Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Scissors, String, Sticks and an old sheet

Concentrating on how to tie the string.
What do you get when you give 10 children under the age of 5 a roll of string, scissors, sticks and a sheet? I've been thinking about this class for awhile.  I wanted to see if we could build a structure or a tipi with the children or what might happen if we tried.  So into my backpack went string, scissors and an old sheet.

At circle time I showed all of the contents of the backpack to the kids.  I asked them what they thought they could do with them in the woods.  There were suggestions of "make a hammock" and "make a fort".  So then we were off to find an area in the forest.  We first explored an old tree stump that is already in the shape of a tipi.  A bunch of the kids went into it and tried it out.  But it wasn't the right size.

 During snack time on a cool log we read a fun story about kids and a wagon.  Just like the wagon we have at TOP!  The wagon became a train and a rocket ship and a truck.  We talked about how the child really used their imagination in the story The Red Wagon.

We hiked all over the park, listening to the rain pelting the leaves (but not us!) and hearing thunder in the distance.  It got really dark for a while-but since we were deep in the forest, we didn't get wet!.

We ended up in the "secret place."  Again, out of the rain.  There on the ground were all of those sticks we gathered 2 weeks ago.  I got out the string, scissors and every child got to cut a piece of string.  As I helped them to place the sticks on the tree to make a shelter-I was very curious to see how they would use the string.  Soon,  almost all of the kids were picking up sticks and tying on the string.  Some tried to tie two sticks together-but for most of the kids the fun was just in practicing wrapping the string, or trying to make a knot or even a bow for one girl who knows how to tie her shoes.

String carefully tied to sticks. 

After a good long time with the string, I got out the  sheet to hang.  But first the kids wanted to play with the sheet.  We put pinecones on the sheet and snapped them high into the air.  Then the kids went under the sheet and played under there while Irena and I made it flap up and down.  Then we hung the sheet on the tree and the kids went into their fort.  It was a lot of fun and I enjoyed watching how the children played with the think in their own environment. 

In the words of Maria Montessori , Education is a natural process carried out by the child and is not acquired by listening to words but by experiences in the environment.”

PS Thank you to Irena, Bo's mom,  for helping out today.  It was a very fun day!

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