Warm weather arrived for all of us, and with these lovely days, we have spent some very enjoyable times outside with all kinds of water play as we bask in the sun, letting water and sun do wonders to the growing plants and to growing children. It’s amazing, but I can see growth spurts in the children this week. Maybe you have noticed this as well. A child once told me that all we need is sun, good soil, and water and rain to grow…
Abraham Maslow was a theorist and a keen observer of humans. In his work, he described a hierarchy of needs that are common to humans. The hierarchy shows us what basic needs must be met before children can focus on learning. The teachers at Peacock are carefully tuned into these needs as they are planning curriculum and as they are approaching each child in the classroom. These basic needs can be described as follows:
Physiological needs are hunger, thirst, and bodily comfort. As we all know, hungry, tired, or sick children have a difficult time focusing on tasks, and learning in a classroom is no exception.
Safety needs focus on security and freedom from danger. When children know they are safe and that no harm will come to them, they then can feel free to reach out to others and explore their environment. At Peacock, these needs are continually met and one can sense all the time that this is happening as the children move throughout their day and learn all of the exciting things they are learning.
The need for belongingness is an important one that is about being comfortable with and connected to others because we feel received, accepted, respected and loved. When a child feels this connectedness and belongingness, learning is enhanced, and this child’s self esteem is at a healthy level. In curriculum planning and in daily interactions that the teachers here at Peacock have with the children, this need for belongingness is paramount and is continually addressed.
Lastly, the need for esteem is about self respect and respect from others. Esteem occurs when a child experiences every day opportunities that allow them to discover that they are competent and capable learners. If a child’s daily experiences are for the most part successful and positive, then their sense of self grows. An environment that offers children new tasks that they can master, and that recognizes their efforts, helps children see themselves as respectable, capable human beings.
These ideas of the basic needs blend well with the previous writing Jan and I have done on attachment. We all, or least most of us want our children to become adults with a capacity for empathy and connection. The greater this capacity, the more it eliminates aggression in raising children and ultimately decreases aggression in our society.
Forming and nurturing strong connections challenges us as parents and caregivers to treat our children with kindness, respect, and dignity, and to model our interactions with them in the ways we would like them to interact with others.
So, in this vein, as the children have been getting all their basic needs met at Peacock, what have they been doing in each of the classrooms?
In the infant room, walks to the water have been a sheer delight. Feeling the warm air, the gentle breezes, crawling on the grass, and smelling the flowers blooming along the way have been part of this experience. They now get very excited when they are approaching the water sculpture by Pegasus cafe. Inside Peacock, they have spent some great quality time on the mat, interacting with each other and testing out their abilities, picking things up, moving to an all fours position, touching their friends and seeing their reactions…
In the toddler room, Petra and Haleigh have again transformed the room into a fabulous environment for the happy active toddlers. Transportation has been the theme, and trucks have been part of their play up and down the ramp that Petra brought in. The have practiced taking turns on this ramp, and have had great fun doing this. The children made their own car with a cardboard box and they painted it, afterwards riding in it to take great adventures.The color theme of the week has been red, and they “painted the town red” with the big mural they designed for the hallway. Water play was thrilling this week, where some children got their entire bodies wet, and others had fun getting their hands wet and pouring water, washing the dishes that the teachers put out to wash.
We head downstairs to the Green Room where Heather, Betsy, and Tyler have been engaging the children in many exciting activities centering around bugs. They made a mural with grass and flowers and bugs and insects. They have painted butterflies that are hanging up in our hallways. And with eyedroppers and coffee filters, they made lovely colored butterflies. Going along with their yellow color theme, they made a poster of yellow, and had all kinds of yellow things that they painted and glued. The cooking project of the week is making muffins, and ooblek, cornstarch mixed with water was great fun to mix in their hands. The warm weather brought out babies to wash and water to pour, and the children spent a very long time engrossed in these activities. On walking Wednesday, the children went to the Waterfront Park, where they got to swing, and climb and jump and hang to their heart’s content.
Back upstairs to the Blue Room, Shari has again engaged the children in a plethora of invigorating and stimulating learning activities. Bugs and spiders have taken a prominent role in this room this week. They made spiders out of crackers, sun butter and raisins. They studied about and then made a real ant hill that they invited real ants to join and live in. They continued working on their bug books. They made spider webs out of string. They are reading the Spiderwick Chronicles, and they sang “The eensy weensy spider.”
For their science experiment of the week, they brought wilted carrots back to life by pouring sugar water over the carrot. They also painted pictures of vegetables, and they talked about the difference between fruits and vegetables. The letter of the week continues to be “I”.
Christine’s delicious concoctions continue with the following menu:
On Monday lunch we had Make your own bean and cheese burrito with tomato and avocado.
On Tuesday we had chicken salad with celery and grapes in mini whole wheat pita bread.
On Wednesday we had lentil chili with kiwi and french bread.
On Thursday we had spaghetti with TVP and boiled broccoli.
On Friday we had lemon basil potato salad with turkey dogs.
So there you have it. Our exciting week at Peacock where the children’s basic needs are continually being met, and where our everyday interactions and our curriculum demonstrate this.
Enjoy your weekends.
with warmest and kindest regards,