My previous post was ‘the night before’ opening school in our newly renovated building. Here is what happened :
First things first- we opened ‘the box’, the one children packed up with their treasures so they could be part of the move, too. I’m not sure if anyone remembered what was packed away, but the children were thrilled when the box was opened. It was like finding a long lost friend.
Inside there were:
- Two puzzles
- One set of yoga cards
- Two rocks
- One block
- One community block with a Groton Community School photo
- Two magnifying glasses, each very different
- Six vehicles
- One large road mat
(Books were not part of packing the box. They would have been treasures, for sure.)
The loft is a big hit. Don’t you wish you’d had a loft to play in when you were a child? Think of a fort, or blankets over furniture. Lofts are an intimate space where play can be focused, even quiet in the midst of a busy classroom. Reading a book, taking care of dolls, building, or just ‘being’ is what children need, every day. The balance of quiet and active is a must.
There are many changes, and one of the best is long and big windows that look out onto the playground and the woodland landscape. This is new. This is bringing nature into the classroom. This is perhaps the best thing that has happened.
Here’s what happened today: It started to snow. As soon as a child noticed, we all rushed to the windows to look out. The snow was going sideways. Oh yes, that was another big discussion.
We went outside to be part of the snowflakes. No coats, nothing planned, just a spontaneous reaction to children in awe of the snow. Teacher terminology would be ’emergent curriculum’, paying attention to children and teaching based on their interests. This was one of those moments.
We actually settled down for group activities. Morning meeting was in a new place in a different classroom. Connor, once again, grabbed his favorite book from the shelf, “This Land is Your Land”, and shoved it in my hands. He loves the song- well, we all do.
We love books! From reading aloud, to singing a book, to independent reading- books are a favorite activity. Today was another ‘book lover’ day.
At lunchtime I noticed many children were looking at Starry Night, the only poster I hang in the classroom. At last we have a big wall space to hang this poster. Year after year it has sparked more conversation than you can imagine. So today’s lunchtime ‘Jennie Story’ was about Juliet, a former Aqua Roomer who loved to draw and paint.
“It Happened Like This”…
Juliet loved to draw. When Milly made the first quilt, Juliet drew a detailed rendition of the quilt. She proudly gave it to Milly, who cherished it until she died. One day, Juliet and her family drove to New York to the MoMA museum. It is the Museum of Modern Art. Suddenly Juliet saw Starry Night, the real one, the real painting. She was beside herself and started making a big fuss. “Mom, there’s the picture in the Aqua Room! It’s Starry Night! I love it!
Mom was shocked. I was shocked. Juliet had never talked about Starry Night. But, she had seen it every day, and she loved it. So her mom took a picture of Juliet in front of the real Starry Night and sent it to me. Isn’t that cool? Maybe you will get to go to MoMA one day and see it, too.”
And then it was time for rest. I was rubbing Eddie’s back. Guess what he was looking at?
This was a day in the Aqua Room. Whew! Pretty terrific. There is even more, so stay tuned for Part 3.