Fall, Harvest, Families, Food: November Classroom Themes in the Green Rooms (3 year olds)

At 76th Street, a three-year-old class painted and decorated their own pumpkins to take home.
At 76th Street, a three-year-old class painted and decorated their own pumpkins to take home.

The month of November truly reflects the season of fall here in New York City.  The weather is noticeably cooler, the leaves on the trees have changed colors, and with the recent celebration of Halloween, fall finally feels upon us.  At The International Preschools, fall, food, families, and Thanksgiving are the topics that we focus on within the classrooms from late October through November.  The blog posts over the next few weeks will focus on how these themes are implemented into the classrooms.  This week, we will take a look at Halloween and the overall theme of fall in the Green Rooms (3 year olds) at all three locations….

The full-day 3s at 45th Street explore the inside of a pumpkin.
The full-day 3s at 45th Street explore the inside of a pumpkin.

Many classrooms used pumpkins as a focal point for their fall/Halloween studies. Pumpkins are a great fall symbol that can be used in science experiments, art projects, and provide a connection between the fall season and the holiday of Halloween. At 86th Street, one class observed the structure of a pumpkin (stem, seeds), learned a song called “Five Little Pumpkins,” and created paper plate jack o’lanterns to bring home.  Some of the 76th Street children used their five senses during science class to explore a pumpkin; they touched the outside, smelled the inside, described what the pumpkin looked like, tapped on the carved pumpkin to hear what sound it made, and tasted the (roasted) seeds from inside the pumpkin.  Other children at 76th Street used the pumpkins in a combined math and science activity; the class compared the sizes and heights of two different pumpkins.  They were also asked to predict whether the size of the seeds inside each pumpkin would be different, based upon its sizes.  The full-day class at 45th Street also practiced comparing items, but instead of two pumpkins, the children compared one pumpkin to their previous study of apples, determining what was alike and what was different between the two items.

The Green 3 (3s) children created a fall shadow box, using leaves, acorns, and other items found in nature in the fall.
The full-day 3s class at 86th Street created fall shadow boxes, using leaves, acorns, and other items found in nature in the fall.

Some of the three-year-old classes have focused on trees and leaves during their fall units.  At 86th Street, a class observed and discussed the changes that occur between summer and fall:  the weather gets cooler, leaves change colors on the trees, and jackets are needed to keep warm.  At 45th Street, one class had a great time exploring a variety of nature items found outside during the fall with magnifying glasses, including leaves and acorns.  The children have been encouraged to bring in items that they find on nature walks with their families, further enhancing the school-to-home connection.  Another class concentrated on the colors that we see outdoors during the fall; the children participated in a color mixing activity, using two fall colors (red and yellow) to create a third (orange).

Next week, we will learn more about fall themes in the IPS classrooms with a visit inside the Crèche (1.5s-2 year olds) and Red Rooms (2 year olds).

To be continued….

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