This was a project based on the classic Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister. We talked about what makes each us special; it was so sweet to hear their candid thoughts about themselves and their pals (some were, of course, more introspective than others). I gave them various materials to make a colorful fish, and then I wrote down what they told me their special qualities were on silver “scales.” After, in true Rainbow Fish spirit, each kid chose one scale to keep and one scale to give away to a friend! We talked about how sharing ourselves with others makes us and those around us feel special and cared for.
For Earth Day, we read “The Honeybee” by Kirsten Hall. We often got bees at school and some of the kids were scared of them, so I wanted to cultivate appreciation for all the things bees do for our planet (while of course validating their scared feelings)! The kids made bee antennae to wear, so they could get in character and use their imaginations to “pollinate” flowers. Flowers they made from tissue paper petals were filled with different colors of water; as they used eye droppers to pollinate flower to flower, they got to experiment with color mixing.
I love developing projects to fit individual children's specific needs, even in group settings- this one came about when a child I was working with was having a lot of trouble coming back to "homeostasis" after experiencing big emotions. We made this spinning wheel together, and brainstormed ideas of things that made her feel comfortable and happy after a big wave of emotions. After this, she knew she could go get her wheel from her cubby and give it a spin whenever she needed.
In addition to a traditional "Space Week" at school, I included this constellation project- we acted out a kid friendly version of The Seven Sisters and Little Coyote, a constellation legend told by the native people of Shasta, California. Then, the kids dreamed up their own constellations and told us their accompanying legends!
This kid went through a major plant loving phase, and wanted to keep track of everything growing in her home! We made these plant trading cards, complete with each plants likes/dislikes, mood, and the gardening "experience level" you need to take care of it.