Here is the perspective of Becca Holbrook, a teacher of young children at the Addison County Parent Child Center:
As the snow continues to melt in early March, multiple children have taken interest in finding worms, centipedes, spiders, chipmunks and birds in their environment. We teachers decided to encourage their curiosity by creating a lesson to continue to grow children’s interest in observing different types of birds.
To begin, teachers read ”The Little Book of Woodland Bird Songs” by Andrea Pinnington and Caz Buckingham to encourage mindfulness both inside and outside of the classroom. Teachers talked with children about how their bodies felt when listening and concentrating on each individual bird sound.
Quickly it was discovered through conversations that the majority of children observe birds high in the sky. When we wondered how to get them to be closer so we could observe them better, the youngsters had many ideas. The kids decided that using binoculars and building a bird feeder would help our observations. Teachers gathered birdseed, plastic bags, pinecones from a Fall adventure, sun butter, butter knives, string. It was a joyful mess! And when we were done, we hung the feeders on a tree across from the playground so we could see them.
In addition to children making connections to the natural world, this project also provided lots of opportunity to focus on their social emotional development.
The children engaged in conflict resolution, problem solving, taking turns, safety awareness, and impulse control. The activity required a lot of children’s planning and sequencing, both in the broad plan and in the individual activity.
Many interesting conversations and other activities grew from this particular subject – with kids spending hours engaged in imaginative dramatic play, being curious about the habitats of other animals, and drawing spiders and other bugs.