Dear Prep 3.1 parents,
Despite the fact that this week has been shorter what we are used to, there have been many opportunities for shared experiences and subsequently learning.
Every week ELC teachers take it in turns to plan for outdoor provocations with different purposes in mind, in order to elicit thinking and the development of particular skills. This week Ms. Che’te placed floats with varied shapes and colours for the children to play with and interestingly the children organised them into trampolines. Children experimented with different motions such as hopping, jumping and skipping from one float to the other. While some students made connections between how the floats felt (i.e. ‘it’s wobbly’; EAL learners were seen squatting and uttering ‘rabbit’ to express their experience and understanding) other students made links to the colours and shapes of the floats (i.e. ‘they look like rainbows’ or ‘they are triangles’). All in all, this provocation promoted the development of students self-management skills such as gross-motor and spatial awareness – invaluable skills for the growth and development of our students in early childhood.
Furthermore, in our classroom we have begun to unpack our unit of inquiry of How We Express Ourselves. One of the essential questions I asked the students this week was about the ways we can express ourselves and although that appeared to be too broad of a question, it gave us the was perfect window to explore other aspects that would ultimately takes us back to the transdisciplinary theme and its overarching concepts of form, function and reflection. Having known that so many of the students enjoy our music and movement sessions, I decided to play a segment of a ballet video to invite further discussion. Many of the students were able to come to the conclusion that the ballerina was dancing because there were different steps to the way she was expressing herself that they were familiar with like: hopping, being on tip-toes and doing the splits. Although the majority of the students embraced this provocation and tried and replicate the dance steps, Bella Lhamo took the ‘risk’ to put on ballerina shoes and demonstrate to her peers how ballerinas performed. The students also agreed that the ballerina was happy because she never stopped smiling!
Another provocation that was set in the classroom this week, was an African mask that was purposely placed in one of our classroom’s shared spaced. On Wednesday some students noticed the mask and quickly became curious about this particular object. During our morning meeting the students took it in turns to look closely at the mask, and many of them tried it on. The students were encouraged to notice what they noticed and how the mask made the feel. Many were intrigued by the ‘hair’, its colour and material, until Devansh put forward the thought-provoking question of: ‘Who made it?’. This wondering elevated the experience to another level, as students tried to reason with who could have possible made the mask. The students were quick to ask if either myself or Ms. Joana had made the mask, but once they found out we hadn’t the were ‘thirsty’ for the answer! So Molly suggested we asked the teachers in ELC if they had made the mask, and whilst our small research of going around the ELC and asking teachers if they had created the mask yield no definite answers, it made the children more determined to find the answer to this pressing question. Sarah went further to suggest we ask Mr. Antonio, clearly extending her connections to other adults in our immediate context. Throughout this experience students displayed high levels of motivation and they were free to make their own connections which in turn kept them engaged and using a language of collaboration. Next week we will set on our research expedition to seeking the answer to this very exciting riddle! However, this investigation is also the perfect opportunity to involve you as parents in our learning, so I’d like to take this opportunity to get you to ask your child about their wonderings and how we might set to research who made the mask. Do you have any ideas you’d like to share that can add to this inquiry? If so feel free to email me your suggestions based on the discussion you may chose to have with your child about this particular investigation. Do you have a book at home or know of a video that can trigger further thinking and deepen students understanding about this question? Remember, we don’t want to give students the answer, but lead them possible answers. The idea is to model thinking and research skills to promote agentic learning and making students learning visible as they strive to become autonomous learner. The focus is all about the process and the dialogue inherent to it – not the final product!
From myself and Ms. Joana,
Enjoy a ‘creative’ weekend!