2015-01-19

Honoring Martin Luther King: doing good for our city

 Our school has a tradition of engaging in some kind of service on Martin Luther King day. Sometimes it's difficult for adults to plan an authentic 'way in' for children of all ages to this kind of project. This year, the school is focusing on engagement with the city. The kindergarteners have thought a lot about heroes in the community, and so planned to honor and celebrate the firefighters of station 25, which is on the other side of a forest path from the school.  They decided they wanted to bring medals, a basket of goodies and party hats to the firefighters. They would also like to help with some work around the firehouse, like washing the firetruck, sweeping the floor or helping put out fires.


The children who worked with me on creating the basket and card said:

Dear Firefighters,
“I think you should deserve something.
I think you should have
a medal
a present
a food
Thank you for all of your good work, and for saving the world.
Thank you for saving people’s houses when they’re on fire.
AND
you’re awesome."









plans for the basket of goodies:




Pictures of Kindergarteners helping to put out fires:











2015-01-18

How will we bring joy to the city?


When their first idea didn't work out, teachers Nancy and Kelly were struggling with how to enter the Our Richmond project. Meanwhile,  the children around them where filling the classroom and the studio with airplanes of all kinds. (see more here- sabotpreschool.blogspot.com/final-boarding-call)

When the teachers from another class, the Garden room, shared a story of man downtown who commented that seeing the group of children "gave him the most joy he would have all day", the Meadow room teachers were inspired to flip the question from 'how can we get the children to engage with the city?' to 'how can we invite the city to share the children's joy?' 
Suddenly it seemed possible, if the children were to guide the way. During a morning circle, Meadow room children thought of some things they could make for people in the city, and came to the studio to work on crowns, and to make airplanes.
Here are the messages the children put on the gifts they made:
I LOVE YOU

HAVE A GOOD DAY

I KNOW I DON’T KNOW YOU, BUT I LOVE YOU

BATMAN! YOU ARE AS COOL AS BATMAN!

YOU’RE AS HELPFUL AS HELPFUL CAN BE

YOU ARE VERY NICE

YOU ARE SPECIAL AND SPECIAL AND SPECIAL AND SPECIAL AND SPECIAL AND SPECIAL!

I LOVE YOU. YOU ARE A NICE PERSON IN THE WHOLE WORLD

I LIKE YOU

TO ME, YOU ARE GOOD

HAVE A HAPPY DAY

DEAR STRANGER, I LOVE YOU

DEAR STRANGER, I LIKE YOU

YOU ARE KING OF THE PARK!

HAVE A HAPPY DAY, STRANGER. THIS IS FOR YOU!

Here is what they made...







An interesting question came up while a group was working on the crowns. "But the people we see are going to be strangers, and I'm not supposed to talk to strangers." I'd like to write more about this later. Stay tuned!

2015-01-13

Facing your fears with a birthday hat

A group of children who are four came to the studio to support their friend, who was talking about germs a lot. He seemed both afraid and fascinated with germs and illness, especially throwing up. This came out during block play, play with toy animals, and in drawings and other artwork. So Elaine sent them to the studio to make a game about germs. Maybe they would make germ costumes, they said. I asked them what germs look like. As they talked John mentioned a germ that wore a birthday hat. Maybe they were thinking about the germ book!

You never know what will catch someone's fancy, or what seemingly innocent tidbit will stick around in someone's brain as a scary thing.
Every year teachers in the preschool read this book-

Disgusting-desagradables-detestables-completamente-asquerosos

We Teachers know that certain stories help people to revel in scariness with symbols like Abiyoyo or The Big Bad Wolf. These stories are a way to think about scary things in a safe context. Now we know that the story of the mean, nasty, dirty, downright disgusting germs can be used that way, too! As for the Rainbow room group, they came back later to make another game about germs who go to the beach.