Lindie's Blog
Items filtered by date: May 2021
Monday, 31 May 2021 18:40

3 Princesses and 30,000 Cicadas

     Two major events happened recently in Kindergarten.  First, Kindergartners performed an original play they wrote together.  Initially, inspired by the Older Group (OG) musical, they re-enacted Alice in Wonderland on the stage in art/science.  They had me write down the cast and scenes.  They did a run through.  The next time they were in art/science, they got dress up clothes out for costumes and acted out a play they called The Four Princesses.  Later, when some children wanted to practice Alice in Wonderland again, other Kindergartners wanted to do The Four Princesses.  Their solution was to combine the two plays into a new play they entitled Alice and the Three Princesses.  They had a long meeting about who the audience would be.  Some children wanted a small audience, so eventually they settled on inviting Younger Group (YG) to a dress rehearsal and inviting OG and Kindergarten families to a performance the following day.  The dress rehearsal went wonderfully.  On the day of the performance, though, one child, who had a major part, was out sick.  After much conversation, they determined that the show must go on and arrived at a solution--one of the princesses would step into the part of the super hero, and another princess would take over the missing princess' lines, as well as deliver her own.  In that way, Alice and the Two Princesses was performed.

     The second major event was the emergence of the cicadas of brood X (ten).  We had been reading about this 17 year cyclical event, but it was still other-worldly to see thousands of cicadas crawl from the ground, shed their nymph skin and emerge as winged cicadas.  Kindergartners held handfuls of nymph shells and sometimes handfuls of winged cicadas, as well.  They dubbed each other "cicada whisperers" and marveled at each new cicada hatchery we found.  In about a week the males started to call.  There are three types in brood X, and we've heard all three calls in various places and times.  The ones that sounds like a UFO landing have been an almost constant background noise and like a rainbow seem to always be just over the next hill.  We can hear them especially well in the bottom of the valley (drainage swale) between our forest classroom and the cycle circle side of the playground.  Early on the laser sounding ones would crescendo in the afternoons in our own forest classroom.  Later that transitioned into the ones that sound like a sizzle, think water in hot oil, becoming the dominant afternoon voices.  17 years ago my son was in Nursery here at the Antioch School, when the cicadas made their last appearance.  This year he graduated from college.  Likewise, this year's Kindergartners will be young adults when the children of these cicadas emerge.  Kindergartners have been enthralled with this unique phenomenon--the visible life cycle of the cicadas this spring and the way they function as insect time markers for our incremental human growth.  See you in 17 years brood X!

Early spring tells bodies to be busy and to MOVE and it feels like these particular children have been feeling this especially intensely this spring!

For weeks they were driven to soak in the spring and be active... almost always. Perhaps they have just logged enough warm, sunny time now, or maybe it's just the angle of the sun that is telling them spring is really here to stay. In any case, the outside is still a huge draw for Nurseries, but they are also finding ways to seek out the inside times or find quieter activities that will match their own needs to reset and renew their energies.

They are back to recognizing when they need to just put themselves on pause for a bit even if friends still want to be on the move. I can see how they are helping each other in this. I also see them self regulating more now. They are adding "inside plans" to our mornings and afternoons beyond just their most loved Storytimes and settling in with books.

Sometimes they will take a break from the extreme physicality of their running, climbing, and triking, etc., to just relax at the fence line with the chickens who are out in their their yard.

Another favorite relaxing outside thing for them is to plan a time to actually go into the chicken yard… to “go-in-to-see-the-chicken-coup” as they say. They want to look into the nest boxes for eggs and know how to unlatch the roof…  and then to latch it back up.

This is such a good outside change of pace for them… and at the same time they are building real trust relationships with each of the hens. Calm energy, quiet voices and many, many violets hand picked to feed them. What amazing experience for a young child to have. They are all taking on the responsibility of figuring out, and then knowing, how to keep other living creatures feeling comfortable and safe. As one Nurseryer put it, “We don’t want them to think we’re predators.”

To kick things off, on Monday one child had the idea to bring in planks from the hallway and build a floor in the room. The rest picked up on the activity and wanted to join in!

These are creative people and there were additional ideas too! A sea-saw-balance-beam.


Dino slides.

A bus parking lot with a place to relax on a rocking chair. Plus, if you look in the background in this photo, you will see the beginning idea for a bench.



 That is big enough for one…


And also big enough for two. We ended up reading that book, Cat and Mouse, on the spot!


On Tuesday, after several weeks of anticipation, we were able to finally get out the water table. Like we always do with any new, exciting, and complicated activity, we met at the rocking chairs to talk and plan. I explained that we would need to find a way to wear smocks since, as much as you try, water can splash and that we would also need to take off jackets in order to keep them dry. I told them that there were buckets they could use to carry water in from the sink. In part, it's putting the water in themselves that helps give them a real sense of ownership. It also seems to give them the understanding that they are together and collaborating on something fun and BIG. Draining the water, watching the whirlpool vortex grow bigger and bigger, keeping the cork carefully in hand, and checking the bucket below (so it doesn't overflow) are very interesting, important things too!

Here is the list they had me write.

We used the Water Table all week long. Somehow they all found a way to keep themselves and one another dry!

So dry that by Thursday morning they had all decided together that they didn’t even need smocks. It was also easy for me to see they really didn’t need them. So now… no smocks it is!

Rainy wet or clear and dry, they found their outside/inside balance for the week.

Outside there was Cycle Circle Side.

There was continued Nursery/YG connection being forged.

By Friday morning the winds told them they needed airplanes.

By Friday afternoon the powerful bluster of even bigger winds sent them up onto the Golf Course where they spent a joyous half an hour being blown around and into the grass with one another.

Inspired by the wind, they added to that fun by linking hands and facing in the opposite directions. Then they would spin each other until their grips broke and they flew away from one another to spin off into the grass. They did this two-by-two and then four by four.

It was exquisite and transitory. In a way I wish I had thought to take my phone/camera with me when we headed out to the Golf Course to make a record to share. And in another way I know it just fine that I didn't. All of this is part of their useful experience of the moment and they are storing it up better than any words or camera can do! 





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