Project CARE is Underway!

February 21, 2018

Project CARE is underway!

The concept of Care has been one of increasing importance in the Oak classroom over the last couple of months. As the Oak classroom shared in a previous reflection, this project emerged from the children’s observation of individuality after celebrating multiple birthdays within a short period of time. Discussion of individuality led to discussion of diversity on our Planet Earth, which led to explorations about varying environments around the world, where plants, animals, and cultures are different from our own.
Explorations about environments around the world have, ironically, given the children a chance to return to discussions of the environments they know best and develop new curiosities about the environments closest to them. They have recently found great meaning in applying their ideas about care to their most loved places and things at school, including their classroom, playground, and the natural world which is most accessible to them.

Washing tables, caring for the classroom bunny, and watering classroom plants were some of the first ideas the children had about being contributors to care in our school environment. The connection between plant hydration and the natural world led the children outside as they felt compelled to care for their outdoor space, including watering trees, picking up leaves, and keeping the environment beautiful for everyone to enjoy. Activities involving watering the plants have gained momentum as the children have been seeking out puddles, making “soups” in the sand with the water runoff, and have asked questions about when it will be time to plant in the garden, what season it is, and when spring will come.

Our toddlers have been preparing colored artwork to place in their playground. Some of the older children have been weeding the toddler garden to prepare for the upcoming planting, and two of the children created a new fairy garden out of sticks and pinecones for the toddlers. In keeping with ideas of watering plants and the upcoming spring planting, the children have had discussions about the rain and how the rain cares for the earth. The children have been asking questions about where the rain comes from, the differences between sun clouds and rain clouds, and have expressed their ideas about how water evaporates into space. As questions unfolded, Ms. Lina guided the children in a demonstration of the water cycle and gave the opportunity for the children to reenact it on their own. The children have been painting various types of clouds as well, to further their understanding on the difference between sun, rain, and “storm”.

Meanwhile, other interests have emerged outdoors as the children continue in planning for care of their outdoor environment. The children have been interested in setting up a place to race cars, as well as a drawing station with clipboards and colored pencils. They have also asked to plant things in the garden that we can eat for snack!

Through project work, it becomes obvious that everything under the sun is connected. We began the discussion of care through an observation of human individuality, and since then, the thread of care has been weaved through a variety of different ideas to connected them together, portraying a picture of the larger whole. In this way, projects allow for continuity and connection, and learning exists not as many separate feats, but as a lifelong continuum.

As the children breathe life into their ideas about the world, new conversations, experiments, and interests unfold which ebb and flow. Activities and focal points of interest evolve as new questions are uncovered and new ideas take shape.

In time, the children’s discovery of care will likely revisit the notion of “individuality” as they discover that their ideas about care may be very different from one other, as we are all unique in our own right. Then and only then may learning about care take shape in the form of celebrating oneself, celebrating diversity, expression of empathy, or cultural awareness.
Wild Roots teachers take great care to guide the children passively in their natural path of inquiry and discovery, rather than rigidly move the children through fixed ideas and limited timeframes. The teachers’ role is to offer open-ended prompts, provide thoughtful feedback, and deliver a rich variety of quality materials that will aid the children appropriately in their exploration. Projects provide flexible, beautiful, and unending potential for the building of knowledge and the expression of creative and thoughtful solutions about our world.

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Guiding Children in Love, Respect, and CareCultivating Meaningful Experience through Sensory Play
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