The Seeds class combines learning about recycling, our neighborhood and the postal system through their community service project. Dragonfly School collects all sizes of dairy tubs (not typically recyclable in our curbside bins!) and energy bar wrappers as part of participation in the Terracycle recycling program. The Seeds’ job is to sort and package the recycling for shipment to the recycling center and make sure students know about recycling in each class. The students filled the boxes with used containers sorted by size, securely taped the boxes shut and attached their prepaid shipping labels. We took turns pulling the wagon full of heavy boxes all the way across the Santa Fe River Bridge, across two streets of traffic and into our local Pack,Ship and Mail shop.
Glenn showed us the mailboxes there, sold us stamps so that we will be able to mail Valentines cards to our families, and shared noisy bubble wrap with us. We looked at the map to see where our packages were headed and located the new home of one of our former classmates in Chile! While out walking, we identified several vehicles which were delivering mail or other goods. Experiencing our world and contributing to its health is tantamount to our learning process as stewards of the earth.
As part of the recent Recycled Santa Fe Art Festival, the Seeds class built a sort of percussion instrument using an old shelf and a variety of found hardware, dishes, keys, and more. The children worked with real tools to alter the shape of the shelf, giving more room to hang items from re-used wire and twist ties.
Painting was a careful job with remnants of permanent acrylic latex paints.
The bike handlebar pieces were sorted and ranked according to size before the children
The students experience a variety of sounds, experimenting with keeping a beat and how sound changes depending on which part of an object is hit and what type of mallet is used.
The Seeds’ project garnered them the prize of “Most Innovative Design” at the festival this year. Our creation is in regular use and evolves as items are added or changed.
Ann Gomez leads the Seeds class in cooking weekly. Cooking is a multi-faceted learning process for preschoolers. Children learn about the origins of the food they eat, such as when we picked tomatoes from the garden this fall and made our own spaghetti sauce. They acquire basic kitchen skills like slicing vegetables and cracking eggs.
The science involved in the transformation of ingredients as they are blended and cooked is a wondrous opportunity for young children. When making playdough, watching a mound of salt change as colored water is added is a clear visual example of absorption. Handling a variety of foods and kitchen tools, mixing, smelling and tasting all add a sensory element to these projects. Classroom cooking allows children to practice health and safety standards and gives them the opportunity to create real dishes for themselves to eat. Real jobs are important for children, so they do the work of cooking here and also the work of cleaning up when the meal is done.
Students broaden their experience of food and encourage one another to try new foods in a group setting. Recently, the Seeds had a vegetable tasting session including cooked broccoli, celery, purple carrots, snow peas and artichokes. After tasting, they each gave their opinion of the various samples.
It was a great challenge to work with the very dry snow. Packing snow bricks required lots of stomping! (Though the snow-filled buckets were light with air.)We gained direct experiential knowledge of the powdery quality of very cold snow .