I'm stepping on my soapbox this morning to tell you, if I had to pick one thing that I think is often overlooked in many school curriculums it would be imagination. I think sometimes with all the new regulations and academics that we are required to teach we often forget that the learners in our classroom are children with active imaginations. It is our job as educators to not limit their imagination and to let them think creatively as often as possible. You are only a child once and it should be a time of fantasy, interest and possibility. I do not want to teach at a school where the only thing that matters is a child having academic knowledge but no fun or imagination while acquiring it. I think in early education the most important thing we can do as educators is instill a love for school and learning at a young age and to teach children learning does not happen at the expense of fun.
So without further ado, I will step off my soapbox for the day and tell you about one of the activities we did in my classroom this week.
The activity that started off our week was to paint with Indian corn or flint corn. I really wanted the children to use their senses and explore the process of rolling the corn to spread the paint and to pay attention to the types of lines and textures that it created on the paper.
They did a great job and once the paint was dry the children cut them into individual ears of corn. I then hung them up as corn stalks in our dramatic play area.
So festive for Fall! Love it!
But then something happened...
A bunch of pesky crows appeared in the corn field and the pumpkin patch!!!
The crows appeared while the children were outside on the playground. No one knows quite where they came from or how they appeared inside the classroom... ; ) nevertheless they came. When the children came back to the classroom it was lunch time. After the children had been sitting down for a few minutes one of the children asked why there were birds in the corn field. Another child said those are black birds, another said no those are crows. I said, "Oh no! There are crows in the corn field! They must be trying to eat our corn!" One of the children then told me the birds weren't real. Another child then exclaimed, "but they are going to eat all of our corn!" Another child asked me directly if the birds were real. I told them in my imagination they are real and the conversation really started about how the crows could have flown in through the door when someone opened it, and how they love to eat things that grow on a farm, etc... The children caught on to the game and came up with some great scenarios of how and why the birds were in the classroom. I then asked the children, how can we get rid of the crows? A few children threw out some ideas until one yelled, "we need a scarecrow!" The other children and I agreed that was a great idea!
We brainstormed as a class what materials we would need to build a scarecrow. Pants, a shirt, gloves, a hat, leaves to stuff it and a head is what we decided on in the end. So after rest time I took the children outside to gather the leaves to build our scarecrow.
Before we began I sat the children down outside and read them the story, The Little Old Woman Who Was Not Afraid of Anything by Linda Williams.
If you have never read this story it really is so cute and one of my favorites! The little old woman is walking to her cottage and she comes across different things such as a shirt which shakes, pants that wiggle and a scary pumpkin head. They follow her to her house and try to scare her but she is not afraid of anything so the items are sad. She whispers something to them and the next day they are outside in her corn field and have come together as a scarecrow to scare all the birds away. The children loved the story and enjoyed shaking, wiggling and yelling Boo along with the storyline.
We then got started on making our own scarecrow. Originally, it was just my class that started but soon as the other children in the school came outside this became a community scarecrow that all the children were invited to stuff with leaves.
It came out pretty great and is happily guarding the entrance way into our school. The next day, the crows moved to the other side of our classroom away from the corn and pumpkins! The children were so happy that their idea to make the scarecrow worked.
I was so happy to see the children work together and brainstorm a solution to the problem in a fun, imaginative and hands on way!
Happy Fall everyone! : )