Bean Sprouts!

101_5356 After planting some of the beans, I’ve been impatiently waiting for them to sprout!

101_5493 Finally my impatience had a reward!  Little bean sprouts have emerged from the soil! 🙂

101_5494 The entire process of planting seeds from start to finish is my ideal way of incorporating such a nice concrete science project into our curriculum.  However, sometimes students can’t be present for the entire growing period.  So pictures are always great!  Keeping a record of how the seed grows and changes every couple of days is a good way to keep detailed growth observations.

101_5489 For this science project I will need to construct a climbing apparatus so the bean vines have a place to travel along instead of the short bamboo poles.  I also made sure to wait till they were at this stage to feed them just a little coffee grounds water.  Fertilizing indoor plants that usually live outside is extremely important as we found out with our snap peas and sweet pea flowers. If I remember I will also try beat juice water.  Anything that is organic and natural I prefer using.  After all, food that we grow goes right into our bodies and I want nothing harmful or questionable filtering into my plants.

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With my small marigold plant I also added some coffee grounds water.  I’ve noticed that being in jars I only need to water them every other day or every three days depending.  The green leaves are a bit too light green, so I’m hoping some coffee fertilizer will help them turn a richer shade of green.  Any other helpful hints out there? 🙂

Good luck with all of your gardening adventures this summer!  Share some pictures if you have any!  We would love to see them! 🙂

Heidi Scott, BA & MIT

The Marigold School of Early Learning

 

Father’s Day Cake

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I made a chocolate gluten,diary and nightshade free cake with a white buttercream filling and a coconut sugar egg white frosting.  Since strawberries are still in season, I placed some really sweet ones on the top.

We picked up a few allergy safe pizzas and some fruit juices to share lunch with my family and of course the cake!

I hope you all had a great Father’s Day weekend!

Heidi Scott,  The Marigold School of Early Learning!

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Hydrangea Leaves

101_5411  We grew both small and large marigold flowers indoors this spring.  I love glass jars because we can see the long root system and have such easy visibility as the little seeds sprout and gradually turn into lovely flowers.

Hydrangea Leaf Provocation & Inspiration!

101_5439 As I run across ideas to try out for the summer I was so happy to see my hydrangea bush so full and pretty again this year!  Hydrangeas are so hardy! I thought I’d show you all a picture that captures the beginning buds as they turn into the lovely violet flowers!

101_5428 I set up an inspiration table with leaves  from the tree I forgot what it’s name is and the hydrangea leaves from my bouquets.  When looking at plants I always notice the wide array of green shades, so I put out as many different shades of green crayons as I could find.  I then proceeded to arrange each picture in a different way.  I like to see if a child will notice and comment on the arrangement differences or if the child will simply push it aside and arrange it as they wish.

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Children are free to crayon rub with these leaves because they are rough enough to show all the veins.  They can count the leaves and the veins, trace the leaf or draw it free hand if they are inspired to do so.  They can use each shade of green for whichever method they would like.  Using nature is wonderful for not only the visual appeal, but the exploration of how the leaf is constructed.  Counting comes into play not just with each leaf, but with the crayons too.  Children may also notice the ruffled edges and count each of those as well.

 The word “leaf” is only four letters long and can easily be added to a word wall as another commonly used word in the children’s vocabulary.  Young children already come to preschool with vocabulary they know, so I respect that they can assimilate many, many more words.  I do not expect reading and writing like a kindergarten or first grade aged child, however I believe it is important to expose young minds to our written language. And I have had three year old students in the past who have been able to spell, write and read.  So never put up barriers to a child’s natural capabilities, yet do not push if they are not yet developmentally ready.

Setting up this table I have kept in mind that it is a provocation.  I am trying not to have expectations as to what direction a child could go with this, but I look forward to how each will interpret this “inspirational provocation”.

101_5375 Having large windows has been great because the natural light is so abundant! Please let me know what provocations you have recently set up using nature. 🙂

Heidi Scott, BA & MIT

The Marigold School of Early Learning

 

 

 

Provocations and Emergent Curriculum

101_5351 Provocations are not lessons in which as a Teacher I expect students to immediately engage in.  Provocations are intended to catch a child’s eye, to spark an interest.  That being said, provocations are still concepts I want to teach children.  These concepts are presented in a way that is open and not closed.  Children have room to wonder, question, manipulate, incorporate and eventually construct meaning from either alone or with a fellow classmate.  I do not expect every child to know exactly how to read a provocation.  Sometimes I put out a provocation that I can think of multiple ways of using, yet a child may simply have no interest at that time.  I leave out provocations for the simple fact that on Monday there may be no apparent interest, yet on Tuesday there may be a lot of interest.  Sometimes, as with our own adult minds, children need time to mull over any ideas forming in their sub consciences. 

101_1219 Water color pencils were set out one day with paper yet this child had other ideas.  The pencils became part of a sensory exploration experiment.  I had not intended for this to happen, but I did not stop it from unfolding.  Why? Because there is no harm in a child exploring materials as long as no harm is coming to them, their friends or the environment.  These water color pencils are long cylinder shapes and they roll easily.  As a young child is exploring the concepts of shapes being able to roll materials and feel the different textures and motion from the objects is the very act of constructing knowledge.  I can scaffold this concept by adding more of the same shapes of objects or different shapes to see how this child interprets the knew data.  From watching, listening and paying attention to children’s needs for learning I am able to form curriculum from their emerging interests and needs.  Did I intend for this child to simply roll the water colored pencils?  No, I had the idea of this child drawing.  So this was a pleasant surprise that showed me where this child’s desire for knowledge was coming from.

101_2779 Comparing the size and shape of the mirror with the cork shapes was not something I had originally thought of.  However, this child had a need to test her hypothesis and so she gathered the materials and went through with measuring. and comparing the size of both objects.  Constructing knowledge based on internal interest is more valuable than forcing concepts onto children.  When we take the time to respect young children and set up environments that promote learning, we are allowing children to learn naturally.  The concepts forced onto children through harsh academic environments do not respect children’s intelligence and desire to learn.  I’ve said this many times before, but learning is life.  Children naturally are insatiable learners.  When I listen to the needs of children I can be a support to their desire to learn.  Learning is for understanding and understanding comes with challenges that are attainable at each age and developmental level.  

101_3098 I’ve set up alphabet puzzles as provocations before and no interest was taken.  Then one day interest is strong with these puzzles.  So I can choose to add more tactile letters, picture cards, books, poems or songs to extend the child’s interest.  Emergent curriculum comes directly from what children are doing.  My job is to make sure I really listen, watch and open communication with each child in order for me to support, extend and challenge when appropriate.  This doesn’t mean that children won’t possibly loose interest at some point, but the fact that I value each child’s desire to understand is one of the reasons I love being an Early Childhood Teacher.  I respect and value young minds and want to ensure they have a happy, healthy and developmentally appropriate early start to their long academic careers.

101_1976 If you implement an emergent style of curriculum please share your ideas and experiences.  I would love to learn from you too! 🙂

Heidi Scott, BA & MIT

Jars and Bush Beans

101_5356 With our snap peas finished growing and picked, we will be moving on to bush beans!  I love using jars because as the plant grows the children are able to see the roots and be a part of the whole process from start to finish. 🙂

Another thing about children planting the seeds is that their little hands fit perfectly inside the jars without getting stuck!  My hands are not too big, but I have difficulties getting seeds in the jars.  This year was the first year we planted seeds indoors and were able to see the growing process.  The snap peas were planted in March along with two types of marigold flowers and sweet pea flowers.  The small marigolds are doing great and the larger ones are still growing strong, yet not ready to bloom.  The sweet pea flowers had one lavender blossom and a few more buds, but they did not do as well.  They needed fertilizer badly.

I am excited to plant the beans and see what happens!  Please stay tuned with our blog to watch this process unfold.  Also, let us know what you all are planting this season! 🙂

Heidi Scott, BA & MIT 

Story telling using Blocks!

100_8991 Blocks are one of my favorite teaching materials to have in the classroom.  They are so versatile and will allow children to explore to their heart’s content! Having other handy tools to add to the block play simply enables children to be that much more creative and accepting of knew information.  Using tools to create a car or bus and driving to any destination using much loved blocks, builds story telling skills.

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Story telling skills are the beginnings of writing and reading. The very foundations for these two much needed skills start when children are in the preschool years.  Love for reading comes from many sources, but one for sure source, is blocks!  Using a variety of blocks and other essential materials allow a child to explore creative ideas without any boundaries and puts them on the road to understanding.

100_9067 And while on the road to understanding, young minds can actually formulate stories through the movement of blocks.  Using blocks to form a road that can take you wherever your imagination wants to go.  Often the “road” a child takes arises from their real life experiences, any stories they’ve heard or shows they’ve watched.  When a road of blocks is constructed that child is not only developing pre-readng skills, but adding math with measurement; length and distance.101_1777 (1)

Fairies come in handy when a child decides that movies are in order and we must have friends watch with us. 🙂  In order for this concept to develop there had to be the geo- boards, fairies and blocks in place. With multiple items at a child’s fingertips who knows what direction their stories may take!  Why not combine early math skills with early reading skills?  Why not listen to a child’s words as he/ she formulates ideas aloud through the use of materials designed just for them? 🙂

101_1290 Not all blocks should be built into something recognizable.  Sometimes blocks should stay where a child has placed them.  And as we can see fairies arrived and sat on those blocks emphasizing their positions.  Children have ideas for how they wish to build, story tell and construct.  Sometimes it is important to dump, group, gather, place, plan and build.  All of these things take time and must evolve with the pace of the child’s developing mind and desire.  This is where I need to be patient, something great is happening even though it may just look like a pile of blocks. 

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Constructing a home did happen, with time.  New fairies were added to this home and geo-shapes took on the role of food.  A child’s imagination used skills such as reasoning, measurement, weight, balance, size, shape and not to mention beginning reading concepts to construct a fairy sized home.  I asked questions when I thought the child may need a path to choose, but I found that this child already had a story in mind.100_8693 

Yes, children take their ideas to other parts of the classroom.  The classroom can be a third teacher if it is used and set up in a way that supports all learners.  Making sure drawing tools are varied and available allowed this child to continue with story telling. I don’t like getting in the way of a child’s thinking if I can help it, so if I see they have a plan and it is written in their eyes and their facial expressions, then I step back and watch and wait.  Sometimes it is hard to wait and see what happens, but as I wait, I find that I am needed as a scribe.  

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And we go back to blocks because the story of the “Three Little Pigs” was recreated from a child’s perspective using blocks! Story telling emerged from blocks, so this child delved into dramatic play, and supported this with tools used for mathematical understanding.  Let children play, so each can learn in a natural way and in tern actually be prepared for their elementary years.  Lets not take away “play”.  Life is learning, academics are a part of life.  The essential skills, the building blocks children need in order to learn are the very tools that often times are dismissed by those who may not quite understand their uses.  The picture at the right contains the three pigs and  the wolf on the last house, the brick house.  I know this only because the child told me the story, but otherwise I may have looked at it and thought it was just another structure and nothing special.  Once you think something a child creates isn’t special, look again! 🙂

Tell me of your block adventures!  I would love to read all about them! 🙂

Heidi Scott, BA & MIT  

 

 

Scribble to Symbolic form

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Painting is such a wonderful sensory and artistic experience!  The creamy, shiny and smooth look and feel to the paint draws a strong desire from many young children to explore each color.  

The pictures above are of a three almost four year old child enjoying the process of mixing colors.  After settling on one particular mixture that ended up gray/ brown, a symbolic form appeared.  At first I wasn’t sure what the painting would look like, but in this beginning stage a cat appears!  As much as I wanted to label this a cat, I waited for the child to tell me about her picture and she told me it was a cat.  So I hope you all can see it as clearly as I can. 🙂

As with many artistic creations young children work on, the first stage of the painting is not what it ends up being.  This painting took on many different forms before settling on the final appearance.  However, thanks to cameras I captured a “forever” picture of the cat. 🙂

101_5187 The end result was after many different types of experimentation with color, brush technique and using a paper towel to blot all over.  

If you have any symbolic art forms your children or students have been creating please send me some pictures.  I would love to see them.  Thank you for stopping by! 🙂

Heidi Scott, BA & MIT