The days have been getting darker earlier, and our daily rhythm has changed. We're spending less time outside, and more time in the classroom.
We've been replacing some of our outdoor time for more projects in the Art Studio. It may seem counter-intuitive, but one way to channel young children's exuberance is to set up quiet, focused art activities. If activities can appeal enough to their senses, then they can be just as satisfying as their "big-body" outdoor play.
In the last few weeks our curriculum has included activities such as: painting with corn cobs, shaking salt onto our paint to watch the crystals absorb the watercolor, and stirring cinnamon, clove, and cardamom into paint to create a seriously olfactory experience. In the words of Dylan, our whole Art Studio, "smelled so spicy!"
As a teacher, I find myself continually learning from these children. Sitting with them at the art table, I watched one child reach over and paint on their neighbors' painting. I opened my mouth to say something, but then remembered what I always remind these "emerging verbal" children to do, which is check their friend's face to see how their friend feels. Both children were smiling, so I asked them, "is it OK to paint on each others' papers?" They both nodded yes! Soon the whole table was transformed into collaborative work. They were reaching across the table to paint on each-other's work, they held hands to feel the paint squish between each other's fingers. They weren't being "silly" or testing limits, they were focused and serious, exploring new ways to use the materials. As always, they're a joy to be with.
Going into the days before Thanksgiving we'll continue our Fall-based activities in the Art Studio. We'll be making popcorn kernel shakers, orange paper pumpkins, and we'll be cooking some applesauce together in the kitchen. As teachers, we'll focus on modeling gratitude and thankfulness to the children, and we'll talk at Circle and lunch time, and throughout the day to introduce these concepts.
Thank you for trusting us to care for your children, thank you for treating us as partners in your important work of child-raising, and thank you for sharing your family with us! I'm grateful for your support.