Nursery classes construct their own worlds

The nursery classes at the Early Learning Center have been creating their own worlds and solving some unique problems as they build.

The city life

Julie and Natalie’s class began with a “city walk” to observe some of the surrounding buildings. The children were excited to recognize the ELC building from afar. When the red and white steel structure of Tokyo Tower came into view there was a collective shriek of “Tokyo Tower!”

Back at the ELC the students painted city landscapes based on what we observed on our city walk as well as photos.

Following this, the kids split into two groups, one deciding to build their own Tokyo Tower and the other a large building. We had a discussion about the shape of their building/tower, what materials we wanted to use and how we were going to make it, and designed a plan for both constructions.

The Tokyo Tower group decided they wanted to make a “big tower” with a small top and big bottom using foam, coffee sleeves (little pieces of cardboard) and a tube for the top of their tower and they were going to use “lots and lots of tape” to stick it all together! Once they had stuck everything together, the children noticed that their Tokyo Tower didn’t stand up and would fall down instead. When the teachers asked what they could use to make it stand up, Adrianna and Elise said, “Tape” and Adrianna even suggested, “Tape it to the box!” (cardboard). So the children decided to stick the bottom of the tower to a big piece of cardboard and, of course, use more tape.

Although their Tokyo Tower stood up for a little while, when they came to school the next day, they noticed that their tower had fallen again! We discussed what we could do to help it stand up again, and the students chose to use Model Magic (similar to paper clay) to mould at the bottom of their tower to make it stronger. Great problem-solving! (Julie Zamorano and Natalie Hundleby, ELC Nursery)

The colors of autumn

In Nami and Debbie’s class, we were inspired by We’re going on a Leaf Hunt by Steve Metzger. We read this book aloud to the children to the tune of the infamous “We’re Going on a Bear Hunt” and their minds were set in motion. We went on a leaf “hunt” of our own this week in search of colorful leaves….and boy, did we find some! Their bags were filled with so many gold, red, yellow and brown leaves.

Well now, what to do with all these leaves? It so happens we read Leaf Man by Lois Elhert and wondered aloud what they might make with leaves and tape and paper and acorns.

We have some “special crayons” in our room that we wanted to let the children explore with and found the perfect medium for making our own colorful fall leaves. They were all thrilled to dip the crayons in water and watch the water change and see the color spread as they but crayon to paper. They really are beautiful bursts of color, which led us to our other leaf painting project: painting on white die cut leaves. The finished result is almost better than nature itself! We always have paints at the easel for use at free choice time and strategically selected color palate nearby. Real leaves taped to the easel inspires close observation and scientific eyes.

Lastly, we worked on constructing a huge tree. But how to make a tree and branches? Students suggested “Take some paper and make a circle and tape it to the ground.” So, we let them give this idea a try and they found it didn’t work as well as hoped. However, the twisted paper made an awesome branch! Add some painted branches, twigs and colorful leaves, even a bird or two for good measure…. And voila! a beautiful fall tree. (Nami Pettit and Debbie Iwabuchi, ELC Nursery)