In the SK classroom, explorations is prime time for creativity and imaginative freedom. This is a time for children to explore ideas, of their own and from peers, work with classroom materials, and apply skills and concepts learned at school and home. Imaginative games like "babies", "button factory", "travel", and most recently "hospital" are a few of the names given by children to these invented role-playing games. Reading, drawing, and painting are a few of the entry level activities involved in explorations but more demanding roles such as doctor, secretary, or pilot become more critical to the play.
This series of three photos show the reorganization and development of an area in the room that has become a center of construction and play. You can see in the most recent picture (furthest right) the artwork hung on the wall, including a red and black sign that proudly reads "MBC Hospital". This hospital play has been ongoing for about two weeks and includes a thorough process of checking in patients at front desk with a secretary, being assessed by a nurse, then (most likely) given an x-ray by a technician, and then finally seen and treated by one of the doctors. Although the diagnosis of many patients (animals included) is "really, really bad", they all eventually heal back to full health.
The timelapse video below documents the construction process of a major structure that was built in our reorganized space. You will notice at the beginning of the video, a child sitting at the table writing and some drawings on the wall in the background. Those are the "blueprints" for the construction project that I required, as the project manager, before anything was constructed. You will also notice the drawings being consulted in the early stages of building. Toward the end, the SK class shared the structure with a few JK students and they added final touches with brick and mortar tools. The construction hats were a nice touch, too. They helped children transform their minds into that of construction workers.
Throughout various learning explorations and investigations, children are inspired to know and do more. Whether it be reading texts and books, watching videos, asking questions, applying new concepts and skills in imaginative play, our students continue to grow in their knowledge and curiosities. While all this learning is happening, relationships continue to exist at the center of child development. This includes relationships between children and their teachers, each other, materials, and the learning environment. True to our values, the "school" environment (classroom, TinkerLab, parks, etc.) fosters relationships between the child and these various other things.
We had a surprise guest this week! A friend of mine and teacher at another school had a day off from his school so he wanted to visit ours. He spent an afternoon with us rearranging the classroom, working with kids during number play, and building Legos in the TinkerLab. This was an excellent opportunity to see how our children respond to a visitor in their learning space and listen to them talk about things they do at school. It was a great to see and makes us want to welcome more guests into our learning spaces!
This site was created by Colin Reynolds as the SK Lead Teacher for the 2014-2015 school year. Stephanie Holdridge was the apprentice teacher for the academic year.. You can contact me via e-mail or follow me on Twitter.