We had a fantastic first week at Sunnybrook! It was so fun to see our 13 returning friends again, who were excited to be back, and our 11 new friends, who fit right in and quickly acclimated to the classroom.
Despite the clouds and rain, we were grateful to make it outside every day. The children had fun playing catch and kickball, riding bikes, digging in the sandbox, making mud soup, chasing each other around, and working together to find insects and worms, push each other in the car and on bikes, and move the big log.
Our first week was very busy getting into the routine and getting to know the classroom. Returning students were wonderful helpers, giving classroom tours, assisting younger students with their needs, demonstrating how to set up for snack time, guiding them through handwashing, helping to turn the water on in the sink, and sitting with them during group times. Each day during morning meeting we reviewed the daily schedule, so everyone knew what to expect of their day. We sang some fun songs, including “Jump, Jim Joe,” “Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes,” “ABC’s,” “Good Morning,” “You Are My Sunshine,” and “Hickety, Pickety, Bumblebee.” During group gathering at the end of the morning, we discussed classroom expectations, and the children shared how we should behave and treat others and the classroom materials. They shared many ways to be safe, kind, and respectful. We read several stories, including, Geraldine’s Blanket, Inside, Outside, Upside Down, Can I Play, Too?, and Goldilocks and the Three Bears.
For our first art project, the students painted sticks, which we will turn into a group art display for our classroom (except those that went home because they were too precious to part with).
We were very excited to also welcome a monarch caterpillar to our classroom, brought in by a student. After transferring it from its’ jar to the tank, and adding some sticks so it can climb up, we have watched it closely throughout the week. Thursday it climbed up to the top and it spent the next two days attaching itself to the top of the tank. We are anticipating the transformation to chrysalis to happen over the weekend, but are hoping that we may be in time to catch it on Monday.
The water table and the easel were both well used. There were so many paintings, that we ran out of space to dry them! Children also enjoyed working together in dramatic play, which is currently set up as a house/kitchen, where they created many wonderful meals to serve their friends. Playdough, Legos, and puzzles were manipulated and assembled. The blocks became tunnels, roadways, cities, insect homes, and towers, using some rather creative placement and balancing strategies.Returning students returned to some of their favorite activities, and we began to introduce some of the Montessori materials and methods to new students, as they began to orient to the classroom and show interest in items they saw.Friday students enjoyed a quieter day, and we had our first science time. We read, What is a Scientist?, then used our scientific skills to learn about magnets. We charted what we already KNOW about magnets – they stick to things, specifically metal – and what we WANT TO KNOW about magnets – which metals they stick to? So we did an experiment. We took turns choosing items and testing to see if they stuck to the magnet, then sorting them by things that are attracted to magnets, and things that are not. We found that many metals stuck, but not all, and read in a book that magnets attract the metals: iron, nickel, steel, and cobalt.Some students then did a magnetic art project. They taped magnets to the back of a paper, then drew faces and used cut pipe-cleaner pieces as “crazy hair,” which stuck to the magnet.