Our first fairy garden
We have recently begun the process of re-designing our small, urban playground to give the children a more varied and naturalistic experience. As part of this process, I've been experimenting with ideas I've found on the web. Jenny at Let The Children Play is way ahead of us on this exploration and has introduced me to the concept of fairy gardens. We built our first fairy garden in an old diaper changing table:
I liked using this multi-level table of baskets. Some of the kids started calling it the "fairy apartments." What I learned is that it will take some pretty assertive adult supervision until the children get used to the idea of these outdoor doll houses. There was a contingent of younger boys who just wanted to start dumping buckets of water over everything, which would have been fun, I'm sure, but would have also turned it into a muddy mess. Instead, I directed them to our pumpkin rotting bed where they made some nice, gooey mud, which they called the "fairy swimming pool." (Josephine quietly told me that no fairy would actually swim in mud.)
Ultimately, I'm hoping that we can create an area of these container fairy garden plots adjacent to where we do our outdoor art projects. But first we need to teach the children to respect one another's creations. They already do it in the block area. We just need to transfer that ethic to the outdoors.
We celebrate birthdays and half-birthdays by having the children bringing in a piece of poster board with pictures that they choose to illustrate the important people and things in their lives. They get to sit in our special birthday throne and tell us about their pictures.
Isak has a special relationship with maps and decided to augment his "special day board" with a drawing of a map of the world and a map of the U.S. His mother told me that he really wanted to draw his own maps, but would get frustrated when he couldn't reliably recreate the geographic shapes. He then had the idea of taking his map puzzle pieces and tracing them. Pretty clever. (Sorry about the poor photos, but you get the idea.)
The United States of America
Allie over at Baker's And Astronauts has posted her classes entry in the international tape-off. Very impressive! I believe she's over in Europe. The tape-off is truly worldwide.
And Miss Pamela has just posted a terrific update on the Alderwood House Shool's efforts, including an expose on the benefits of using scissors. Woodland Park's secret is out!
This is getting exciting!