An Introduction to Symbols
At St. John's it is a tradition that each child chooses a symbol to represent themselves throughout their time here. Symbols help children develop a sense of personal identity. We began the process of choosing our symbols last week. During Morning Meeting, we looked at the messages that Elena and Karen had delivered to children's mailboxes to welcome them each to school. Then, Elena demonstrated that similar to painting, we would use a one stamp at a time process to explore the symbols.
Our First Exploration of Symbols
In the studio, children worked to explore a variety of symbols. Children practiced the one stamp at a time method and carefully explored the available choices for their symbols. Some children were adamant about trying out many different symbols, while some chose to explore only a few.
Our Second Exploration of Symbols
Before our second exploration of symbols, Elena and Karen talked with the children at Morning Meeting about why they had each chosen their symbols. Elena's symbol is a seahorse because she liked the blue color of the stamp, while Karen's is a sea turtle because it is her favorite animal.
Our second exploration of symbols had an intentional focus. This time, children were presented with a curated collection of symbols based on the ones that they had shown preference for during our initial explorations.
As Cal and Ramsey looked on curiously, Ford was the first child to choose his symbol. He looked through his collection, picking up each symbol and saying, "Is this my symbol?" Yeah!" He eventually picked the scallop shell after trying each stamp individually. After choosing, Ford was able to place his symbol in our symbol box for our message center and use his symbol on his cubby bag tag. Seeing ways that the symbols will be used in the classroom inspired more children to choose.
The Symbol Box in Our Message Center