Every day is the best day ever from their point of view.
Episcopal kindergarten teacher Sara Henderson is quick to say that she and her fellow kindergarten teachers, Maria Campbell and Erin Dufour, have the best job at Episcopal. “We take children where they are and help them grow where they are planted,” says Henderson. “We get to be the lucky ones to foster a love for learning.”
Recently, the kindergarten team has been encouraging that love and an exploration of the world through the annual five senses project-based learning unit. Henderson says as students learn about their senses of touch, taste, smell, sight and hearing, they are encouraged to think like a little scientist. The five and six-year-olds make observations and meet milestones such as learning to sort objects based on their properties and how to represent information in a variety of forms using graphs, charts and tables.
The five senses project had to be revised this year due to current pandemic restrictions. “We usually start this project off with a visit from the mobile zoo and the five senses package, we are really just trying to make things we have done in the past more hands on, more fun and bring those things into the curriculum across subject areas,” says Henderson. She says this year students are exploring using items that can be brought into the classroom, such as kinetic sand, water beads, writing sight words in coarse salt, oobleck and shaving cream. “We were able to tie our five senses into our math unit of texture,” says Henderson. “We tied in with art and the color wheel. Just trying to make as many connections as we can within our new perimeters.
While teachers are finding creative ways to make the lesson enjoyable, it is also obvious that the simple act of being together is bringing tremendous joy as well. “We are so excited to be with our littles,” says Henderson. “We are thankful to be here each day. It looks different, sounds different, but feels the same. I love seeing the wonder in their eyes when we talk about being scientists, authors, illustrators, mathematicians and learners. It is a blessing to be teaching all the time, even in this new tricky time we are in.”
Kindergarten is an important time in a student’s educational journey as they transition into “big kid” learning. It’s also a time when learning is still filled with the wonder of childhood. It’s great to see that school is so much fun, thanks to a community of dedicated teachers who make every lesson an adventure in learning.