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 blog entry about making use of local resources.
We all know the importance of field experiences: they are good for real-life application and they help develop understanding of topics being taught. These events are remembered by children. Yet it is difficult to plan more than a couple of field trips each year.
Recently at Six to Six, Marilyn Della Rocco’s preschool students were exploring squirrels. These 3- and 4-year olds spent weeks making discoveries about the animals. The children had learned about squirrel behaviors, adaptations, and physical appearances, and they were still curious to know more. They wanted to know about their shelter and their habitats. Marilyn knew having a squirrel expert would be a wonderful way to bring a field experience and guest to her class, but where would she find that expert? After a conversation with a parent, Marilyn was led to a tree service who, through their work experiences, had become very familiar with squirrels. Matt and Ray, of The Razor’s Edge Tree Service, were willing to visit the preschool class.
When they first talked about the visit, they were concerned about what they could say to 3- and 4-year olds. Marilyn gave two tips: Be short, and bring “stuff”. Matt and Ray took what she said and ran with it. During their visit they shared stories with the children about some squirrel encounters. They brought hats, harnesses and ropes. Cross sections of a variety of trees were a big hit. Learning about the rings each representing the tree’s “birthdays” was an added bonus to the day.
What a wonderful time they had. When it was over, Matt and Ray were so excited that it went so well. They confessed that they were nervous to start but it quickly became easy since the children were so inquisitive.
This experience provoked a conversation amongst a few of the teachers and administrators. The topic became “What resources do we have? Who else could come share their expertise?” We brainstormed a list of possible guests and decided to develop a survey for families to complete at the beginning of the year. So ask yourself, “Who is in your neighborhood? How might they enhance your lessons?”