*My apologies to those that are seeing this a second time. The original post got deleted.
Special of the Day
Several times over the last couple years I have thought about incorporating "specials of the day," like they have in the "big school." I was never sure how to incorporate it, what to include or if I would actually follow through. I was very surprised when I visited Takoma Park Cooperative Nursery School, during my visit to Washington D.C. that they do something similar. After seeing it a bit in action and hearing more about it, I decided when I got back to try it out on a very basic level. I decided it would work better for us to rotate several activities through the days of the week, so that part time kids would not miss out on certain "specials." I choose each morning from the remaining cards which we will do that day, based on the group of kids and what their interests have been. I show them the card at circle time and explain what it means for that day. The activity is something we usually do during circle or directly after. They are usually things that we will do all together as a group, but occasionally they are done with smaller groups.
After we have gone through all the cards, then we will start over again. This is not to say that many of these things are not going on every day, but this is a special time to stop and focus as a group and encourage children to participate in something that they may often skip.
So far we have done Instruments, Messy (clay), Dance, Yoga and today was Art.
We have been examining bird books since they arrived from the library last week. At circle time today I simply showed them a very basic shape of a bird that I found here. I simplified the directions to make it less confusing. I told them that this was one way to draw a bird and they could change the parts to make it the way they wanted (ex. longer legs, beaks, etc).
I explained that they could add other features to their pictures, that showed where the birds were and what they were doing. I called them to the table a couple children at a time and gave them a black crayon to draw their birds. After they were finished with the outline, they moved on to the colors. I never once had to prompt them to keep drawing or add more details. I just walked away from the table after I handed them the colored crayons. They all saw the same drawing and yet each picture was so full of individuality and creativity.
I'm not sure who was more amazed and proud of their end products, them or me. I know that my words and responses were far from praise, but simply my pure reaction to pieces of real art. I don't doubt that they knew I was sincere when I said things like, "Oh! THAT is so beautiful. You worked really hard on those details."
The Four Year Old's Drawings
Even the two and three year old rushed over when I told them that is was their turn to draw their birds.