Inspiration for children’s thinking and creativity can be found in many places. Following the interests of children and developing possibilities for learning, research or teamwork can come from a song, an interaction with nature or even the observation of a current event.
This year’s Younger Group (YG) class dove into all types of learning inspired by the 2014 Winter Olympics. It was a type of special occasion that this teacher could predict as an inspirational possibility, yet not know the full direction the children would take until their excitement jump started the momentum that would direct their learning.
It was February, a weekend had passed and the opening ceremonies for the 2014 Winter Olympics had been viewed by most of the YG children at home. When we entered the school day, there were exclamations of,
“Did you see the snowboarders?!”
“Did you see the American flag?!”
“Did you see the Olympic rings?!”
I always start the year finding out what the children want to learn and wish to accomplish during the course of the school year, so I can plan lessons around their ideas and incorporate them into the flow of our school days.
I love doing this because it gives us unlimited possibilities. Responses often include things like learn geometry, learn new unicycling tricks, learn about countries, learn to play the ukulele, learn to cook; responses are as individual as the children. It is so interesting to find out what the children want to learn and discover and such useful information for planning a rich and eventful school year. I also have many ideas for the Older Group (OG), as do Sally, Bill, Brian, and this year Dennis as well. Looking back over this past year, it is amazing what a vast amount of things we have experienced, learned, and accomplished, having tremendous fun while we did. When Antioch School children come home and report that they played all day, in a sense they have. When everyone is involved in the planning, when we play with concepts, laugh and cry over good books, play music, hike, learn, explore math, reflect in nature, are fully engaged, and approach learning with joy and enthusiasm, it could be described as play.
In addition to the many daily opportunities for outside play, most of the children at the Antioch School go on a weekly hike in Glen Helen, the 1000-acre nature preserve across the street from our school. Our hikes are made up of walking, exploring, playing games, observation and self-expression through writing and drawing.
WDTN Channel 2 News came to The Antioch School Tuesday, May 5th, to do a story about the kindergarten inspired building of a straw bale playhouse. Above is a video of the segment that aired on their five o'clock news broadcast.
The news crew interviewed two kindergartners as well as their teacher, Lindie. Several other students from the other groups, who have been helping build the playhouse, can also be seen in the segment. You can follow the construction of the playhouse on Lindie's blog. A big thanks to Channel 2 News for airing this segment.
(Editor's Note: Several times in the segment people refer to hay bales. Though similar, the playhouse is built with bales of straw.)
When I was younger I remember being warned about the evils of eating too much sugar. “It will rot your teeth,” was proven true by my frequent trips to the dentist office. In the last couple of years I have become more aware of sugar’s impact on my overall health as it relates to controlling my weight and the side effects that come from being over weight (cardiovascular disease, diabetes, etc.). What I wasn’t aware of is the health impact eating too much sugar has on my brain.
I recently read an article, This Is What Sugar Does To Your Brain, written by Carolyn Gregoire, on Huffington Post, where she explains how sugar can literally slow down your brain’s ability to function.
Matt Cline, from Cline Cinematography, put together this wonderful movie about The Antioch School. The movie was first shown at the 2014 Silent Auction. A big thanks goes out to Matt for his hard work at creating this movie as well as many of the photographs used on this site.