May 4, 2021 | Kristen Jordan
We are alive with inquiry in The Trees Class right now! Children have been filling themselves up with exploring nature as our journey through spring continues; wondering what is new and exciting in the world around them, both outside and INSIDE.
Each day when we head outside, children notice the grass growing more and the trees changing. They have seen new birds hopping around and many birds have been chirping beautifully outside our windows. Several times each day, we stop to listen to them.
One day last week, Lucien noticed a nest in a tree so we all stopped to take a look. After doing a bit of research and discovery, comparing photos of bird nests and squirrel nests, everyone agreed that it was a squirrel nest!
Back inside the classroom, there is SO much activity happening around nature. The children have sorted many of the sticks and rocks that they have found. (You see, they haven’t all gone home in pockets…)
Children are also developing observational skills and building fine motor muscles, as they use tiny tweezers to pick up spring items that they have collected (it is a very popular activity currently!).
The children have continued to develop the habit of looking really closely as they paint and draw beautiful spring flowers.
Often looking carefully leads us to notice something we’ve never seen before, or brings to mind a question. One day, a child noticed some of the inside parts of the flowers, which led us to a great discussion about bees. There are many questions and much interest around bees!
We have also taken a careful look at the parts of several classroom plants–the roots, leaves, stems, bulbs. Some of our plants were looking unhealthy so we discussed what plants need to grow and then the children helped to replant them. We have continued to observe the plants and have already noticed some new growth!
But, the most exciting thing in our classroom is a new creature: a snail! (I found it on a sidewalk one day last week and brought it in.) The children are fascinated with how it moves, when it hides, and what it does. They are super-excited and curious about the snail, jumping to observe it as often as they possibly can and commenting on what they notice.
They are very inquisitive about the snail and we are beginning to explore how to answer some of their questions. They have suggested ways of finding out answers to their questions:
We have young scientists who know how to do research!
Children are wondering about how the snail functions as well as wanting to know how to take care of it. They are watching, talking about, drawing, painting and generally marveling about the snail!!!
Caring for plants and animals (yes, even a snail!) can help foster empathy and caring, which are very important to social emotional development. Children can begin to develop an understanding of how living things need certain basic things to survive. When children realize that they can have an impact on something by caring for it, it helps them to develop an understanding of how they might impact the world and others around them.