“I have a bed. It’s not a big girl bed yet, but we are making it into a big girl bed soon. There’s a lot of things in the kitchen you know? I like to help momma in the kitchen.”
PreK-3 students are immersed in their annual lesson on homes. For 12 weeks, the youngest Knights have studied all aspects of homes, including what can be found inside a home, how they are constructed and different types of homes. With the construction underway on Episcopal’s campus the last two years, this project has expanded to include lengthy discussions on the actual construction process. Last year’s PreK-3 students frequently visited the Academic Commons build site and this year’s students are just as enthusiastic about the new athletic field house.
Teachers Kristen Cascio and Karen Murchison use creative concepts to make the lesson meaningful for three year olds. Students bring in photos of their own bedrooms and discuss how their rooms are similar and different from their classmates. During any given week, these little Knights can also be found taking a campus tour where they make observations about the buildings and structures. “This helps them notice the big world outside themselves,” says Cascio.
In true PreK-3 fashion, the building unit includes plenty of hands-on activities. Students got their hands dirty recently as they worked with Academic Technology Coordinator Betsy Minton to mix their own cement foundation using flour, water, salt, sand and aquarium rocks. As they learn more about the steps for building a structure, students use Legos, Lincoln Logs and other building materials to recreate structures. They also tap into their creativity by drawing, painting and making journal sketches of houses.
The three year olds enjoy the experience and they are achieving several developmental milestones along the way. As they compare windows and doors, they are learning to notice similarities and differences and make connections. With each stroke of the paintbrush, they are exercising spatial awareness. As they test the stability of their cement, they are making observations and even drawing journal sketches of the experience. At three years old, students are eager to learn and excited to share. Much of the learning they do is absorbed through purposeful play, such as that in the building unit.
Just as a home begins with a strong foundation, an education is also established with a strong foundation of mastering the basics and developing an enthusiasm for knowledge. The annual PreK-3 building lesson is a great example of encouraging this early love of learning. The new Episcopal Quest Center for Lower and Middle School is sure to provide even more new and exciting opportunities for students to learn. The space will be located within a renovated Foster Hall and will be designed specifically with the needs of Lower and Middle School students in mind. Students will have access to project and experiential-based spaces equipped with microscopes, digital data collection tools and areas for science experiments, aquaponics and gardening. The Chemistry Kitchen, Investigation Station and Early Childhood Design Studio are sure to inspire young learners as they expand their world.
Looking for books to read with your little builder? Below is a list of the books used in the PreK-3 building lesson. If you have a favorite building-related book, leave a suggestion below in the comment section.