When it comes to being thankful, what tops the list for Episcopal PreK-3 students?
Being a stormtrooper at Halloween
The Knock Knock Museum
My mom reading books to me at night
Daddy swimming in the ocean with me
They may be the tiniest Knights, but they have very big hearts. Episcopal PreK-3 students studied Thanksgiving recently in their own version of a project-based learning activity. After teachers Kristen Cascio and Karen Murchison explained what it means to be thankful, the students were able to share what they are most grateful for this season. A sample of their list above reminds us that the world is truly full of blessings and gifts if we just look for them.
Surrounded by learning stations, books, puzzles and bright windows in the classroom behind the Greer Center stage, these youngsters explored Thanksgiving through food. Students and their teachers cooked popular side dishes such as satsuma cranberry sauce (aka red Jello in PreK-3 world!), honey butter, fresh green beans and pumpkin pie. Befitting a group of three year olds, the students got their hands messy and sticky while squeezing the juice from the satsumas. They also enthusiastically tried their hand at mixing and stirring and took turns following recipes.
To prepare for the annual PreK-3 Thanksgiving feast with parents, students also made one-of-a-kind handprint turkey hats complete with brightly colored feathers. Students enjoyed stringing the letters of their name onto a necklace to showcase their name on feast day. “At three they take such ownership of their name,” said Murchison as she sat at a little table preparing the hats for the big day. She says it was exciting to see the students recognize the letters of their name and make sure they had them all.
Cascio and Murchison say there is much more than stirring, gluing and stringing happening. They say while cooking the food is fun, it is also an opportunity to integrate a study of the five senses. As students were cooking, teachers asked them to smell, taste and even listen to their food (imagine the sound of a crunchy green bean). Students also shared their thoughts and ideas using complete sentences and used new vocabulary words they acquired through conversations, activities and books. Relating new foods to the senses even convinced some students to try the foods for the first time to the delight of many parents. While parents will enjoy the handprint turkey hat, Cascio says making hats and stringing beads is also a perfect opportunity to boost fine motor skills. All of this aligns with PreK-3 milestones and reinforces the overall goal of creating an awareness of the world around us.
Looking for a way to impart the meaning of Thanksgiving to your little Knights? Cascio and Murchison say the books "The Thankful Book" by Todd Parr and "Thanksgiving is for Giving Thanks" by Margaret Sutherland have helped them with the Episcopal three year olds. After hearing the books at story time students were definitely ready to celebrate.
Happy Thanksgiving from the Episcopal Class of 2032!