You never know where play will take you.
Following the interest of animals and our daily reading GOODNIGHT GORILLA by Peggy Rathmann. The girls had sneaky animals and they were taping them to their bodies so that they couldn't "cause trouble" I suggested that we put them in a ZOO and began taping them to the half wall. We then thought about what we see in zoos and realized that our zoo needed signs.
Our writing practice interested other children who soon joined us for sign making. The children would pick an animal and then we would work together to write the sign.
The emerging writing was seen in many different lights. Some kids felt comfortable having me write the word and they copied. This gave them the letter formations and order and they could then work at their own pace.
Others asked for the spelling verbally but then worked on letter formation themselves.
Still more sounded out and used their own knowledge to create their signs.
The biggest surprise to me was how so many children were eager to write. The had something they wanted said and worked out how to get it said. I enjoy supporting the children as these interests emerge and look forward to more occasions where it just flows into the play.
While participating in these activities the children engaged in several Vermont Early Learning Standards (VELS) including, but not limited to:
Domain 1 (Approaches to Learning), Elements 1 - 3 (Play and exploration, initiative, and problem solving)
Domain 2 (Social/Emotional Learning), Elements 1 - 3 (Emotion and self regulation, self awareness, and relationships)
Domain 4 (Language Development), Elements 1 - 5 (Listening, speaking, and knowledge of language)
Domain 5(Literacy Development), Element 3 (Writing)
I have been teaching for a number of years and it still amazes me that I can offer the children as something as simple as a pumpkin and with absolutely no expectations watch math, art ,science and social skills emerge.
The trick is being open and willing and offering opportunities to expand and be willing to go with the flow.
On Halloween I offered just that. A pumpkin. With no expectations.
Felix and Seamus wanted to cook the seeds.
Gael wanted to crave a jack-o-lantern. He didn't think it was fair that only the kids who were currently playing with the pumpkin pick a face so we survey the other children.
I carved the Pumpkin and then we shared it with our neighbor that evening because she didn't have a Jack-O-Lantern.
These moments are happening every day. Its import to take a look occasionally and realize that it might just look like playing but so much learning is happening.
Vermont Early Learning Standards (VELS) including, but not limited to:
Domain 1 (Approaches to Learning) Elements 1 and 2 (Play and Exploration and Initiative)
Domain 4 (Language Development) Elements 1 - 4 (Speaking/Listening and Social Rules of Language)
Domain 7 (Mathematics) Elements 3-4 (Measurement, Classification, and Data)
Domain 8 (Science) Element 1 (Physical Sciences)