Habitats, Cozy Corners, and Pajama Day

Posted By on Nov 27, 2019 |

So, one of last week’s forts has evolved into a cozy corner in our toddler room, complete with a low-to-the-ground futon covered with an Elmo sheet. (For some reason, our kiddos love Elmo! They don’t seem to identify as much with the other characters, but they are excited to see Elmo every time he shows up in a book or on a t-shirt. Or a sheet.) Our teachers used the fairy lights they put up last week and transformed the space yet again. Since the teachers are all in pajamas on this half-day before our Thanksgiving holiday, it’s quite a cozy corner, with everyone snuggling before lunch.

Our preschoolers have been discovering animal habitats and have re-used the brown boxes from last week to create habitats. Today, one of our families brought in real bamboo to accessorize the painted-green paper towel tubes — the children’s stuffed panda bears now have a bamboo forest in our preschool room. This ongoing project has been a continuation of a theme on living and non-living things. Based on the children’s interests, the unit veered in the direction of where animals live. Right now, there is a rabbit burrow, a polar bear ice cave, and the bamboo forest in the classroom. Who knows what will be there next week?!

Emergent curriculum can be a tricky thing. Our teachers always have a plan for the week, but we flow from topic to topic based on our kiddos’ interests. Since children are typically process-oriented, the experience of creating these projects is very important. What they look like, not so important. Facilitating a week of group projects that focus on the process, not the product, means that at the end of the week, there probably aren’t any cute theme-related pictures to send home to decorate the refrigerator. But, what do children learn from creating cute pictures for the fridge? How to follow directions, which, granted, is an important skill. Learning how to solve problems and work as a team while designing and constructing a habitat that reflects an animal’s needs and preferences? A lifelong skill in discovery, collaboration, and accomplishment — all things that the founders of our country valued and relied on when they set out to inhabit the new world. So, here’s to discovering new worlds — both the World with a capital W and the little worlds that we create and are thankful for every day.