Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Pre-school Learning



I spent the morning with a group of 4 year old children at a pre-school. Their routine was fun and interesting. I forgot how much they have to learn. They lined up to walk inside and once coats were hung, said the Pledge of Allegiance. I was surprised they recited the pledge in unison, it was more difficult to get them to use the correct hand to cover their hearts.

Two boys were assigned the job of dressing the frog on the bulletin board for the day's weather. The class then chose words that describe the day. Because they had spent some time outside they decided the weather was cold. After looking out the window they agreed the day was sunny.  They counted how many days before Thanksgiving or Turkey Day as most of them called it.

The boys and girls were learning to raise their hands to respond to the teacher. I observed this occur approximately 10 times, with about half of the students raising their hand to be called on. They were learning to sit in their chairs and sit in a circle when appropriate. Some students were reluctant when required to change positions from sitting at the table to sitting in a circle. They were allowed to lag, be distracted and then encouraged to join the group.

Feathers and feet from a wild turkey were on display and I read them a story about the life cycle of turkeys. They knew quite a lot about turkeys: turkeys eat bugs and nuts, people hunt them to eat, turkeys come from eggs, and turkeys taste good. They listened intently to my story and were quite ready for snack time.

I also forgot how literal young children can be. When it was time to put on coats to go outside, one student commented, "I don't have a coat, I have a jacket."

Again they practiced forming a line to go outside. They offered suggestions about which activity they chose to participate. As they left, each said a goodbye with "Happy Thanksgiving."

I think I learned as much as they did today. I enjoyed their energy and excitement and found getting back to the basics refreshing.




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