Spring has arrived on the St. James campus. The children have really embraced the changes and it has been exciting to watch their imagination bloom. One of the advantages of having a campus in the middle of nature is getting to observe firsthand the natural world and all of God's beautiful creation.
For example, the children discovered caterpillars on a tree in our playground area. We collected them and I got their identity confirmed through an entomologist. Once we knew they were safe for the children we proceeded to raise them and learn about their life cycle. Out of our 4 caterpillars we had 3 form chrysalises and become butterflies (Limenitis arthemis). In our classrooms, we were able to observe the entire process and then we were able to "touch" our butterflies by sitting in our observation tent with orange juice on our fingers. Through this journey of development the children used math skills, critical thinking skills, and even art skills.
The children have also observed other animals around our campus. We have 3 active bird nest around our building and they have been able to observe the parents care for the young birds. We also discovered a toad in our playground area and were able to touch the toad and discuss where he came from and what his habitat was like. The toad was then relocated to a much safer area of our campus.
Another advantage of having a wooded campus is having several great trails to explore. Our class joined with Primary I to take a hike through the woods. We started off our hike by practicing our leadership and safety skills. We discussed staying together in the woods, not touching random plants, and how to set a good example for the younger class. We partnered up with our younger cohorts and took off on an exploratory adventure.
Aside from all of the life science we have been experiencing we also have finished our clothing study. We learned about where our clothing comes from, how it is made and all about patterns (pre-math skill!!). We ended our unit of study by having a shirt party - we all got to wear our favorite shirts. During our large group time each child was given the opportunity to come up to the front of the class, speak into a microphone and tell us what was special about their shirt. I can tell you that I am so proud of these children. Every single one of them got up in front of the class and talked on that microphone!! Yay!! That is such a difficult thing to experience.
Now, I know you are probably wondering when we work on the letters, writing, etc. All of those wonderful skills that we need to know by kindergarten. What is really neat is how our curriculum is set up to help us experience the letters and learn about them in real life. For instance in our clothing study we made shapes and letters with scarves. We also looked at stripes on shirts in horizontal, vertical, and diagonal patterns and then used those lines to make different letters.
Every day is an adventure here are St. James Day school and we love every minute. I had the joy of watching our older grades put on the musical "The Jungle Book". The children were amazing and it was a wonderful experience. We have so many more programs coming up - Lights on with Louie, Midieval fair (6th grade), Talent Show (Pre-k), and our spring program. I look forward to sharing these experiences with you next time.