Today we had a very special visitor and helper spend the morning with us: Will's big brother Max, St. John's class of 2017. Max, who is now in the first grade, requested that on his day off from school he be able to spend the day at St. John's helping the Rainey Room teachers. The teachers were happy to have him (along with Marilou, who stayed behind the scenes) and the children were absolutely thrilled.
An experienced big brother, Max enthusiastically watched and listened as the Rainey Room children showed him all the things they could do in the outdoor classroom. And the Rainey Room children marveled at some of the things that a soon to be seven-year-old could do. They created new games together--including one in which the children chased Max around with pool noodles chanting, "donut!" It was thrilling and hilarious. Everyone loved it. In the classroom, the children showed Max around the Rainey Room, explaining things like the snack system. They built, explored, and played together, and Max was a loving and attentive big brother and helper to all.
At the end of the day, as we rode the elevator down to dismissal, Sally noticed and inquired about Max's necklace. Max explained that the impression on it--a bee--was his symbol at St. John's. Those with older siblings recognized the necklace and understood its significance. The children were awed by the necklace, and by the fact that someday they would have similar tokens of their time at St. John's.
Thanks, Max, for being a great helper and friend today.
Tomorrow is our monthly school maintenance day, so this is our last blog for the week. Have a great weekend!
Austin: They are fossils. Fossils are things from the 20’s.
No, the 60’s. Something from really olden days.
Grace: They came from the ocean.
Rowan: From a museum.
Will: From sharks.
Austin: They did (come from sharks). But Will’s did not.
The children got Will’s shark teeth from our collections shelf and out and laid them next to Austin’s. The children noticed Will’s teeth were black, while Austin’s were lighter and many of Austin’s teeth were bigger than the ones Will collected. Moving forward we will take a closer look at the sets of fossils in small groups to learn what the children understand about the artifacts.
Elle: This looks like a tail
Lulu: This is not a tail, this is a shark tooth.
Sally: This one not sharp.
Will: This one is much sharp. Don’t touch that.
The last two days, we extended our exploration of natural materials by using them with pain and clay. Visitors to the easel found their paintbrushes replaced by natural paintbrushes constructed out of sticks and leaves. They had a great time learning how to manipulate these unusual tools and experimenting with their different effects.
Children also used sticks, stones, leaves, salt, sea glass, and beans to ornament clay pieces. Children took the experience in lots of directions, some making abstract pieces and other making more literal representations. Yesterday, Kian created an airplane with shooters, and Jack responded by making a second plane with a hole where it got shot. Today, several children made birthday cakes for themselves, family, and friends. Because the pieces could not be fired with all the natural materials inside, they photographed their pieces. The textures of the materials and open-ended possibilities gave them lots of opportunity to observe, experiment, and imagine.
The children painted clothes on the wooden figures. Some children selected colors based on their preferences, while others thought about the preferences of the people they were painting. Through conversation and play we have noticed many of the children have a fluid concept of family that is influenced by the continuous presence of individuals in a home setting, including caregivers or close family friends.
Through conversation and play we have noticed many of the children have a fluid concept of family that is influenced by the continuous presence of individuals in a home setting, including caregivers or close family friends.
“I’m getting a sister. I don’t have a sister I just made one. I just wanna get one. Hers gonna be little than me.” Grace
Elle and Louise built an intricate and large home in blocks and used laminated drawings as the characters in the home, having them act out daily routines. In another area of the room, Kian, Rowan and Jack spent an extensive period of time building a long road to drive their cars on, but eventually their cars crashed the road and their blocks were scattered over the floor. They began to drive to their cars over to the house.
Louise: Stop! See the stop sign?
Elle: No cars it’s only for people.
Louise: If you fix it all up, then we will let you in.
Rowan: Okay guys let’s fix the road so we can go in!
[The boys go to work fixing up their road so they can be let into the house while Elle and Louise add stone slabs to their structure]
Louise: Guys build it all! Guys build it all!
Elle: Until you can fix it all up, then we will let you into the magic door.
Our morning began with books featuring different types of families: a penguin with two daddies, a child’s relationship with his grandma and a great grandma, a bird looking for a mommy he never met before. Some concepts were confusing and the children asked the same questions throughout the book as they tried to make sense of things. Everyone noticed the things that were different from their family, but we always came back to the things that they had in common.
Books offer a wonderful opportunity to see through a window into someone else’s life or it can be a mirror that reflects your world or who you are. A mirror is comforting while a window can offer a new perspective and adventure, sparking curiosity and wonder. We hope you will join us at the book fair on Saturday to support St John’s and choose books that serve as windows and mirrors.
We noticed a child colored in one of our blank wooden figurines with a colored pencil and decided we should paint the people so they each look unique. The children learned to make different skin tones, they mix a little bit of red, blue and yellow and then add white to make it lighter. Some of the children painted the people to represent their families, while others focused on their friends. The children were not concerned with creating colors that closely resembled their own skin color, but were more excited at the process of creating and naming their little family. The result is a beautiful array of figurines each unique and each made with love.
Rowan: I mixed brown.
Rachael: How does that look?
Jossie: I’m making a little bit of brownie blue. Look at my color Grace!
Grace: It’s so beautiful!
Today, Will and his mom brought in a bobblehead--the second from their collection at home. Will explained that the figure he shared last Friday was one he had played with as a baby. Today's bobblehead--Ryan Zimmerman--was a gift from his brother Max. Will's bobbleheads are special because of the people, places, and experiences they represent. "Will explained, "I collect them because my brother gets these bobbleheads at the Washington Nationals." The Mazzettis have about ten bobbleheads in their collection, including players from the Nats and the Yankees. The children had a few observations about the bobblehead:
"It sounds like bubble." Sally
"He's weird." Kian
"He looks like a bird." Rowan
Jack and his dad shared some airplanes from Jack’s collection. As Jack told his classmates about some of the different planes in his collection, he also shared stories about why they were special to him. The F-14 Tomcat is one of the Jack’s favorite at the Air and Space Museum, a place he visits frequently with his family. He also like the aircraft carrier and to see “Old Grandad’s airplane, the A-6 Intruder.” The class was so excited about Jack’s planes that he agreed to let everyone play with them during class after he took a photo of the whole fleet. Sally and Sam even helped Jack build an airport. The planes were a hit. Thanks to everyone for sharing your special collections and the stories behind them.
"It's not what you do for your children, but what you have taught them to do for themselves, that will make them successful human beings." Ann Landers
“I’m like a grown up how I take care of my Baby Bear.” Margaret
The children have been taking on more responsibilities in the classroom and we began to discuss the importance of different jobs and responsibilities. Most of the children agreed mommies and daddies’ work is being on the computer, talking on the phone and having lunch. Jobs are important, but they are also ways to show that we care for each other and our space.
“We need someone to grows up seeds.” Will
“Mommy talks on the phone. That is a job. We can talk on our phone.” Louise
“Someone to teaches us how to do things. Like I can teach how to draw a bunny.” Elle
My mommy just takes care of me and gives me hugs. It can be a job like that when somebody is sad.” Jossie
We saw careful observation and deliberate work across many areas and projects in the classroom this week. The children have had many opportunities to think and observe, but we’ve recently seen a new level of patience, persistence, and reflection. This has led to more meaningful explorations and thoughtful discussions. Our patch of grass has been the subject of lots of observation and speculation. The children have watched all week with wonder and awe as it grows taller each day. They have taken great care in touching and watering it, reminding each other to be gentle and to not water it too much. As they’ve watched and guarded the seedlings, they’ve wondered how high it will grow and when we’ll need to trim it.
Mixing paints for the easel, we revisited photos from our first garden walk and talked about the colors we noticed in order to create a garden-inspired palette. The children pointed out different shades of green, but also the pinks and purples of flowers, and the dark reds of brick.
Our collection of crystals has provided lots of opportunities to examine, to discuss, to think critically, and to research. Charlie and Kian did careful observational drawings of the stones, studying their shapes, lines, and texture before using a reference book to classify them.
Elsewhere in the classroom, we used clay to explore the features of crystals and stones. After noticing and describing their appearance, we held them in order to feel their forms and textures, and then we used clay tools to replicate the, and in the process to notice even more.
Since Jossie’s birthday celebration, there’s been a lot of talk about wishing rocks. What makes a good wishing rock? Where do you find them? Can any rock be a wishing rock? Many of our Rainey Room friends believe size matters, as does the texture and how it feels in your hand. The thing that may be most special about wishing rocks—and what sets them apart from other rocks we collect—is that we collect them for our friends and not ourselves. We’ve been thinking about Elle’s upcoming birthday, and other birthdays coming this winter and spring. And we’ve been carefully excavating and collecting wishing rocks for our friends in anticipation of these special events.
by Lisa & Rachael
Pieces of Tucker Room experiences.