And We're Back...
It has been an amazing January! All of us teachers are so excited to see the development and progress of our students after almost five months and we are looking forward to all that we have planned for the rest of the year.
We'd like to share some of our activities from the past few weeks:
Children naturally seek out and recognize patterns. Their minds work to order and categorize the things they encounter as they explore the world around them. Giving children the language to describe what they are doing and then listening to their thought process is a truly enlightening experience. Here the kindergarteners are working with natural materials gathered from around Las Terrenas including shells, seeds, leaves, branches and flowers. Making patterns becomes a tactile exercise in which children use their five senses to explore the materials. They learn about nature in the process, and then assemble materials using problem solving and observation skills.
The kindergarteners had so much fun doing a science exploration with prisms. Rainbows are a popular topic around here and the children delighted in discussing what makes a rainbow and then experimenting to create our own. We are color pros and practiced writing the words for each color and talking about the order they appeared in the rainbow.
The preschoolers have been busy at work learning about whales this week in preparation for the humpback whales yearly pilgrimage to Samana, an occurrence that spans the months of January, February and March. Samana is one of the best places to get close to these amazing creatures as it is here in the warm waters of the Carribean where the whales give birth. We are planning a field trip for February and feel so lucky to be able to observe this magical ritual from up close. The preschoolers have been reading stories and singing songs (as well as listening to the real songs of the whales) and even had a chance to measure the length of a whale by walking over 50 feet- a great way for kids this young to conceptualize how large a whale actually is (and they weigh anywhere from 23-30 tons as well!). Of course even in the midst of all of their hard work the class still had time to get in some ever important dramatic play. For more information on the whales of Samana visit http://www.samana.org.do/whales.htm.
Committing it to Muscle Memory
One of the most important things for us at Las Terrenas International School is the learning process. We know that you don't need to make learning fun. Acquiring new skills and information is something that children do and enjoy naturally. Children learn and explore the world around them in different ways, it is just when they are forced to memorize facts and learn with one uniform method that "learning," becomes tiresome for them. All of the Las Terrenas International School teachers strive to teach in different ways, individualizing for each child which empowers students to take control of the learning process. We give them the tools, environment and support they need to learn on their own. Even in First and Second Grade the children are encouraged to get up out of their seats and move, learning songs and physically exploring materials and subjects.
Lots of Literacy
We are so lucky to have amazing First and Second Grade Teacher Milenia De La Rosa, who has graciously stepped in to fill the teaching position. She continues building literacy skills with her class of excited readers and writers!
We are making the most of the cozy courtyard in front of the library as we wait for our new outdoor space to be finished. The three age groups have really enjoyed the chance to mingle and play together. Here, we are bringing the cooking and restaurant dramatic play from the classroom into a new environment- the outdoors!