Nature Play On Vancouver Island

Nature Kindergarten On Vancouver Island

What Is A Friend?

"We'll be Friends Forever, won't we, Pooh?" asked Piglet.

Even longer,' Pooh answered.” 

My friends are family to me. They have been a part of my life for more than two decades. They know all of my secrets, my vices and my dreams. I trust them, love them and count on them. When I had my accident a few years ago they were there alongside me during my recovery and I knew then that I couldn't be more fortunate than to have them. 

At school the Kinders are on a journey to deepen their understanding about being a friend and add to their schema about friendship. Our big question around this is What makes a good friend? In our room the Kinders are already really good at sharing, helping and working together. But do those experiences make them friends or collaborative partners? Throughout our discussions some big ideas have emerged. Some believe that a friend is someone you play with on the weekend, someone who likes to play the same games as you and some believe a friend is someone who listens. (yes that blew me away too). I love this unit and am really enjoying their thinking and growth.

Most of the work has come through conversations, picture books and debriefing after our longer play blocks where students are able to link their experiences to friendship as we attempt to build meaning around these big ideas. 

Students have been partnered up for classroom work during this unit.|Together they have made partner handprint hearts, cooperative line paintings and played many partner math games like Kim Sutton's Two Makes Ten.

In writing we began with a circle map about friendship. During writing workshop there have been lots structured conversations which link their experiences and beliefs about friendship. The Kinders regularly use AB partner talk, think pair share and peer reading to practice their structured conversations. They are naturally beginning to write about friendship although I do have plans for some structured writing about friendship next week.

One of the key characteristics about being a friend that keeps emerging in our discussions is kindness. My student teacher, Miss Carroll, introduced a Friendship mural using the children's book,  Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister as a visual aid. To inspire and celebrate kindness (a group decision) we have begun to add scales to the fish as children are observed being kind. This is a powerful strategy to demonstrate growth to the Kinders as they practice being kind.

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