Snow and ice with friends is nice. We did lots of shoveling, skating around on the ice in our boots, packing snow into snowballs, snow people, and volcanoes, having snowball battles, solving snow track puzzles, and hauling and moving snow from one place to another. The temperatures were just right for being out and enjoying the snow.
We continued our Asian adventures this week with cherry blossom paintings. We used special bamboo and hair brushes to carefully collect and brush paint into stems and cherry blossoms.
We introduced India by exploring some items from India and looking at some photos of India and its’ people. We talked about various methods of transportation used in India then watched a video of vehicles on a street in Mumbai. We even saw tractors driving through! We also watched a video performance by an odissi dancer accompanied by Anoushka Shankar playing the Sitar, a traditional Indian instrument. Susan taught us a very catchy Hindu chant which the children have loved singing and moving to throughout the day. We introduced Mandalas, which are “schematic visual representations of the universe.” We discussed how we each live in a home, a town, a state, a country, a continent, the planet earth, a solar system, a galaxy, and the universe, and how we are each individuals with our own place in the greatness of it all. The children enjoyed coloring the mandalas, which is meant to be a calm, centering activity. We read two stories about/from India; Little Babaji, revised and illustrated by Fred Marcellino from the original story by Helen Bannerman, and Kali and the Rat Snake by Zai Whitaker.The Henrietta and Wolfgang puppets came down for a visit and talked about how they are similar in some ways and how they are different. They shared how they think and feel and respond differently, but how they are still friends and how they can help each other. Henrietta shared some of her strategies for calming down and working through anger, sadness, or frustration by taking deep breaths, taking a break, getting a hug, and using self-talk to change the way she is thinking.
We had a special visitor on Thursday who came to introduce the holiday, Chinese New Year. We learned that Chinese New Year is based on the lunar (moon) calendar, and that it is a time to welcome the new and start fresh. Families clean their homes, gather together and have feasts, and children are given Hongbao (red envelopes) with crisp new money inside. We learned how to use chopsticks to eat with and had lots of fun practicing picking up good luck candies, then our snacks and lunches afterward. Each of the children were gifted with their very own hungboa with a good luck candy inside. Thank you, Debra, for a wonderful lesson, the chopsticks, hungboa, and good luck candy!
For Friday science the children potted their sprouting seeds in soil. We kept them in the clear cups and are hoping that we can continue to observe them as their roots grow down and their stems grow up. We introduced animal classes with the book Let’s Classify Animals, and began to make a chart of characteristics of animals by class. We will continue to more thoroughly study each class of animal over the next several weeks.