The best part of my day last week was hearing the above quote from the children. It actually is what gave me the idea for this blog. We spend so much time trying to make children fall into the same box and hit milestones with their peers that we forget to stress this thought process. I am so so glad that all my weird has helped them to see something so important and to have a conversation during lunch about being different means that something is going right in my classroom.
It important that this be stressed when you are having them do art projects. Some children get stuck on having their art projects look the same as an example or the same as their friends art projects. Many of the art projects we have been doing with Mother Goose Time have encouraged creativity and the ability for children to think for themselves. As they begin to perfect their motor skills with cutting and manipulating the materials alone they build the confidence to ask for different materials. Several of the activities we have been doing this month have encouraged the children to expand what they think an art project should look like.
This month we have been working on baby animals with Mother Goose Time. The art projects have had many parts to them and it has been hard to maintain a hands off approach as some of the children struggled to use the pieces in their art work. But it was a success! They worked very hard and made the projects their own with stories. I have played around with the idea of writing down the stories of their projects to give to their parents. I may try it out soon. The problem with this maybe that I am taking away their ability to tell their parents themselves. Telling the story out loud is an important skill. Which is why I have show and tell at the end of every week. I want them to practice using words as their vocabulary expands every day.
Another way that they are showing their differences would be in the way they use the toys. Every month I get a toybox from mother goose time and switch out the toys. Some of these toys have specific uses. I try and refrain from telling them how to use the toy at first so that they have some true exploration and figure it out for themselves. This month we got the nesting blocks. As the days have gone by they have been using the block to pretend cook (despite the cooking toys we have). They have been used to hide dinosaurs and they have been used to help build a town with the trains and other blocks. These toys have so many possibilities that it has been wonderful watching as they create the things we have learned during our various sit down times.
I think the fact that we have learning about the different ways baby animals live and need their mothers has made them pay attention to the way they need the special people in their lives. They have remarked on how they are taken care of and how it is different from the way their mothers take care of them. They also have used the toys to play vet (without me setting up the area) and have worked on being gentle. These are the types of messages you hope to get across during lessons but you never really know until they have free play and can work out and process the information themselves.