Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Doing things the hard way.

I follow a blog written by an alternative preschool teacher in Seattle, Teacher Tom. Just the other day he was writing about how kids sometimes choose to do things the hard way-not the easy way. And that is just what my yellow group did this Tuesday. It began with the hilliest part of our hike. The oldest child in our group chose the “hard” way down the path. He thought it would be fun to roll down the hill instead of walking or running down. After his successful roll down the entire hill, the younger kids one by one laid down in the trail and began to learn how to roll their bodies. They found out it wasn’t easy to keep the roll going. You have to keep adjusting the roll. Your head and arms get in the way. But they kept at it until they were done working on it. My guess is next time we come to this hill they will work on it again and again until they too can roll their way down the whole hill.

A few scant yards later we came to an uphill climb and again the oldest kids decided to go the hard way. By-passing the trail that winds up-they climbed over branches, between the bushes and over logs to get to the trail above. As the eldest child led, one by one they peeled off the trail and began to pick their way up the hill. They got trapped and had to double back, pulled back branches for their friends and got stuck on logs. But they persevered. As each child reached the trail above, they cheered! For themselves and for others. The littlest ones called “Teacher Ann-I need help!” So I helped them by showing them where to put their hands to pull themselves up. How to step around a vine or scramble over the log. I didn't pick them up. Instead I repeatedly told them to “use their hands” and that “dirty hands are great!” To my amazement, kids who had never used their hands for climbing at TOP, who didn't like getting their hands dirty, grabbed mossy branches and pulled themselves up. I think it was because they chose the hard way. It was of their own volition that they ended up on that hill with vines and branches. And it was their adventure alone. All for an exercise they chose themselves.

Did I mention that we also went in and fed the sheep and goat? We compared their coats-which ones were softest and which seemed warmer? During circle time we talked about how to keep our bodies warm and learned a new song. So the kids petted Santa Fe the cat first, then the sheep, then the goats and some even reached over and petted Sunny the Pig. Each animal's coat felt different, but they all keep the animals warm.

The blue group had a fabulous time in the water flood over near the tire swing. There is always a lot happening at TOP!

Rain pants, Boots and your jacket
Rain pants, Boots and your jacket
Put on your hat and then you’ll see
With gloves or mittens you’re as warm as you can be!


PS Information about signing up for the next session: Registration officially begins on February 20th. You will need to call the office to sign up. Just tell them that your child is already enrolled so you have authority to sign up early. That should do it! 425-556-2900.

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