Dear Bears Families,

Spring, along with gardens, have been the curriculum focus in the Bears Room these past few weeks. As hands-on, direct experiences are a critically important way for children to begin to understand the world around them, the Bears have taken several spring walks to observe the flowers and trees, even visiting the garden on the corner of President Street and Fifth Avenue. This past Monday they also took a walk to Prospect Park where they observed the different signs of spring, then played in the natural playground (the Zucker Natural Exploration Area) created from trees damaged by recent severe storms. It was an incredible experience for the children to engage in this natural setting, which by its very design encourages imaginative and unstructured play.

The Bears have been enjoying many different art activities focused on spring and gardens as well. They made a group “spring tree” by using crayons to depict a tree, grass, and flowers on brown butcher paper, then dipped their fingers in tempera paint and daubed them on the tree branches to make leaf and flower buds. Please check out this spring tree, displayed next to the Cozy Closet. The Bears also made tulip pictures by dipping plastic forks into tempera paint, then pressing the forks onto white paper to make the tulip petals; using green paint and paint brushes to make stems; and drawing dirt with brown crayons. You can view these pictures in the hallway, above the cubbies. The Bears also read “This Year’s Garden” by Cynthia Rylant, then created a flower garden together on a large piece of butcher paper, using tempera paint and small brushes to paint flowers, grass, birds, dirt, the sun, and raindrops, then adding butterflies they had made by cutting wings out of magazine pages and twisting pipe cleaners about the wings to make antennae. This garden is also displayed in the hallway. Some other books the Bears have read include “The Curious Garden” by Peter Brown, followed by a discussion of what they would like to grow in their own gardens if they were gardeners; “The Tiny Seed” by Eric Carle, followed by a discussion of where they would like the wind to blow them if they were seeds (responses included the jungle, Coney Island, grandparents’ homes, the desert, mountains, California, Florida, America, into water, Legoland, and “my house”); and the non-fiction “How a Seed Grows” by Helene Jordan to learn more about the growth of seeds into plants (in this case, an oak tree). Please check out what the Bears have learned about seeds, listed on a chart in the circle area.

The Bears have been very engaged in different classroom experiments these past weeks, thinking like scientists as they make hypotheses, set up their experiments, and observe what happens. One rainy day the Bears colored paper plates with markers and predicted what would happen if they took these plates out in the rain. Then they walked downstairs with their plates, stepped outside, held the plates under the rain, and observed how their marker designs ran. Please take time to look at these plates and the children’s hypotheses and keen observations, all displayed on the wall in the science area. Another day they read the Book “Rooting For You,” by Susan Hood (illustrated by Matthew Cordell), a delightful book about a seed overcoming its trepidation of growing up. The Bears had a follow-up discussion about planting seeds, then broke into their small groups to conduct an experiment on kidney beans and to predict what would happen. Specifically, they placed red kidney beans on top of a paper towel placed in an aluminum container, poured water on top of the beans, then placed the containers by the window. They have continued to water and observe these beans, checking to see the changes that are occurring. Stay tuned!

Important Dates:

Friday, May 15 – Collective t-shirt and tote bag sale during drop-off

Monday, May 25 – Collective closed for Memorial Day

Enjoy the rest of the weekend!