Thursday, December 6, 2012

Happy Holidays from TOP!

This is the last week of TOP till after the holidays. I am always a bit sad as this means some of our friends are moving on and another season is gone. But what a season it has been! The kids have learned so much about their forest. They can lead you to their pumpkins or their favorite climbing and hiding spots. They hold branches aside for each other and help show the way for their friends. Some of the kids who were quite tentative in the beginning of class are now leaders. And others have grown by being able to figure out how to climb under or over logs without the help of an adult-and exactly where do you do it! I can see that their sense of balance has grown and certainly their confidence in their own physical prowess.

Of course, that is not all the kids are working on and learning. They have had to practice how to sit in a circle and listen and take turns while their friends speak. They've had to raise their hands for their turn and sometimes they have to wait to speak. These are basic kindergarten skills-just all practiced out of doors. They've learned to help each other wash hands, speak respectably to their teachers and each other and to be aware of their body in space. (ie. Be careful waiving a stick or shovel around.)

Something we worked on this week were ASL signs. These signs will be especially useful to help keep interuptions to a minimum during storytime and circle time. You can see the kids practicing their signs in the photos above. Penton is showing "water", Cooper J "I have to pee" and Lochland the sign for "sit." We intend to incorporate these ASL signs into our day at TOP, adding more signs as the year goes on.
On Tuesday the kids were inspired to roll a hilly part of the path. Their spontaneity was captivating enough that soon most of the class was rolling! A little while later we "bush wacked" ( a new word today) through the forest and we came upon a very swollen stream. Since the air was relatively warm and it wasn't too long till pick up time, we let the kids walk through water that came over their boots. Some even sat down in the water! It was very exciting to see and experience all of that water! We always take the learning opportunities when they arrive. "Why is the water so high today? What has been happening lately?"

Today was such fun! We spent the gathering time preparing our gifts for the parents and then practicing our singing. We learned how to use our loud singing voices and to use big gestures for our performance.

During our hiking time we visited the goats and pigs and chickens, had snack in the outdoor classroom, went over and checked out the squooshed yellow pumpkin then hiked back around the park. An early lunch, our performance and popcorn ended the day.

And most of all, Thank you for lending us your kids 2 times a week this fall. It was an amazing time and we'll never forget their faces of pride when they figured out how to climb, hike or wade through water.

See you on January 8th, Tuesday for the next session of TOP-Winter Fun!