Olivia turned 4!!! To celebrate Dan and Mandy came in to share some photos from the past year. They included photos from her 3rd birthday, Christmas, the Easter Egg roll at the White House, her cousin's first communion, a beach trip with the extended family, and Halloween.
Olivia opened her birthday gift made by Palmer, Evelyn, Maren and Emilia.
Olivia walked 4 times around the candle, blew it out and then we sang Happy Birthday.
HAPPY 4th BIRTHDAY OLIVIA!!!
Thank you to Danica, Less Bieligk, and Lizanne for coming to help chop veggies!!!
Quick Note: We were going to have a visit from a team of DC paramedics and/or firefighters today. Unfortunately, they were not able to come because of a higher volume of emergencies elsewhere in the city. Is there anyone who could get us in touch with a an experienced paramedic or firefighter? Even if they are retired or in a new line of work. Thank you.
Olivia's birthday committee!
New Studio Provocations...
In the Reggio Emilia approach, we use the word "provocations" to describe an experience that will provoke children's creativity and thinking, usually through a variety of exciting materials.
One example is a new area for building with cardboard, tape, paper strips, and other diverse 3D objects. With open-ended prompts like this, we hope to allow children to engage with the available tools in whatever way suits their ideas. For instance, Lane made a small umbrella, while Cannon and Ellie focused more on attaching materials to the corrugated cardboard. Ellie has gotten very good at snipping the tape with scissors, so she gave some pieces to her neighbor Lane when needed.
Next up, there's a new provocation where children work within small windows and doors.
At another studio table, there's a provocation where children collage with magazine cutouts. (P.S. We could use parent assistance cutting out images that provoke creativity!) Our plan going forward will be to paint around the images.
As teachers, we have been working towards diversifying the opportunities available in the studio so that no child feels bored or aimless at school. We also want to catch the interest of some children who typically avoid the studio, so that every child gets a well-rounded experience at school.
Now that we've covered how much we value the studio, let's address...
Construction: Why is it important to build in preschool?
Building with blocks and construction materials is an essential part of a child's experience at St. John's. We see the construction area as a place which is incredibly rich with learning possibilities. While a child is building with blocks, the following developmental skills and concepts are being strengthened:
Fletcher: It's a visitor, and it's grandma.
Palmer: Baby Ena's inside.
Oliver: (as he builds the walls up) We need that so none of the furniture can collapse.
Fletcher: The visitor's gonna go inside the house now.
Palmer: Yeah, come in. But she has to climb the staircase. (He searches the furniture basket, retrieves items, and puts some back). We don't need a stool.
Oliver: We do!
Palmer: Where should it go?
Oliver: It should go... right here. (points. Palmer agrees)
Fletcher: I think I found one more lantern.
Palmer: One lamp downstairs... Two on top? (He waits for Oliver's response, then places them close together on the second floor)
Fletcher: The house is done!! That took a lot of building... and build and build and build. We're gonna leave it here for a little bit and then we're gonna knock it down on Friday. We can do that. Is that a deal? (He smiles, touches teacher's cheek happily)
Palmer: What about we should cover the roof here. After I cover this - no, no.
(Fletcher keeps trying to add pink rug but the roof is not done yet. He understands what Palmer is doing and waits excitedly nearby.)
Oliver: (As he is building the roof with Palmer) Two more.
(Fletcher dances and sings with happiness as the roof is completed, and finally tops it off with the pink rug)
Palmer: It's Baby Ena's. It's the giraffe. She's in there, you can't reach into her.
Lane: (Observing their work) She's in the shade.
Palmer: Now let's make a antenna.
Today, we were thrilled to welcome Art Kahn, a fairy house expert. Art enjoys creating fairy houses outside his home near 14th & R. He very generously donated his time and some materials to help the Rainey Room children create fairy houses in glass jars. If you'd like to see more of Art's work, you can follow him on Instagram: @fairygardenonr.
Here are some excerpts from our conversation and question/answer session with Art:
Grace: Are they (fairies) fake or real?
Alexandra: Are they real?
Art: I don't really know. I've been trying to answer that question for many years. All I really know is that it's hard to know if they're real because no one ever sees them because they are so tiny.
Grace: I've seen one!
Art: You've seen one? Wow, because no one else in here has seen one.
Art: Fairies change size. They can fly. Some of them come out at night. Garden fairies dance in the garden at night. What else do you know about fairies?
Evelyn: They use magic.
Art: What is magic?
Grace: Fairy dust.
Emilia: Fairies use fairy dust to make the flowers bloom.
Art: Sometimes they make themselves change into a flower if they want to hide. Which makes it really hard to find them.
Art: Where do fairies live?
Grace: Under dirt.
Oliver: In the fairy house.
Palmer: Why do fairies need mushrooms?
Art: Fairies love mushrooms just because they are so pretty. They're in nature and fairies love everything about nature.
Art: There's lots of different kinds of fairies. Fairies that live in the ground, fairies that live in houses, some live in trees. My fairy garden has a whole bunch of fairies living in trees. I've never seen them but I know they're there because I see things change at night. And there's a door that's a magic door. I think there's a thousand fairies that live in my tree.
Brooke: That reminds me of when we left the jam out for the fairies. Where did the jam go?
Palmer: In the fairies' tummies.
Art: I heard that if fairies eat too much jam or tasty stuff they lose their wings and can't fly for a long time - like a few days. They get sick and lose their magic powers.
Our fairy houses: photographed looking toward the front door (hover on image to know its creator).
And we had a Mystery Reader!!!! Thanks Sarah!
Today is Oliver's birthday and we started our day celebrating with him. Jennifer, Leo, Greta and Fatou joined the class. Oliver showed us his Baby Ena giraffe and her mother, Mama Newland. The class was captivated as Jennifer read one of Oliver's favorite books, "Otis and the Kittens."
Then Oliver opened his present which was made by his birthday committee: Ellie, Wolf M and Evelyn. Finally, he walked around the candle, blew it out and we sang him Happy Birthday.
Jennifer very generously offered to lead an activity. In small groups they melted crayon shavings into wax paper with some fall leaves. They turned out beautifully and are now hanging in our classroom windows.
Happy Birthday Oliver!
More Clay Fairy House Progress...