One of my favorite parts about being an educator is helping to ignite curiosity and watching the kids enthusiasm as they immerse themselves in exploring. There have been so many instances this year where I have simply needed to point out something I find interesting, and the kids will launch into their own exploration and discussion.
One of my favorite occasions of this happened before break. We have frequently talked about tracking and animal evidence throughout the year. While on a wander, we came across a boot print in a pile of dirt. I casually pointed it out as “people evidence.” That was all it took. The kids immediately launched their own investigation. They discussed the print size, and determined it likely came from a child’s shoe by comparing my shoes size and a few of their own to the print. Then, they all took turns stomping in the dirt next to the shoe print to see if the print came from one of their shoes. This turned into a full examination and discussion of shoe tread shapes and designs. The discussion went on for several minutes, with the entire group contributing thoughts and observations. While the kids determined the shoes print belonged to no one in our group, we never did solve the mystery of who actually made the print. Though the mystery remains, my awe at how they took something we discussed with regards to animals to a whole new level and made their own connections and conclusions remains. It was incredible to watch the group work together and become so immersed in exploration and discovery.
My group consistently engages in child led spontaneous learning. While I love watching this occur, I think what I love most about working with my group was perfectly captured the first day back from winter break. All through snack and free play, it was so obvious how excited and happy the kids were to just all be together again. Whether all in a large group chatting, or working in smaller groups together to build forts, play games or adventure, there was constant giggling, excitement and support. It has been so wonderful to watch their relationships develop, and witness how much they just genuinely love being around each other. It really makes every day an absolute joy to work with them, and I cannot wait to see what the rest of the year holds!