Art in the Woods!

It was a gorgeous week to be outside with the Nature Preschoolers last week. On Tuesday we spent time hiking and exploring a trail we have walked along before, while comparing the sizes and colors of leaves. The children walked along, sometimes holding hands with new a friend, exploring their natural world while the sun was shining bright. Our trusty volunteer, Gram, graciously brought handmade fleece "collection bags" she made for each child at school for all of their collecting while we are outside. The children love them! On Thursday, the children spent time collecting leaves and painting beautiful leaf pictures. 

During each day, regardless of the activity the children are engaged in- whether it's free play or a guided activity- there is so much opportunity for the preschoolers to practice social emotional learning. It is our goal not to rush children through a challenging situation with friends, rather to help guide them with problem solving tools and self regulation tools so they can build a strong foundation for taking care of themselves as they grow older. 

We have been practicing taking a "Peaceful Pause" when a child gets mad or if there is a disagreement. The child explains how they feel or why they are mad, then we PAUSE. We take 3 breaths in and out together, and repeat our class mantra: "I am calm, I am strong, I am kind, I am a good friend." Then we continue with problem solving. This has helped the children gain some compose before just yelling at a friend.  

"If a child feels frustrated when her blocks keep falling down, it is an opportunity to support the child’s ability to regulate that feeling. She can take some deep breaths to calm down and use that frustration as a motivation for doing things in a different way. Because life will be full of difficult emotions, it is critical to help children learn how to regulate the negative emotions with- out feeling bad that they have them." - Young Children, May 2011 

I noticed this week how much the children seem to be growing more familiar with our daily routine of circle time, free play, and cleaning up with meal times. Each week we are learning more about each child, and adjusting our daily routine to best fit everyone's needs. The group is really wonderful and each child's unique personality is starting to shine through just a little bit more each week.