Our Very Own Tomato Factory

The summer heat, coupled with a very wet spring, has offered our rooftop garden, and especially our tomatoes, a thriving climate in which to grow.  Beginning in late May, we began to see the fruits of our labor. Since then, we have added the delicious fruit to our daily snacks on many occasions.  Yet, we still have plenty to spare.tomato.jpg

The Constructivist Class decided to share our bounty (and make some money) by setting up a tomato stand in the lobby.  The group spent time creating signage, discussing the market value of organic tomatoes as a means to price theirs, and in planning how to present them to potential customers.

In preparation for the sale, math came in handy.  For ease, they decided to sell two sizes, large and small.  Once separated into baskets, they priced them to sell.  50 cents for a small tomato and $1.00 for a large tomato.  “Ringing up” the orders proved to be a bit more challenging, yet presented the children with a great opportunity to utilize their new knowledge about money values.  “Four quarters is a dollar?” one child asked in wonderment.

By consensus, they agreed to use their profits to reinvest in the rooftop garden.  They plan to purchase seeds for a fall planting!




Rainy Day Fun

So far, Spring in Nashville has been wet!  For the year, rain totals are, on average, 8 inches above average.

Although we have access to a full-sized gym for daily active play, altering our outdoor play because of rainy weather can be a drag.  Or, it can be a blessing! When the downpours ease and the sun seeps through the rain clouds, we consider it nature’s invitation to come and play in the puddles. Our collection of rain boots and adventurous children makes outdoor play possible  even when it rains!

Girl Scout Service Project Benefits our Roof-top Garden!

Girl Scouts Work Toward Earning Their Bronze!

On April 19th, the Franklin Road Academy 5th Grade Girl Scout Troop reported for duty.  They offered to build a low level garden bed designed especially for our babies and young toddlers and boy, oh boy, did they deliver! Loaded with supplies — lumber, gravel, plastic, and dirt, they framed out and filled a spacious patch that will soon be filled with sod and surrounded by herbs.

girl scouts 2girl scouts 1

The babies will have a grassy spot to explore while experiencing the smell, flavor and sight of fragrant and healthy herbs.  On a fun note, Ava Jean Teague, one of the Scouts, was a McKendree kid!  We were delighted that she returned to our program to give back!










The Ducks Are Here!

During the week of March 19th, we were delighted to welcome new members to our McKendree Community!  OUR DUCKS HATCHED!

duck close up

Back in the fall, the Researchers Class of four year olds began an investigation of ducks that included a trip to Centennial Park to “duck watch”; experiments with oil on feathers, and LOTS of books describing the life of ducks.  As spring drew closer, the group ordered fertilized eggs from a hatchery and dusted off our incubator for an intense science experience.  Twenty-some days later, seven of the nine eggs hatched! The babies are growing fast and will go to live on a farm before the end of April.

The DUCK INVESTIGATION has offered rich experiences in math, science, and emergent literacy in addition to the opportunity for the children (and entire center) to marvel at that miracle of new life and community.

The Link Between Dispositions and Effective Learning

Recently I asked a group of four year olds, “What is one of your strongest skills?”  The children answered with confidence – “Dancing”, “Finding things”, “Playing the trumpet”, ”Solving problems.”  The children seemed to understand that the reference to “skills” was beyond the idea of rote mastery, and related more to DISPOSITIONS of learning – resourcefulness, creativity, cooperation, inventiveness, curiosity, independence, resilience, and persistence.

Strong teachers guide children’s learning in ways that support this type of development.  During an investigation of babies (a hot topic of interest in the Inventors Class), the teachers asked, “What do babies and big kids do differently?” baby projectOn the roof during a recent snow, the children sprayed colored water on snow mounds and ice creating breathtaking masterpieces.snowart  A group of two year olds lined up chairs and together took a “plane ride” to Chicago!  Sara offers a variety of open-ended art materials in the studio each day for “messing about”.studio choice The Pre-K children peer out the window “looking for clues” about the weather.  All of these activities demonstrate how McKendree teachers encourage dispositions to explore, create, make predictions and check outcomes, and develop divergent and imaginative thinking.

When programs focus primarily on facts and figures, these important dispositions often are ignored. Rather, attention to outcomes beyond subject knowledge are shown to sustain the development of young minds. McKendree teachers collect learning stories, paired with reflections that interpret a child’s competencies and dispositions toward learning, to tell each child’s unique story.  Documentation lines our hallways and classrooms that make this learning visible.  Additionally, teachers create and maintain a digital portfolio for children – a collection of observations, stories, and meaningful moments that illustrate important dispositions to learning.