Eva Kibby is our Seedlings Fellow at Six to Six Interdistrict Magnet School in Bridgeport. She has been collaborating with the school’s preschool team, two of whom attended the Seedlings summer workshop in 2017, to apply their Seedlings thinking in their classroom practice. Below is Eva’s first blog entry about the beginning stages of this collaboration.

 

Carol Barker and Marilyn Della Rocco are both preschool teachers at Six to Six Interdistrict Magnet School. They work with 3 and 4 year olds.

After attending Seedlings 2017, they felt a mind shift. The idea of working in and outside with nature is their new norm. One of the big takeaways from the summer experience was from a visit to Common Ground High School. On that trip they observed the playscapes and ideas of ways to enhance the exploration of natural resources.

Through collaboration these educators decided to make the Six to Six yard more environmentally appreciative.  The school has a playground that is surrounded by fence, but not locked up. Therefore, they needed to come up with a plan. Whatever they decided, it would need to be mobile so that it could be locked into the building at night.

Together, they decided a cart with tools could be managed and brought in and out of school daily. They shared their thoughts with administration and the 2 other preschool teachers. Everyone was on board and spent the summer visiting tag sales and thrift shops for items to put on the carts. Below you will find an inventory of the carts. Of course they will continue to change as the year moves on.

Cart 1 Cart 2 Cart 3 Cart 4
digging tools (metal spoons, sand shovels)

baskets

bubbles

chalk

small cars

large trucks

scarves

balls

magnifying glasses

 

 

 

 

 

 

binoculars

bubbles

chalk

scarves

rainbow ribbon

musical instruments

ribbon wristlets

bug catchers

magnifiers

homemade bowling set

balls

collection buckets

musical spoons

shovels

chalk

bubbles

baskets

small cloth bags

cheerleader pompoms

scarves

magnifying glasses

pinwheels

clothespins

small cars

small balls

 

 

 

baskets

plastic potting containers

large dinosaurs

large wooden cars and trucks

magnifying glasses

tweezers

butterfly wings

wands

scarves

shaker instruments

balls

chalk

 

 

Some of the ways children have been using materials from the carts include:

  • Collecting of pine cones, sticks, rocks
  • Counting
  • Comparing
  • Creating designs, somewhat like mandalas
  • Finding ways to connect items. This became a class engineering activity. Once the children had the sticks they were going to connect they used yarn and pipe cleaners to connect them. They made the stick constructions into frames to weave with.

Teachers have noticed a shift in the children’s play. Carol Barker noted that “Having scarves on the carts has promoted dance, imaginary play, as well as wind exploration. One cart even has soda bottles filled with sand to be pins and small balls to knock them down with. The kids are more creative on the playground. There are less ‘chase and fighting’ games.  They are enjoying picking up sticks and rocks and bringing things back into the class.  In addition, the scarves add to creative play. Today they draped them all over the climbing structure and added the pinwheels to make a “castle”.  It started out as two kids and ended up being more than half the class that was involved.  We are thinking of adding crowns, wings, wands and other things like that.” Lauren Faugno wrote, “We have noticed that students are so engaged in collecting items in the baskets and observing them with magnifying glasses and tweezers. I did have bug container magnifiers at one point and the children were finding caterpillars to look at [….] Our students are playing cooperatively and using creative pretend play with the dinosaurs, wings, wands, and vehicles. Having the cart also makes the materials easily available for the children so they can make their own choices as they please during recess. We LOVE the cart!”