Back in September, as we began to discuss and revisit the idea of birthday committees and celebrations, the idea of St. John's having a birthday was brought up. The children had some initial thoughts, and we took a trip out to the clay number line to figure out just how old St. John's is.
"Every year somebody has to have a birthday." - Jack, 5.3 years
"Birthdays are only for growing, but buildings don't grow." - Giacomo, 4.9 years
"If you want a building to grow, then you'd have to build it." - Jack
"You don't really grow because when you get to old, you start to shrink." - Jack
"You start getting lower again." - Lochie, 4.11 years
Going to the number line answered a few questions for us:
How many numbers are there?
"24. There's 24." - CC, 4.11 year
So, how old is the school?
"24." - Maxon,
"That's not what I thinked. I thought it was more old than that." - Lochie
So, how old is it going to be?
"25." - George,
As we approach the school's birthday, all classes are beginning to explore the school's birthday: what does it mean?; how old will it be?; how will we celebrate?; what gift(s) will we give?; etc.
After reflecting on our previous conversations from September, we decided to start the conversation by revisiting the age of the school.
During morning meeting, a conversation was started about the school's birthday and age:
“Because it’s been here for lots and lots of years.” - Lochie, 5.2 years
Do you know how many years it’s been here?
“Nope.” - Lochie
“So it must be uh, 25.” - Lochie
How should we celebrate St. John’s birthday?
“I think we should make something for it. Like, make something for it like a present.” - Lochie, 5.2 years
“Like something yummy. Like a cake.” - Jack, 5.7 years
“Schools don’t eat cake.” - Lochie
Schools don’t eat cake, but could the people in the school eat cake?
“Yeah, I think.” - Lochie
“Well, if St. John’s is not alive, why does she have a birthday?” - Elle, 5.0 years
“Well, we already asked that, and because St. John’s has a birthday, is because it has been here for hundreds of years. Because it’s so old. Because it was built, and then it stayed there for that day, and this day, and then another day, and then another day, and then another day, and then another day, and then another day.” - Lochie, 5.2 years
How can St. John’s have a birthday if it’s not alive? Does anyone else have an idea?
“I kind of think the same thing as Lochie. It has been here for millions of years, but they put numbers up so that we don’t have to celebrate anything. They put numbers on the stairs; have you seen that? Why the numbers are there is so that we don’t have to celebrate the school’s birthday because it’s not living. Like I was saying, we just put numbers on the wall, clay numbers, so that everyone doesn’t have to celebrate St. John’s birthday because St. John’s is not a person.” - Jack, 5.7 years
Well, that brings me to another question. Can you celebrate birthdays for something that is not a person?
“Yes. Like animals. My dog has birthdays.” - Elle, 5.0 years
If we were going to celebrate St. John’s birthday, how would we do that?
“I don’t know.” - Jack, 5.7 years
“I don’t know, maybe giving it a present.” - Lochie, 5.2 years
“Like a toy.” - Janie, 4.11 years
“He does not play with toys.” - Elle, 5.0 years
“It’s a her.” - Lochie
Do you guys want to give St. John’s a gift? - Molly
“We can give it clothes.” - Elle
“It would have to be giant.” - Lochie
How big would they have to be?
“Like bigger than the school because it would have to fit onto the school, but we can’t do it that big.” - Lochie
Giacomo talking about St. John’s birthday with Elyse:
“You know how normal kids have birthdays with cakes or other sweets? Will the school have them too?” - Giacomo, 5.1 years
Well, we get to plan the celebration. Tucker, Brown, Rainey, and KW. So, do you think we should have something sweet? - Elyse
“Yes.” - Giacomo
Where are we going to get it from?
“I could buy one from Whole Foods, and I could bring it here, and that could be the treat.” - Giacomo, 5.1 years
What kind of sweet would you buy?
"There’s cakes, cupcakes, mini cupcakes, and a lot of other stuff. I can tell my mom if we can do that.” - Giacomo, 5.1 years
Well, we have to make a plan all together. So, we can take your ideas and share it with Tucker, Rainey, Brown Room, Molly and Audrey, and maybe we can all decide together.
The number line continues
After spending some time looking at the clay number line in the hallway, Giacomo, Maxon, and Lucia worked at the low table with our loose parts, block numbers, number stickers, etc. Giacomo quickly began the process of creating a number line using only the materials. Maxon then added the stickers to indicate the number of materials in each grouping. Lucia then pulled out the rulers to measure how long the new number line would be.
Every year, we have work from the children underneath their official school photos which hang above the mailboxes in our "post office". The work from each class is unique and a wonderful opportunity to work on something "mini".
Top [L to R]: Jane, Giacomo, Nora
2nd row: CC, Maxon, Audrey
3rd row: Violet, Jack, Elle
4th row: George, Lucia, Marley
The tallest structures
We've also had some incredibly tall structures happening in Tucker Room. The children love the opportunity to use the ladder, which they do with incredible confidence, ease, and attention to safety. These structure require a lot of focus on stability and carefully placing the pieces! We also had to rebuild them a few times, but there was a lot of joy in both watching them fall and building them back up.