Rediscovering The Feeling of Discovery – Thoughts During Mini-School

By Kim Barnes (Head of Early Childhood)

During the middle three weeks in September, parents of children from eight weeks to nineteen years of age come to Greenhill School. They come to discover what their children are exploring, what their children are asking, and what is being asked of their children. They want to know how their children spend their time. This is frequently the time the important adults in a student’s life bond.

On September 10th, it was pre-kindergarten and kindergarten parents’ turn. For many of them, this evening was the first of fourteen or fifteen Mini-Schools. How was their time spent?

The air was filled with laughter and conversation. Everyone was set to head to their classrooms. The whistle blew and we were off!

First it was Spanish with a song our children had just learned the day before our visit and experienced the Spanish vocabulary our children practice.

Then we headed to music and drama; we sang and moved and found out what drama means in the lives of our four, five, and six year olds. Drama means our children are doing what comes naturally – pretending and imagining with a bit of structure and support from their teachers.

In art, we talked and listened as we drew. You know if we draw and color a picture Mrs. Swize will hang it on the wall. There was genuine excitement and discussion at the anticipation of whether a child would mention the drawing at the end of the next school day.

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Mrs. Rosenberg shared the new community service project our pre-kindergartners will be participating in – Fuzzy Wuzzy Share Bears. The bears the children purchase will go to the Addison Fire Department to comfort children the fireman and paramedics come in contact with as they perform their important occupation. When a child is in kindergarten, community service means Meals on Wheels. Mrs. Rosenberg said this is the 12th year for kindergartners and 8th graders to deliver these meals. I wonder how many meals these children have delivered.

The new Lower School Library changes sound amazing. We will have to stop in after school one day while we wait for Lower School carpool. It sounds like a wonderful place to enjoy a few books. This was a wonderful welcome from Mrs. Martin.

Shaving cream and colors! Ramps and pathways! Color mixing! Melting noodles! Wow! So this is what centers are!

Did you know if you touch a noodle to water it will meld to another one? Look, he made a crown! I want one. Wonder if he will help me?

Did you see those colors in that shaving cream? Bright, vivid streams of yellows, blues, greens floating on puffy strands of clouds that smell like my granddad did. I could stay here forever.

Ramps and pathways? This will take team work. This better work! This is hard work.
Debrief? Four and five year olds can debrief. Wonder if that will work at home. Might create a bit more ownership. All of this is so deliberate, so specific, so intentional.

Whewwwwwwwwwww! I’m tired! Oh yeah, I discovered that number I was wondering about is somewhere around 12,500.

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