I love this time of year when spring hits full and bright and the children are all aglow from the excitement of the upcoming holidays. Easter is a big deal around here and we celebrate the resurrection in many different ways. In our class we spend time studying the resurrection eggs. The children love taking turns opening eggs and discussing the story behind the item inside. This helps them develop long term memories about the order of the resurrection story. We also colored, cut, and pasted items in our resurrection story book. Children learn best through hands on activities and repetition so our book follows the same outline as our eggs. The children had a blast working on the books and the eggs but they really enjoyed wrapping up our Easter week festivities with a class party. The children didn’t let the rainy weather put a damper on their spirit instead they hunted eggs in the classroom, played bingo, and visited with the Easter Bunny.
Another fun experience that I really like during our Spring semester is our butterflies. We set this activity up to be as inviting and interest grabbing as possible. Child led, interest based activities are incredibly effective at this age. Nothing quite grabs their attention like watching the metamorphosis of a butterfly as it is absolutely amazing to the children. We practiced our numbers by counting how many caterpillars formed a Chrysalis and then by counting how many butterflies emerged from their Chrysalis. This year the children were very amazed that all the caterpillars made it through the process - many times this is not a guarantee.
During the course of our investigation the children develop different cognitive connections. Not only did we utilize math with our current counting skills but we also introduced the rather abstract concept of a cyclical life cycle. Then we used art and photographs to study the symmetry of butterfly wings. The children worked on vocabulary by learning new words such as symmetry, Chrysalis, and Metamorphosis. We introduced some basic Social Studies by discussing the difference between native and non-native species and used our technology to allow us to travel around the world to view butterflies from different countries. I was even able to use the empty Chrysalis to give an extra visual to Christ’s empty tomb.
All in all this was a very busy few weeks for our little ones but the interesting thing for them was that they really didn’t know how much they were learning. When the learning takes place in such a low pressure play centered way we are able to reduce the stress on the children and increase their development. I hope you all have a wonderful Easter break and I look forward to sharing the last of our studies with you over the next few weeks.