For the past several weeks, the Golden Eagles have been thinking as a class about the natural world of birds--drawing birds on our walks, discussing where birds live and come from, and pondering the importance of eggs and their nests. The particular bird behavior that we have explored this week has been nesting. Ms. Sonia and I are curious to see what aspect(s) of nesting appeal to the students, and how this could lead to a new avenue of investigation for the class.
On December 2nd, Zoe, Riley, Camerina, and Sonya joined our atelierista Ms. Gina out in the Garden to gather leaves and twigs. When the girls came back into the classroom, Ms. Gina encouraged them to build ‘nests’ with these materials. They took to this project with apparent zeal. Eventually, Riley asked for feathers to add, Zoe suggested sand, and Camerina requested “mud” (Ms. Gina brought out brown clay for lack of true ‘mud’). The ensuing project saw the students filling paper plates and wicker baskets with their choice of a range of materials.
The following day, our other atelierista Ms. Debbie repeated this nest experiment as a communal project. Ethan, Riley, Rayden, Camerina, Louis, and Ananya came together to invent and reinvent a “nest” structure made of twigs and bricks, and adorned with leaves, feathers, yarn, clay, and glitter.
On the third day of this project, Ms. Gina added hard-boiled quail and chicken eggs to the mix of previously used materials. These were invariably shattered and smashed, leading to a very different sensory play experience.
The ways that the Golden Eagles approached the materials in this 3-day project indicated a process-(rather than product-)oriented experience; the emphasis seemed to be less on comparing "my nest" to "your nest", and more about an open-ended exploration of the twigs and leaves, and on how they behaved, looked, and felt together.
Exploring natural materials is always an illuminating and enriching experience for students and teachers alike. This week’s nesting work indicates that this path will be a rich one for the Golden Eagles’ class work. Perhaps we will also begin to see a bit of the class’s proclivity towards dramatic play and storytelling seep into this work as well.
Until next time,