This is a very busy time of year for May kindergarten 1! This month we'll learn about trees and work in our garden.
Our Froebel gift to play with for the month of May kindergarten 1 is Froebel gift 8, which has inspired play in expected ways.
It consists of lines of different lengths. The same set of colors is available for each length as the shapes in gift 7 last month.
She was not very interested until I made a star or sun and then a more complex figure inspired by The Kindergarten Guide book. She copied the complex figure to make another one just like it. Then she made a rainbow ladder. We had discussions about measurement, like how many short pieces equal a longer and the different combinations of sizes to add up to a longer size.
Then, another day, she just wanted to pretend the small pieces were candy and toss them into a box the way we toss candy into a fire pit to feed the Sugar Spites. (That's what we do with our Halloween candy, Easter candy, pinata winnings, or whatever candy we receive.)
Our nature table has been cleared off to make way for silkworms. Right now they are tiny eggs we check every day. Our walks this week were very pleasant, sniffing lilacs in the neighborhood.
She started learning how to play chess. We'd already been working on checkers and she was interested, so we tried it. I explained each piece as a character and how it could move as I put them on the board to setup.
For our reading curriculum, we decorated the letter "I" page with ink stamps.
We celebrated May Day with the discovery that our fairy penpal had left us lots of tiny ribbon roses. The gnomes in our Waldorf Essentials curriculum also celebrated May Day this week.
She saw me working on the May Pole and was surprised to see how it was used in the story later. She thought I had said "maple" like our maple sugaring adventures in February.
On our nature walks this week we noticed ant hills and admired the irises blooming in the neighborhood. The silkworm eggs hatched this week! She has actually been able to help some with moving the hatchlings from the eggs to the mulberry leaf. We are getting very familiar with our mulberry trees again.
We had to move an oak tree that came up in a bad spot. It was about 2 feet tall with several leaves. We tried to put it in a pot to replant elsewhere, but I don't know if it will make it. This went well with our story this week where Sam learned about how acorns can grow into big, tall oak trees.
We're also finding maple whirligigs to play with at this time of year. It's a great time to learn about trees!
We finally painted some spring flowers for the gnome home on wooden drawer pulls, just like the ones we used to paint mushrooms in the fall. It took us several weeks to be in the "right mood" to want to do these for some reason. Usually she is excited to paint, but some days we have behavior issues and just don't want to be doing a painting project together.
I didn't mention that about 2 weeks ago we started using HeartMath. The device gives visual biofeedback about your heart rate variability so you can know that your meditation and relaxation techniques are working. I actually bought it for myself, but she was interested and the information says it is safe and beneficial for children. She lays in bed and does it while I read to her at night. So far we are having good results and absolutely love it!
This week's nature walks involved wearing boots and splashing in puddles. We visited a baby donkey. We continued taking care of our silkworms. Unfortunately, we observed many ants inside.
She started doing addition with the ant invasion: "Seven ants and two more, so that's nine!" Very nice considering we haven't done any math lessons yet, but that's not exactly what I want to be counting!
She helped do some measuring for our new garden areas that we are calculating. We built marble runs with friends. She was very absorbed in using the new set of 20 Crayola Super Tips markers that she received this week.
In our ongoing story lessons, Super Sam learned that plants need soil, water, and sun to grow big and strong,
He fell asleep and took a nap under a willow tree. I cut the yarn and tied it together while we were setting up for the story. It's just some knotted yarn laying on top of a wooden block, a bit reminiscent of our may pole.
On our nature walks this week, we were able to find a young willow tree. We also saw some red-winged blackbirds. We picked strawberries from the garden just about every day unless it was raining. We did some living math problems about how many berries we ate.
We also spent a lot of time cutting mulberry tree branches to feed our hungry silkworms. They are still the main feature in the area where we typically have our nature table scene.
This week in our main story, Sam and Methuselah visited a tree where the robins had a nest of tiny baby birds.
It's hard to tell from the photo, but it is a climbable tree that Sam and his friend stood on with the birds. We balanced two blocks and sat our green play silk on top then the robins, nest, and later as telling the story, the gnomes, too.
The bird family will appear again later. This week was the knit nest of featherless babies.
When we did the letter L in our reading lesson this week, we decorated it with colored lace. We were also able to relate our lesson to a light up circuit we made from copper tape at a free family workshop at Chesapeake Arts Center.
Remember we only have four weeks of material each month in our curriculum, so about every quarter there is an extra week. In the past we've done Elsa Beskow books on these weeks, but I did not have anything prepared.
I asked her what she wanted to do, if she wanted to choose a book or make up a story, and what she most wanted to do was origami, so that's what we did. We actually set up her creations in the living room and allowed the pet hermit crabs to explore them. She thought that was great!
Our living room is also busy with about 280 temporary pets since it is high silkworm season. This week's letter M is for munching mulberry leaves, because we've been busy trying to keep the silworms fed! We also showed them to some friends and gave some away, explaining how to take care of them. They should start spinning soon because they have been eating a LOT.
Another fun outside activity this week, besides harvesting mulberry leaves, mulberries, and strawberries, was water play with an old gourd and the water sitting in our wheelbarrow. We've also enjoyed watching the birds eat mulberries. We had a variety of colors this week: cardinals, goldfinches, and a bluebird!