Yay for spring! We had some wonderfully warm days that allowed us to take off jackets, socks, and shoes and then coat ourselves in sunscreen. The mud had mostly dried, particularly after we scooped all of the water out of the sandbox on Monday, so we moved on to other activities. We pulled out the buckets and shovels, balls, rakes, and were given several new trucks from Betty Riff. We did a lot of running, digging, kicking balls around, driving trucks and raking up leaves. With lots of energy and excitement as the warm weather arrived, we tried to spend as much time outside as possible.
Rain kept us in one day, so we had fun taking off slippers and socks and walking around on sticky paper and popping bubbles with our fingers and feet.
On Monday we read the story Galimoto about an African boy who goes around his village collecting wire to create a galimoto – a toy vehicle made of wire and other scraps. We looked at photos of some African wire sculptures, then used silver wire, green wire, and pipe cleaners to create our own sculptures with wire.
On Tuesday morning we noticed that our second swallowtail butterfly had emerged from its’ chrysalis. We were excited that the temperatures were warm enough to release it. We watched it closely for a while, but it took it’s time flying away, finally departing later in the afternoon.
We introduced African environments and climates, including the desert, rainforest, and savanna. We discussed the variety of animals that live in Africa, and which habitats they dwell in. We learned that the rainforest is home to gorillas, chimpanzees, monkeys, forest elephants, hippos, okapis, and a multitude of other animals. The savannas are inhabited by lions, giraffes, rhinos, African wild dogs, wildebeest, African elephants, etc. The deserts house scorpions, lizards, snakes, and camels.
We also learned about the large variety of houses that can be found in Africa. We saw many pictures of modern houses made of wood, concrete, or brick, as well as more traditional and primitive huts, rondavels, and tents.
Susan has been teaching us a wonderful Swahili song, called “Muku Famba,” about stopping and thinking before we do something. The children have offered several things that we should think about before doing, such as cutting, crossing the street, etc., so they will begin with “when you are cutting . . . “.
If you hear it at home, these are the lyrics and their translation:
Muku Famba (when you are walking)
Tonga wana mata (think first)
O ku nachimuay cha un ga eetay (there is nothing you can do without)
Tonga wana mata (thinking first)
Clap, clap, clap
At the art table many children selected and painted a shoe box to create an African diorama – their own little piece of Africa. First they decided which habitat to create – a desert, rainforest, or savanna – then painted them accordingly. Throughout the week many children added animals, houses, and trees. Some children will continue to work next week.
Drumming continued to be a popular activity throughout the week, and it was fun to hear children creating rhythms and selecting their favorite items to drum with.
Mancala also continued to be popular.
And the Legos put out on the shelf were also a hot commodity . . .
We took out the parachute on Wednesday and had some fun with parachute games. We bounced Cami the Camel up and down until she flew off, all sat underneath to sing songs, and played Nile Crocodile.
On Thursday we had a special visitor, Debra Chen, come in to speak to us about healthy eating. She shared a plate showing the foods that we should eat with every meal and everyone shared which foods in each category of protein, grains, and fruits and vegetables were their favorites. We learned that these foods have important vitamins and minerals that help keep us strong and healthy so we can continue to grow and use our bodies. Thank you Debra!
For Friday science we read Your Fantastic Elastic Brain and learned all about our brains and what they do. We learned that they control all of the things our bodies do, even those we don’t think about, such as breathing and moving. We learned that the more we practice, the better we get at doing and remembering things because our brains remember and learn. We played “Brian Says” (Simon says) and took turns being the brain instructing everyone what to do.
Some new blocks, a water table, and a great new outside table, purchased with grant money from the Neil and Louise Tillotson fund, arrived and the children helped set them up for next week.