Early Childhood Curriculum Update
Mott Class - Preschool
This September in the Mott Class we focused on celebrating the youngest members of our school community and getting to know our wider school. All of our important work this month revolved around the essential question, “ Who are we and how do we fit in at United Friends?” The Mott Class has explored this question through “listening walk” tours of the school and grounds, creating a collaborative ‘class agreement’, mixed media and watercolor self-portraits, an inquiry into skin color through primitive paint making, measuring ourselves and graphing our eye colors, family photo collages, ‘all about me’ show and shares, a large block model of our school building, and lots of community building/social-emotional class activities.
Within this work, we have paid special attention to the hard questions of early childhood which we will surely explore this whole year: How do we work together? What are kind ways to interact with each other? How do we tell friends they’ve hurt our feelings? How can we tell when we hurt others’ feelings? While prior to age 3 we may see children mimic empathetic actions, it is only at 3 and forward that children truly start to showcase empathy. While students may not grasp empathizing on a large scale, we hope our work in helping them identify and think about how our friends, bugs, and pets might feel will translate long term into awareness and concern for how their actions can impact and affect the world at large. We have worked with the children with mirrors to help recognize different emotions, identify what sad and upset faces can look like, and have modeled language to use with friends when we see these faces. Our book choices this month, All are Welcome, We’re All Different and That’s Ok, Be Kind, How do Dinosaurs Stay Friends, You Can’t Have Too Many Friends’, and Twig have also centered on these themes.
Literacy exposure has extended beyond the great work that the children have done during independent play at our book and writing center. The students were introduced to journals that will be used throughout the year as an emergent writing tool and to Handwriting Without Tears, which will help the children learn to write and develop letter recognition in a developmentally appropriate way. Students also began identifying the first letters of their name, and some worked towards writing their first name. In Math, the children are working with size, shape, sorting and building in our block and science areas, and we have explored measuring and graphing, concepts of size (ordering ourselves from smallest to tallest), patterning, and recognizing numbers.
We’ve also enjoyed a variety of consistent songs and fingerplays throughout our days (Good Morning Song, Tiny Tim, Hickety Pickety, Round and Round Is The Name of The Game, The Ants Go Marching On… to name just a few) all which help support early language development. In cooking, we have taken advantage of our bountiful school garden, and seasonal offerings by making apple banana patterns, kale chips, applesauce, and herb butter. On the playground, we have seen friendships blossom and deep meaningful childhood play emerge. It has been a fantastic month filled with important messes, songs, and joy.
Rustin Class - Kindergarten
The Rustin Class has been very busy. We invited Sarah, Clerk of the Garden Committee, to help us keep our butterfly garden clean and healthy. She taught us about compost and how helpful it is in the garden, and we fed the Monarch Waystation garden with UFS compost. We noticed different insects including Monarchs in the garden and began to explore pollinators. At Jacobsburg State Park, we caught insects and researched them. We also hiked and explored the park, looking for pollinators. We saw lots of pollinators in the meadow at the park.
We began researching how apples grow because we have been cooking a lot with apples. We noticed apples can be called “red” but the skin on the apples is different colors: yellow, red and green! Then we noticed that we are all different colors too! We used paint chips to match those colors to our skin and found out that some people who are called “white” are really “gold” or “tawny” or “leather” colors.
We have started working in our Handwriting Without Tears books and have finished over 10 letters! We are practicing writing our names, identifying the beginning letter sounds in words, naming all the letters in the alphabet, and putting the letters in alphabetical order.
We are also working hard in math, writing numbers 1-5, figuring out patterns, and working on different combinations that make five and ten.
We continue to do messy work like playing with play dough, cornstarch and water, colored water, and lots of paint. We participated in the Climate Strike by walking out of our classroom during math and walking to Richland Meeting!