“Children are like tiny flowers; they are varied and need care, but each is beautiful alone and glorious when seen in the community of peers.”---Friedrich Fröbel 1782-1852
What a wonderful week we have had at Kindergarten! There’s no doubt spring has arrived and what a perfect way to celebrate that and the International Kindergarten Holiday by planting an indoor flower garden!
This activity, though reinforcing our spring oriented English language vocabulary is far more profound in that it is a very real way for students to connect with nature, watch the process of a seedling becoming a blooming plant and eventual flower and most importantly learn how to care for something other than themselves on a daily basis to ensure its survival.
As educator, I must say it is rare to see all students completely engrossed and engaged in any particular activity but planting the flower garden provided that lovely rare example!
The true intentions of Kindergarten (and most would argue school in general) is to encourage students to find a deeper sense of meaning in what they do, make intellectual, social and emotional connections to other people and facets of life and become strong independent thinkers. The act of planting and caring for individual flowers in a community garden promotes all of this wonderful growth and I am sure I am not alone when I say I cannot wait to see how the flowers (children?) will bloom in the upcoming days!
As an International Kindergarten Day keepsake for parents and caregivers on Thursday we created a special flower and handprint poem poster unique to each child. This was the first time either set of students had painted with a stencil and it was enjoyed by all. Every student was asked to pick colours of paint and paper that they liked best without regard to how the final product might look; this meant we had some gorgeous and unique poems to display at school.
The poem selected is as follows:
Sometimes you get discouraged
Because I am so small
And always leave my fingerprints
On furniture and walls.
But every day I'm growing -
I'll be grown some day
And all those tiny handprints
Will surely fade away.
So here's a little handprint
Just so you can recall
Exactly how my fingers looked
When I was very small.
by T Lambert Jr
Throughout the week students have continued to practice and use their spring oriented vocabularies as well as share with us during circle time the current weather (it’s nice to talk about something other than snow!) Next week will see us doing more spring oriented projects before moving onto summer oriented vocabulary and activities.
What is International Kindergarten Day?
International Kindergarten day is celebrated by many schools around the world on April 21st or the birthday of Friedrich Froebel or the founder of the concept of Kindergarten. Amongst many other practices still alive in many Kindergartens today like circle time he created and promoted the use of actual gardens in school pedagogies. Here he believed students could connect with nature, learn through tilling the land and find a happiness and contentment through this that connected them to a higher spirituality.
Froebel called play ‘the work of children’ and understood the creativity, imagination, socialization as well as individual thought/actions undertaken during this special time sparked the first embers of learning. Before the advent of Kindergarten as we know it today, childhood was given very little importance. Children were to be seen and not heard, they were largely ignored until they could be useful in domestic tasks or worse yet sent to work in factories. In essence children were regarded as small adults---with inferior intellectual capacities.
Therefore it is with immense gratitude we celebrate International Kindergarten Day.
What an incredible week we have had here at the Kindergarten! Students found themselves incredibly busy and learning and rehearsing for our big Tatar language musical pageant on Friday April 13th.
This pageant like the others required a great deal of team work and so while students were in a real and hypothetical academic sense saying goodbye to winter through music and dance (the theme of the pageant) they also were solidifying their core vocabulary and English language expression skills. Our core vocabulary and class work this week focused on the topic of winter. As is always the case we acquired new words and ideas progressively throughout the week. For students in our younger cohort this was accomplished through modeling of clay snowmen (snow people) and designed unique three dimensional snowflakes. The latter activity provided us with a fun and creative way to review shapes, practice scissor safety and also celebrate uniqueness in work and abilities.
Students in the Kindergarten class designed and took home their own vocabulary flash cards, designed an indivdualised snow person and helped paint the spring sparrows for our pageant. Taking vocabulary flashcards home this week is an experiment of sorts, given we learning a considerable amount of new vocabulary and manners of speech this measure was taken to let those who want to practice at home do so It is so important and special when students can share what they have learned and practice with parents and other caregivers.
A couple of fascinating and wonderful social developments were noted this week. Students in the younger cohort are learning with increasing speed that when it is play time they must put away and/or pick up their toys before moving on to the next thing. It is certain that they have learned the English quite well for: “Please pick that up” “Please put that away.” This might seem like a minor development but acquiring a sense of personal responsibility is a huge social step forward and something to be truly celebrated.
Our older group has been progressively making strides towards sharing and learning how to wait their turn to use class materials or participate in an activity. There is an increasing sense of being ‘fair’ and courteous towards others that was less apparent when we began learning together earlier this year. A fantastic example of this came on Thursday when we divided and painted the black sparrows for our Tatar pageant, students who earlier in the year would have simply grabbed all the birds for themselves shared and took their time painting each bird to the best of their ability.
Our Kindergarten is about more than just learning English---it is about learning, being creative, enjoying being around and socializing with others and most importantly proud of who we are and the culture(s) we come from.
Weeks eleven and twelve found us having to make some adjustments to plans due to an illness related absence on Miss. Samantha's behalf and an upcoming Tatar Language pageant; this being said they have been quite fruitful for students an staff alike!
During the month of April students in both cohorts will be focusing on learning about the four seasons. It has been decided that students will spend roughly a week focusing on each season---however if due to circumstances or if they express a desire to keep learning at a modified pace we can certainly extend our inquiry into May. Especially because Spring appears late in coming to Tataristan this year!
During week eleven and the first half of twelve both cohorts spent took valuable circle time time to review all the material we have covered up to this point. This hurriculean task was made easier by dividing what was covered over a period of four days. As an educator this extra time was invaluable as a means of conducting an informal assessment. While this class (school) does not believe formal testing is necessary for this age group/demographic it is critical that we take the time to make sure students have retained, understand in a meaningful way and can use what they have learned in everyday life. In both classes this means a lot of natural convesation, creative art projects and time devoted solely to indvidual creativity and play (when many educators believe the most true learning occurs.)
Note to parents: the next couple of weeks will find us very busy here as all students will be participating in a Tatar language pageant. Our English language classes will make adjustments. To assist you and your child's fruitful learning I have decided for the first time ever to send home copies of the vocabulary flashcards we use during circle time and a verb/adjective sheet weekly to help your child through what is going to be a vocabulary rich unit of work.