For the golden butter and the honey from the bee
For fruits and nuts and berries we gather on the way
We thank you for the food we eat we thank you everyday
(Our food blessing)
We've had a warm first week of September, with summer not prepared to give up. Earlier in the week, we enjoyed hearing and watching a hearty thunderstorm from the nursery window, and then had the fun of splashing in puddles. There's been some harvesting in the garden; our Scarlet Runner beans, although not too tasty, are a beautiful treasure when you've managed with young fingers to pry open a pod.
As all of the children are new, we are taking things slowly and allowing the children time to adapt to the daily rhythm. The morning greeting/circle is simple:
Good morning dear Earth (arms in a circle held downwards)
Good morning dear sun (arms in a circle above head)
Good morning dear stones (hands in fists held down)
And flowers every one (hands like a flower near the heart)
Good morning dear beasts (one hand "pets" the other)
And birds in the trees (hands held high, flapping)
Good morning to you, and good morning to me (hands, arms stretched out to others, then clasped to heart)
I follow this with very simple fingerplays so that the children get used to the rhythm of sitting together and listening as a group. Fingerplays are actually a very helpful tool for brain development. For one, they help establish an awareness and control of the body and how it moves. As you can imagine, learning to control your hand movements is an aid much later to drawing and writing. In addition, by using movements that cross the body's midline, they help to connect both halves of the brain. The rhyming of the poems helps language development and later on, reading. But mainly, they are just fun.
Here's a cup (hold out hand in fist)
And here's a cup (hold out other hand in fist)
And here's a pot of tea (stick out thumb on one hand)
Pour a cup for you (pour into one "cup")
And pour a cup for me.
Another one that has helped the children learn one another's names is this:
Two little blackbirds sitting on a wire (stick two thumbs up)
One named Jamie and one named Simeon
Fly away Jamie (fly your thumb away)
Fly away Simeon (fly the other off)
Come back Jamie (bring one back)
Come back Simeon (bring other back)
These are both very simple, and we'll do much more exciting ones later, but they are long enough for the children to concentrate and just right for this period of time while they're getting used to the rhythm. We also read a book, "The Little Red Hen" before lunch each day. I will tell stories using simple homemade puppets and wooden animals, as well as my "story apron", but for now I chose to just read a book, which most children are familiar with how that activity goes. This way we establish another quiet together time before lunch.
I have to say that my favorite part of this week has just been watching how the children work SO HARD! Watching children who have not long ago learned to walk, and seeing how every inch of their body works. Careful, tentative feet reaching below to find a rung on the ladder, or the ground beneath the picnic table. Lifting a heavy pump handle and figuring out how to center the body behind it so that it can be lifted straight up. Holding a cup and trying to tilt it just right to get water into one's mouth and successfully set it down again. I am amazed at how many times children will pick themselves back up and attempt an activity over and over again. They are always striving. It's so wonderful to watch.