Hello Sprout Families,
We are thrilled to welcome two new Sprouts to our classroom, Tatum and Amila! We recognize that coming to a new learning environment and getting to know new people can be a bit scary, but both new friends have shown great curiosity and courage. We feel so lucky to have them join our community!
This week we will cover mark making, relationship-building through imaginative play, and new classroom routines!
“Mark Making is the broad term used to include all marks that are made visible through manifestation of applied or gestural energy. Mark making helps to communicate and express qualities of light and its invisible energy, and the material, substance, form, volume, and surface of the objects we are drawing.” This definition helps to describe the creations the sprouts are making all around the classroom. This has been something we have been observing over the course of the school year. In order to support this interest we are focusing on providing a variety of outlets and media for the children to express their marks. From painting, crayons and markers, to hopefully some technology and light sources, we will continue to explore various ways of making their mark. We have noticed that the sprouts do not like to draw on a surface that has already been marked upon. Because of this we have found that we are constantly replacing the paper we have set out in the room. We added the chalkboard a few months ago to support the desire to mark make on large surfaces, without having to constantly change out the marked surface for a new clean one. Similarly, we introduced white boards to the classroom. The sprouts are able to create and then erase and create again. We have had a lot of paper donated to the school, so in the upcoming weeks we will be using these materials to cover other surfaces in the classroom to provide different perspectives for the children to continue making their marks.
Also this week, we explored the sand exploration with Ms. Amy. We laid out white paper across a large area of the floor and allowed the children to pour the black sand all across the surface. We added stencils to see if they would be interested in making marks in that way. They started the exploration by pouring the sand onto the stencils, but soon the sand was dispersed across the paper and they used their hands and feet to move the sand around the paper. Some friends added loose parts and pens to the space. Noticing these new materials, the sprouts used the pens and loose parts to move the sand. It was interesting to see the designs these new tools created, in comparison to the marks their hands and feet had created.
Similar to the exploration with Ms. Amy, we noticed lots of mark making by moving the sand and wood chips outside on the playground. Some sprouts used trucks and tractors to push the sand and wood chips which resulted in large tracks across the playground. Other friends used their hands and feet to move the sand and wood chips. Others chose to use sticks to draw in the sand.
Noticing the “tracks” and “paths” the sprouts had been making on the playground, we wanted to explore this inside. Using the large white paper on the floor we painted our feet and walked around the paper. While some noticed the tracks made through our foot prints, others focused more on the sensory component of painting their bodies and sliding around in the paint.
Relationship Building Through Imaginative Play
The Sprouts have been engaging in imaginative play that revolves around relationships. They adopted the roles of “mommy,” “dad,” “son,” and “brother” as they explored pretend scenes as each other’s family members. Many of these scenes related to experiences children are likely encountering at home, such as cooking in the oven and taking care of a baby. They were eager to identify their pretend identities and determine how these identities connected to their playmates. As they explored their spaces they often checked over their shoulder to see if their family members were following them. If they discovered that someone had wandered they would call out to them enthusiastically until they returned.
The close relationships also appeared as children explored other roles. Our “Batman” sought out his “Robin” and the “pirate” wanted his friends to become pirates too. As they transformed into people other than themselves they were determined to connect with others. These connections manifested through common missions, such as escaping a fire, fighting the bad guy, caring for a sick baby, or searching for treasure. When these missions were accomplished the children often celebrated together by exclaiming joyfully.
New Classroom Routines:
Meal times can be a difficult time for young children. The expectation to sit and eat, and especially to eat food that is healthy and good for their bodies, can be a draining task for many children. In order to promote healthy eating habits as well as mindfulness while we eat, we are making sure that we are respecting and appreciating the food that we are eating. Food does so many incredible things for our bodies and it is important that we are teaching our young children the value of good food. To promote respect for our food we have implemented table cloths and will soon be adding cushions for the children to sit on at the low table. It is important that children stay focused on their food and remain at the table. In addition, we will be encouraging the children to take a moment before eating to express gratitude for their food. Having a healthy and positive relationship with food is important for their mental and physical health.
We’ve noticed that the relationship-building imaginative play has involved children adopting the same role over and over again. “Mommy” on one day is “mommy” again the next. Are the children attracted to characters that represent themselves? Is our “mommy” a nurturer at heart? Is our “Batman” drawn to risk-taking and adventure? We find ourselves wondering if these roles are acting as a limiting factor or as a catalyst for children to explore their inner motives. In the coming weeks we’d like to offer opportunities for the Sprouts to enrich their imaginative play through the use of props. We’d also like to guide them in making connections between their pretend worlds and real experiences in their lives.
We have noticed the sprouts preferring to make marks on paper that is fresh and free of other print and marks. Is this because they have been told not to draw on artwork around the house or in restaurants or other places? Is it out of courtesy to the artist or their peers who have created the marks? Is it because they have always been given blank pieces of paper to create upon? As adults we know not to draw over someone’s work and prefer a blank space to create, but is this something innate in children? When we have areas for mark making around the room and the children fill them with marks, they do not return to these areas to create more. It seems as though they consider it complete and have moved on. Besides the white boards and the chalk board, what other ways can we provide blank surfaces without constantly replacing paper?
Have a great weekend!
With love, Ms. Rebekah, Ms. Madison, and Ms. Lala