Friday, September 28, 2018

fairies through the seasons

This child donned a fall fairy costume complete with a wand and crown.  As she flitted around the studio singing softly she came up with a wonderful idea, "Hey Angelina, we could make fairywands in the studio for every season." Great idea!  I suggested she draw me a picture of her idea, which she did.  Then we brainstormed the supplies we might need: dowel, leaves, ribbon and silk flowers for fall. On it.
Keep an eye out for this great idea coming to fruition in the studio across the seasons.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Grapes Glorious Grapes

Today BJ joined me in the studio to harvest and juice grapes.  This is a long standing tradition and Children's Garden and this years harvest was INCREDIBLE.  Here are a few pictures from the day:

The meaning of rescue

With all the dramatic play going on I have lots of opportunities to observe the important role that challenges and conflict play in a good story.  These three children were busy rescuing other characters and dolls in the studio.  I asked them what it meant to rescue and here was their answer:

Angelina What does rescue mean?

W                  Rescue means saving someone who is in trouble or something.  It feels like our rescue hands are helping when we rescue.

K We’re rescuing Julietta (Paige’s nanny) because her car got broken and we have to rescue.

W Rescue helps things turn out different. We are rescuers! (Obviously proud)

N So the person rescuing is helping the person who needs rescuing.
K Yea.
(All three of them smiled broadly at me before returning to their rescue.)
A beautiful reminder of the value of dramatic play and overcoming obstacle in the development of confidence and self esteem.

Tension in storytelling

Several years ago, in the studio, children began to explore good guy and bad guy play.  At the time I was very uncomfortable with battle play in general and even more so in the studio. Thankfully the children were such patient teachers.  They taught me the importance of making space for children to wrestle with big issues through play, including issues of conflict and duality.  This week the children reminded me how important tension is in the arc of a story telling. This time the source of that tension wasn't a bad guy but TIME and the urgency of travel.  These three children crafted an elaborate story while working to overcome the challenges of air travel.  Here is a sampling of their words:

D. In our world everyone is a worker.  Got it? Everyone is a worker!
W. Yea workers.  Let’s go to Chicago.
D. Workers get out here! (gathering people) We’re all workers right?  HURRY. we've gotta go or we’re gonna run out of time.
W. No these are the people who are going to Chicago, they aren’t the workers?
D. Okay.  Are these the workers?
W. Yes.
D. Okay we all need to hurry or we’re gonna run out of time!

The energy was hurried and frantic... they were clearly battling the hands of time.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Birdhouses in Cherry Creek

Cherry Creek Framing has partnered with Ronald McDonald house for a fundraiser and family event in the Cherry Creek North community and the theme is BIRDS and birdhouses.
 They invited our children to contribute twenty decorated birdhouses.  Of course we said YES!
The children created their designs using black sharpies and added color using liquid watercolor.  When they were finished and back in their classrooms, I sealed each house with an outdoor acrylic spray.
They were so inspired by the activity that we have decided to order some more birdhouses to hang in the trees around our school.
Each house is truly wonderful.  Their art is currently hanging in a tree at the corner of 3rd and Detroit St.
 If you can stop by to see them please do.  Also, here is some important information about the culminating event:
You can even come see and BUY the BIRDHOUSES embellished by Students and businesses!

Birdhouses will hang from Sunday 9/16- Sunday 9/23 in trees along 2nd and 3rd Avenues in Cherry Creek North
Sunday, September 23, 11-3
Face painting     Balloon Artist
Kids Mani-Pedis         Music
Bird Demonstrations
Street Fairies
Birdhouse decorating
Educational demo by the Audubon Association
Birdhouse auctions
I hope to see you there!

Friday, September 14, 2018

Toddler studio day

The toddlers began painting with me today using small flat brushes and liquid watercolor on cold press watercolor paper.
The liquid water color provides such a vibrant color and it's single step application makes it ideal for young children.  The children were captivated watching colored lines emerge on white paper as they painted.
We worked together on a collaborative piece, focusing on process over product particularly at this time of the year.
Once we'd had enough of painting, the studio moved to the mini atelier outside the toddler classroom.
 The children enjoyed working together, building and making connections.
This young girl was excited when she noticed that the green arc was the same shade of green as her dress.
And this child enjoyed stacking rainbow arcs and joyfully knocking them down before restacking them again.

The wonders of gravity and the joys of discovery are two of the many reasons I look forward to toddler day in the studio.

A shout out to the toddler teachers for all they do to make our days together so wonderful!

A dead squirrel and a learning opportunity

The remains of a squirrel were discovered on the playground this afternoon.  I wish you could have seen the scurry of enthusiasm amongst the teachers.  There was a rush for gloves, a tray and observational drawing materials.  Once the teachers had safely transferred the remains to a viewing tray and arranged the bones in a manner reminiscent of the skeleton's structure, the children joined them to examine their discovery.
Talk about inquisitive!  The XP children hurried to get their science journals and began systematically recording their findings.  As they worked a flurry of conversations, questions and observations ensued.
Once finished the XP teachers gathered materials relating to squirrels and the difference between vertebrates and invertebrates.
They shared resources with the children, pointing out key facts and offering various works and materials that children might choose to extend their research and thinking.
It is such a treat to witness how a love of learning is cultivated by educators and children alike, who remain inspired by life in all its many disguises, even a dead squirrel.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Making discoveries and everyday inspiration

Social Constructivism and Community Governance

One of the things we noticed about dramatic play is an increase in studio VOLUME.  I talked to some of the children about the need to maintain a peaceful environment in the studio, particularly since it is open and centrally located. I didn't have an answer. Play can get noisy and I want to support learning through fun.  These children came up with the brilliant idea to create some signs.
They posted their signs throughout the studio and so far it's been pretty effective.  If there's too much noise we look at the sign and it serves as a reminder to bring down the sound.  GO team!