A Place to Connect Teachers and Support Children

Catalytic Event

We had our catalytic event for our new project: Trees.

The children created the Trees for our Tree Project!

My assistant and I had just finished reading a book that was given to us by our director called Inspiring Spaces for Young Children.  During the early morning, several children started to decorate the poles that are in our classroom.  As they used paper to tape around the pole, Kara (my assistant) shared that it looked like the book we had been reading where the classroom used the poles in their classroom to construct trees.  One of the children asked Kara if she could bring the book into the classroom so the children could see it.  As they were creating, the rest of the children were with me at snack.  We began talking about what we knew was on trees.  The children created a long list of items which included: bark, branches, leaves, snow, birds, birds nests, and bird houses.  The children then created a list of materials for me to get when I took snack back.  These items included pipe cleaners, model magic, string, and “whatever looked tree like.”

Once the materials were brought to the children, Kara and I stood back encouraging the children to tell us what to do.  The children broke out in work sessions.   The children broke into groups including: wrapping the pole, coloring leaves, cutting tape and adding it to leaves, adding leaves to the trees, wrapping twine around the pole, making birds, birds nests, bird houses, covering paper towel rolls, and adding the rolls to the tree as branches.

Each child spent time creating something for the tree.  Some children spent thirty minutes in this process while others spent as much as two hours!!  As parents came in for pick-up, the children were so excited to share their hard work. 

How you can find the beginning of a project in your room…

  • begin documenting common threads on children’s play
  • share your ideas and thoughts with the teachers in your classroom
  • once you believe you have determined the common thread; bring in an item that would support that

Stay tuned for our next adventure!

-AIH

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Comments on: "Catalytic Event" (1)

  1. Debra Brownson said:

    This is so outstanding on so many levels. 1. How much the children already know about what is in a tree 2. How readily they took the lead in represting their own learning 3. How willing you and Kara are to give control to the children 4. How cooperative the children are 5. How supportive you are of the children’s interests
    What kinds of questions are the children asking?
    I’m so curious as to how this will unfold in that the catalytic event seems to be the children already representing their knowledge and generally this comes well after the children have had opportuntites to experience the project.
    The new edition of Young Investigators has more on children learning in nature. I’ve not had a chance to read it yet but I am very curious and will do so this weekend.

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