Wednesday, October 7, 2009
A Fall Afternoon with our K/1 Buddies
Each Wednesday, we spend the last hour of the day with Anita's class. We've been calling this time "K/1 Buddies". It is a lovely part of our week, and we've done some great activities together. Sometimes, we just hear a story and have a snack together. Last week, Anita spent some time showing and talking about her culture (her blog has a post about this, you should check it out!). As the year progresses we will plan all sorts of fun and important things to do during this time.
For my group, it is an especially nice time because we get to be the "big kids". Mixed aged groupings like these are wonderful for both older and younger children. For the older group, it is an opportunity to serve as mentors and to be leaders. We can model more sophisticated approaches to problem solving, and younger children are able to accomplish tasks they could not do without the assistance of older children. This dynamic has been proven to increase the older child's level of independence and competence. Another benefit is that children are more likely to cooperate than compete. This spirit of cooperation and caring makes it possible for children to help each other as individuals, not see each other as competitors.
Today, I read a science book about why leaves change colors. We talked about different trees and the leaves they produce. We then went out and collected many beautiful leaves, and children worked together to make leaf crowns and leis. We also did leaf rubbings. I witnessed many instances of older children helping younger children, and there definitely was a gentle and sweet "vibe" as we explored our natural world together.