Sunday, September 16, 2018

Forming Our Kindergarten Community Through Play

On the first day, we all came together as strangers. It’s quite scary walking into a room full of people that you have never met before. They have so many feelings at this time. They are excited, nervous, anxious, sad, happy, curious and overwhelmed. And so am I! The first thing I have to do is start building a community where they feel safe (both physically and emotionally) and secure. We have to start getting to know each other and building relationships.

What better way to begin building relationships than to start playing with each other! We started out the year going over each area of our room and how we need to be safe, responsible and respectful while we are using the materials and tools in each area. Then they were allowed to explore our room through play. Check out the learning that happens through free play when you look closely. I see many exploring the common core standards without even knowing it, along with important skills they need to learn to be successful! This is how kids learn! By actively experiencing.

Here they are exploring our art area.  This area fosters creative and critical thinking skills and also problem solving skills, all of which are needed for them to be successful. Some are very social with others as they create art side by side or together and some like to enjoy a quite moment and slow down as they create.

Below you can see them exploring the math area. Some explored numbers...

Two new friends are trying to figure out as a team how the scale works and what information it gives.

These two worked side by side exploring shapes and their attributes as they used shapes to create pictures.

These boys worked as a team exploring 3D shapes and their attributes by sorting them. They were so proud!

This friend is exploring measurement by weight as she tries to make both sides of the balance scale equal.

Some friends started exploring patterns and measurement using connecting cubes.

Here some new friends are exploring measurement by length. This has been a huge interest for this group along with patterns!

Some scientists loved discovering things together as they explored and looked closer at rocks, shells, and other items from nature. Some even started using writing skills here as they recorded their observations!

Our Literacy Area was used to explore letters and enjoy good stories together! I make the materials available for them to explore just like the other play areas.

Here we had a STEM challenge where they created a tree and then had to balance the letters of their name or a friend’s name without them all falling down like the letters in the story Chicka, Chicka Boom Boom did!

Our building and engineering area is an great place for kids to collaborate in creating objects and structures together! I have seen so much teamwork happen here! They also take part in imaginative play with the things that they create. Many stories will be written here in the future from this imaginative play! For now, they are writing plans showing what they are creating. They are learning how to represent their ideas on paper through both pictures and writing! 

Our Dramatic Play Area has really fostered some great relationships as they role played different scenarios from playing house to restaurant.  It is fun to listen to them plan out how their play is going to work here. Here they have learned to problem solve, deal with disappointment, compromise and plan as they creatively pretend. 

Here a friend is using math in our Dramatic Play Area as she measures a piece of furniture.

They have had to practice sorting skills as they clean up the loose parts that they use in this area. If they mix them, they have to sort them back into their containers. 

Another way we are getting to know each other is through our Special Friend of the Day each day! Whoever is our Special Friend gets to bring items from home to help us get to know them better. The kids then interview them to get more information. We make a web map to organize what we learned and then each student writes a story about our special friend that we bind together in a book for them to take home. Below Miss. Reese is showing us a picture of her dog when she was our Special Friend of the day.

This group has already built a beautiful community of friends and co-learners who help each other, have fun, encourage each other, and wonder together. Through play our classroom community has blossomed and the exploring has started!

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