Showing posts from January, 2015

Honoring Martin Luther King: doing good for our city

Our school has a tradition of engaging in some kind of service on Martin Luther King day. Sometimes it's difficult for adults to plan an authentic 'way in' for children of all ages to this kind of project. This year, the school is focusing on engagement with the city. The kindergarteners have thought a lot about heroes in the community, and so planned to honor and celebrate the firefighters of station 25, which is on the other side of a forest path from the school.  They decided they wanted to bring medals, a basket of goodies and party hats to the firefighters. They would also like to help with some work around the firehouse, like washing the firetruck, sweeping the floor or helping put out fires.

The children who worked with me on creating the basket and card said:

Dear Firefighters,
“I think you should deserve something.
I think you should have
a medal
a present
a food
Thank you for all of your good work, and for saving the world.
Thank you for saving people’s houses w…

How will we bring joy to the city?

When their first idea didn't work out, teachers Nancy and Kelly were struggling with how to enter the Our Richmond project. Meanwhile,  the children around them where filling the classroom and the studio with airplanes of all kinds. (see more here-
When the teachers from another class, the Garden room, shared a story of man downtown who commented that seeing the group of children "gave him the most joy he would have all day", the Meadow room teachers were inspired to flip the question from 'how can we get the children to engage with the city?' to 'how can we invite the city to share the children's joy?'  Suddenly it seemed possible, if the children were to guide the way. During a morning circle, Meadow room children thought of some things they could make for people in the city, and came to the studio to work on crowns, and to make airplanes. Here are the messages the children put on the gifts they made…

Facing your fears with a birthday hat

A group of children who are four came to the studio to support their friend, who was talking about germs a lot. He seemed both afraid and fascinated with germs and illness, especially throwing up. This came out during block play, play with toy animals, and in drawings and other artwork. So Elaine sent them to the studio to make a game about germs. Maybe they would make germ costumes, they said. I asked them what germs look like. As they talked John mentioned a germ that wore a birthday hat. Maybe they were thinking about the germ book!
You never know what will catch someone's fancy, or what seemingly innocent tidbit will stick around in someone's brain as a scary thing.
Every year teachers in the preschool read this book-


We Teachers know that certain stories help people to revel in scariness with symbols like Abiyoyo or The Big Bad Wolf. These stories are a way to think about scary things in a safe context. Now we …