Sunday, November 20, 2016

light within

Oh the coziness of late fall. As a Floridian it has taken me many years in colder climates to find joy in cooler temperatures and darker skies. Actually, I think it has taken 13 years to be exact. But I do see the warmth in winter now...and a lot of it is found in how we prepare our indoor environment.

An old light projector can add such an inviting glow to the room. Not to mention that block building (in this instance) takes on a whole new dimension!

We notice more children engage at the light table now that morning light no longer fills the classroom.

Sometimes we close the window shade in this area and the glow of the twinkle lights is even more pronounced. We created a covered, cozy fort for children to tuck away into and they bring flashlights in with them!

Our pretend play area has started to change into a welcoming forest, inspired by our weekly forest outings. We started with bare branches, collected during outdoor play, and discussed ways to turn the area into a forest.

Our brainstorming discussion began during circle time...

I first introduced a new Idea Book (we've been having beginning conversations about our brains and thinking of ideas - so this seemed like a natural progression). I showed them my sketch of branches on the pretend play wall and then as children shared their ideas I drew them into the Idea Book. And they did have wonderful ideas, like: painting leaves yellow and adding them to the branches, picking up the real red leaves we saw that morning on the ground to add to the branches, painting a forest, and making a dragon for the forest.

It's always a balance...moving forward is a give and take between the children's ideas and teacher ideas. Sometimes, we lead a bit more and other times the children do. It's a dance. At this point in the school year, modeling the excitement of thinking of ideas as well as the initiative and motivation to carry out ideas is foundational and vital. As the year moves on - the children gain confidence in this space (and the people around them) and their sense of agency becomes inspiring.

How do you fill your world with light during the winter months?

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