Thursday, May 24, 2012

Cherry Picking and Child-led Learning

I don't "cherry pick," but we do pick cherries.


The cherries are ripe, just, but with it being Memorial Day weekend and knowing we'll probably be spending our time busy at the farm or out on the boat, I didn't want to let them wait any longer. Last year we didn't get ANY. I waited too long to harvest and the birds got them.


So we harvested the cherries this morning. 

We got quite the haul, just from the ones we could reach. 
I'll get the ladder out later.


Concept/theme points we discussed:
  • Isn't this a nice cherry TREE.
  • The cherries have to be all RED with no BLACK or YELLOW spots to be ready to HARVEST.
  • We have to pull them from their STEMS.
  • The cherry tree doesn't have a lot of LEAVES. [It may look like it, but it's all bare inside where the children spent most of their time picking.]
  • Remember when it was covered in FLOWERS? 
  • Now those FLOWERS are FRUIT.
  • Inside the FRUIT are SEEDS. [broke one apart]
The children are always gung-ho when we start, then the little ones drift off to other activities, and eventually the older ones. Then they will drift back. I usually have at least one working with me at any given time.


H was helping, and she said, "Look Miss Connie, I'm IN the forest!" "Why yes you are, honey." She repeated it twice more. The teacher in me always goes "AH HA!" when a child repeats something three times. It tells me they are working on a concept and that it is important to them. 


So then I go into teaching mode.


"Okay, well let me know when you are OUT of the forest."
"Look, I am UNDER the tree!"
"Do you think you could fly OVER the tree?"
Giggles. "Nooooo."
"See all the cherries ON the tree? When we HARVEST cherries, we pull them OFF the tree and put them IN the bowl, don't we?"
"Yes. I am taking them off." Walks over. "Look Miss Connie, I am OUT of the forest. Look, I put the cherries IN the bowl."
"Good job, Princess."


The other children drifted around, hearing the exchange and sometimes participating. "Look! I'm ON the slide!" Proximity learning-just because they may not be actively involved, doesn't mean they aren't picking it up.


This went on for about fifteen minutes, off and on conversation. A good example of child-led and teacher-facilitated learning. Since I know this is a concept she is working on, I'll make certain to incorporate more positional instruction for a while. I don't "cherry pick" my child-led learning opportunities. I try to take everything they present to me, because a child actively involved in their own learning processes, is a child with unlimited potential. 
Tags: garden, harvest, theme, unit, preschool, pre-k, prek, teaching, plants, childcare, daycare, parenting, math, science, language, literacy, positional statements, vocabulary

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