Dear Rainbow Families,

The Rainbows continue to focus on spring, especially planting, gardens, and butterflies and caterpillars. The planting of the Rainbows’ lima bean seeds has been a huge success. First the Rainbows read Nina Crews’ version of “Jack and the Beanstalk,” then they went about planting. After cutting plastic bottles in half, the teachers had the Rainbows pour water into the bottom half and stuff a cloth into the neck of the bottle of the top half. The Rainbows then turned the top half upside down and placed it in the bottom half so the cloth was immersed in the water. The children then scooped dirt into the top half of the bottle, placed 4 lima bean seeds on the dirt, and covered the seeds with more dirt. The cloth, the children observed, then acted like a root, drawing water into the dirt to keep it moist. After making predictions of how many days it would take for the seeds to grow visible roots, the Rainbows checked inside the cloth every day until voila! – the roots appeared on day 5. The Rainbows have continued to tend and care for their lima bean plants, making sure they have enough water, as they watch them truly grow into beanstalks. They also used colored pencils on white paper – and their keen observation skills – to sketch their plants. Please check out these drawings on the closet doors.

The Rainbows have been learning and talking about gardens, along with their planting. They read “The Curious Garden” by Peter Brown, about a little boy who discovers a patch of beleaguered plants in his city neighborhood and through careful tending, transforms the patch into a garden. The children then followed up that book by drawing individual pictures and also a group picture of “a city garden,” complete with buildings, stores, apartment buildings, and gardens. The Rainbows also read “Grandpa’s Garden” by Stella Fry, with pictures by Sheila Moxley, a charming book about a boy who helps his grandfather prepare, plant, tend, and harvest his garden across the seasons. The Rainbows then talked about what kind of garden they could grow – answers included tomatoes, carrots, pears, lettuce, peppers, chile peppers, and strawberries. The teachers have bought seeds for many of these plants and the children have planted the tomato seeds, which are already growing! Please take a look on the table by the back window.

Butterflies and caterpillars have also been a focus in the Rainbow Room. The Rainbows started by reading “Where Butterflies Grow” written by Joanne Ryder and exquisitely illustrated by Lynne Cherry, a lyrical non-fiction book about the life cycle of the black swallowtail butterfly and the environment in which it grows. They then made their own butterflies by dolloping different colors of finger paint onto one side of a piece of paper, folding the paper in half so as to cover the paint, and then spreading the paint without touching it by pushing with their fingers across the folded paper top. When the children unfolded the paper, they could see a symmetrical “butterfly.” On another day the Rainbows read Eric Carle’s “The Very Hungry Caterpillar,” then made their own caterpillars out of squeezy tops, toilet paper rolls, pipe cleaners, paint, glue, and googly eyes; cocoons out of brown and white paper and paint; and butterflies out of tissue paper squares stacked together, then folded or squeezed and twisted together with pipe cleaners. All these creations can be found hanging from the ceiling. And we hope you enjoyed your child’s caterpillar snack made of pretzels, marshmallows, strawberries, and Cheerios – they had so much fun assembling them in their small groups. The Rainbows have also read the non-fiction books “Becoming Butterflies” by Anne Rockwell and illustrated by Megan Halsey, and “Amazing Butterflies and Moths” by John Still and photographed by Jerry Young. The latter book is being used to investigate the difference between a cocoon and a chrysalis. They also read “Where Does the Butterfly Go When It Rains?” by May Garelick, a lovely book that encourages children to think and observe, just like scientists. (And if you don’t know the answer, please ask your child!) Afterwards the Rainbows played a game in which they acted out the different animals in the book and what they do in the rain, while Iris sprinkled pretend rain on each Rainbow child. And finally, the Rainbows made their own illustrations of butterflies in a garden, first by using pastels to draw a garden and then using stamps with paint to make butterflies and caterpillars. Very busy and engaging indeed!!

Important Notice – Please bring in empty 2-liter plastic bottles. The teachers need these for more planting. Thanks!!

Have a great weekend!