leaves are pointing. We are also learning about greater and less than and combinations of items that create the number 5. When you come to visit, don’t forget to check out the walls for some amazing art work.