One of the best best best ways to invigorate my own teaching is by visiting other preschool classrooms. I had the privilege of observing a full morning at my colleague Laura's site [the site name and location remains confidential as per the director's request] which is in the San Francisco Bay Area in the beautiful state of California.
Peek through my 'window on learning':
|One student glues the bones of her invented dinosaur to her paper - maybe a long neck? a t-rex? Students had "discovered" bones the day before in their sensory table and this day each child formed their own dinosaur with their findings!|
|Laura works with one dinosaur designer to name and explain his prehistoric discovery.|
|Collaboration at its best when many many hands are in on the formation of this flat block design.|
|Color, shapes, order, sequence, tall, low, and oh-so-organized.|
|This kind of math exploration is complex and intentional. Do YOU think these children have done this before?|
|This kind of work is no accident. Dedicated focus to stack stack stack turn turn turn.|
|Outside writing space under tree, slanted roof, fence-posted mirror and trays of accessible marking tools.|
|This is an over-sized garden planter box that is a dirt-filled construction site today!|
|Nature and more nature, crevices for play, large spaces for play, over, under, far and near. Makes you want to Go Play!|
|The teachers took apart a 'plastic play house' and attached the walls to the fence for dramatic play in the sand box - the red door swings open and the oven on the left pulls forward for all your baking needs! I've never seen this idea before!|
|Planters, huge trees, and of course children working with dirt and more dirt!|
|This huge tree is a favorite for climbing, I was told, and check out the swing attached to the pole through the tree! Love it!|
|Laura has a little meeting with a group in the tire building area - maybe planning a party? solving a debate? talking about their dinosaur inventions?|
|This girl was fascinated with these small gem of fruit from the tree above her. Laura and the girl figured out they were small "white" plums!|
|Approaching these tubes is quite a challenge to balance just right, to lean this way, and have your arms that way - then Let Go! Impressive!|
|This Peg Board worker explained to me how the orange was "going around and around and around" the red stick.|
|When I came back to the Peg Board worker, she had started another "around and around" with blue pegs - and this time with a friend helping!|
|When is the last time YOU laid on your stomach on the carpet, grabbed a sunflower pen and started writing Right There with three pages ready for marking?!!|
It is wondrous to visit another school and live the daily routine as the children navigate their way through what they know is School. Seeing my colleague Laura in action with her students was a gift for myself as she is such a talented, kind and patient educator.Have YOU visited another school lately? It is such a rich professional development - and professional support - experience that allows you a window on learning that would be impossible via blog, article, or video.
BEING THERE amid the life of a school day is priceless.