I can’t help myself. When I see ants, I think of PreK. During these summer months, there is no shortage of opportunities for such sitings. For example, I recently spotted a colony aggressively partaking of a discarded roadside piece of pepperoni pizza. There were easily 200 ants on the 4-bite size of pizza. Another morning I noticed the ripe fruit of a saguaro lying in the sand, its bright red insides exposed to the sun. When I looked closer, I saw a pack of ants feasting joyfully. It was a larger type of ant than the pizza ants. On yet another occasion, I stopped to make a short video of two ants working in collaboration to move a piece of something that looked like a leaf. The piece of something was considerably larger than both ants. How they do this is beyond me. I’m guessing if I really wanted to know, I could ask one of our recent PreK students.
For two months, their classroom was transformed into a giant ant nest, as PreK students acquired vocabulary such as mandible, pupa, thorax, and entomologist. Through using their whole bodies they learned how ants work together to lift heavy objects (like the ones I saw). They used role playing to gain understanding of the life cycle of the ant, as described in a weekly blog:
“The queen gently taps his wand onto a friend’s head to “lay an egg” and she falls to the ground, tucking her head, arms, and legs into her body. The first stage in the life cycle of an ant is being represented here. Suddenly, there are eggs everywhere and the worker ants begin to do their jobs. They lead the eggs through a tunnel and into another “room” and care for them with gentle back rubs. Next, eggs hatch and transform into wiggly larvae. They’ve entered the second stage of the life cycle, as they move around on the floor like worms and lift and lower their bodies to show they’re hungry. The workers feed them blocks that they have found in our building zone and the larvae eat, and eat, and eat some more.”
When a large sunflower was ready for harvest, the teachers took full advantage of the opportunity to teach students about the “husking room” and other parts of an ant nest. Again, using their whole bodies and all of their senses to reenact the food process, children gained greater access to understanding the ant world. As their teacher described it in her blog: “We continue to appreciate the mammoth sunflower plant as we pass it each morning, now remembering the experiences we had as harvester ants. Once we observed a tiny ant climbing its stem and, because of what we learned from our own adventure, we were certain we knew what she would do once she made it to the top.”
I tell you this story to give you a glimpse into PreK life at the Seed. It’s a living example of the emergent curriculum at its finest. We’re hoping to add a few more ants to the colony in the coming school year. Check out the PreK video on our home page: https://www.awakeningseedschool.org. Between now and October 1, 2018, we are offering a $150 discount for all referrals that result in a PreK signed contract for the 2018-2019 school year. Give us a call if you have questions or know someone who would like a tour: (602) 454-2606.