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When our Kindergarten students returned to on-campus learning this term, they were thrilled to discover that the Autumn leaves had fallen, prompting lots of great learning!
Whenever Miss Bouterakos’s Kindergarten students go outside to play and explore, they inevitably start to notice signs of the changing seasons, which sparks their curiosity. A symphony of fallen leaves in the corner of Woodstock brought untold joy to Kindy on their first day back at School this term. Not only was it a brave new world of reds, browns and oranges, but they had great fun playing with the leaves. So much so that when it was time to head back inside, they asked Miss Bouterakos if they could bring some of the leaves into the classroom to use in their learning.
“We used them in Maths, when we were learning about teen numbers, to draw representations of numbers on the leaves,” explained Miss Bouterakos. She was pleased to see the students taking agency and co-constructing their learning, a key indication of how engaged they were in the activity.
It led them to become curious about the weather and think about the gradual shift from one season to another. This can be a difficult concept to grasp. But for Miss Bouterakos, it was the perfect way to introduce a variety of scientific concepts while having fun along the way. It allowed her to talk about the environment and how daily and seasonal changes affect humans and other living things.
Over the following week, Kindergarten read stories, which represented seasonal changes. One of their favourites was My Tree and Me by Jo Witek, which centres on a little girl and the tree in her backyard. The girl loves her tree, and as the seasons change, she explains how her tree changes and all the fun things they can do together as a result.
Afterwards, Miss Bouterakos asked the students to think about their favourite season and how it affected what they do. She then asked them to write about why they liked their chosen season. The students then shared their stories with each other on Zoom.
Dorothy said, “My favourite season is winter because we can play in the snow. I like to walk and make snowmen.”
Tracey said, “My favourite season is summer because I like to eat ice-cream on the beach. I like to pick some shells.”
Bridie agreed. “My favourite season is summer because I can go in the pool.”
Spring is Sophia’s favourite season, “because it is my birthday. I like that the flowers bloom in Spring.”
Lily said, “My favourite season is summer because I have many dresses in the summer. I like to play with butterflies.”
Today, Kindergarten brought in lots of amazing leaves of different sizes, shapes, and textures that they’d collected from their own gardens.
Miss Bouterakos asked Kindergarten to choose a leaf and write a story about it, showing how it changes during the seasons through their drawing. She explained that stories have a beginning, a middle (which normally involves some kind of complication) and an end. Perhaps their story could start in Spring when the tree was in full bloom. Perhaps in the middle, an insect could nibble on the leaf. Perhaps it could finish up in winter with the tree, bare and without any leaves.
The science of seasons has included lots of observation, outdoor exploration, and flat-out fun for our Kindergarten students. It’s made them think about the many different ways the seasons affect them.
We might have smartphones to tell us about the weather and the seasons and just about everything else these days, but nothing beats the joy of going outside and jumping into a big pile of autumn leaves! Just ask Kindergarten!