Louisa's mom, Maggie, came to talk to us about maps. Before she arrived, I asked the children to tell me about maps.
--They can bring you where you need to go.
--You can find out where you're going with them.
--They can spin!
--He's thinking of the ball like we have one over there (points to the globe) that tells us everywhere in the world.
--It's something that you can see where you're going so you won't lose your way.
--Siri tells my Dad where to go.
Most seemed to have some understanding that maps show us where to go. We need them so we don't get lost. Freida assured us that Siri will help if we get lost, but we found out that Siri needs a map too! They also understood that the "spinning ball" (i.e., globe) was a map of the whole world. But that was pretty much the extent of map knowledge...until Maggie arrived. She showed us that maps can tell us about animals and people, and even our own houses! Maps are NOT just something adults use when we get into cars, Children can use maps too-- to see where the swimming pool and parks are in Iowa City, to find where moms go when they travel (Pennsylvania), to find the warm state our friend just moved from (Texas), to see where our teacher's mom lives (Sudan), to locate where penguins live (under the equator), to see where there are earthquakes (not in Iowa, whew!).
We got busy looking at maps, making maps, and playing with maps. Although the children seemed to always have had an understanding that the world is much larger than our school and community, exploring all of these maps seemed to broaden their world view. We talked about how maps can be of our school/house, our neighborhood and city, our state....and just keep expanding to the whole world.
Normally on Martin Luther King Day I think about celebrating individual diversity. The standard has been to talk to children about our individual differences and celebrate each and every one of us for who we are. I’ve just come from a MLK Unity March in my own local community and it has me thinking less about individuals and more about group and community. We walked a mile together in -12 degrees windchill. Many of us as different as could be, but yet together. Smiles, hugs, handshakes, song, and laughter were shared. An important part of my classroom has always been to build community. But right now, this seems more urgent and important than ever. It will be through group action and community that we stand up together to do what is right, to care for one another and our planet, and build a better world. We can’t do it alone. Community in the preschool classroom is when Freida’s stuffed kitty is lost and we all help look for her. It’s when Violet’s dog died, and we give her hugs. It’s when Laine’s baby sister was born, and we all celebrate. Community for preschoolers is seeing it snow for the first time and we all jump up and down, smile, and hug each other as we rush to pull on our boots and chatter about the snowflakes. Community is saying yes to someone who wants to join the game, it’s helping open someone’s cheese stick wrapper, it’s getting help when someone is hurt. Preschool community is learning about sharing and making sure everyone gets a turn to be line leader. Community in preschool is really much the same as it should be in our adult world—being there for one another, ready to celebrate together or share sorrow. It’s about making mistakes, and fixing those mistakes together. It’s making judgments about others, but spending time to get to know one another and having those judgments dissolve in a belly laugh. And once you build community and group spirit, you stand together on the same boat and navigate the journey together.
5 day teacher