Shulamith Early Childhood Center incorporates best practices with every learning experience. Educational researchers agree that young children learn best through authentic experiences. Knowing this, Shulamith invited a petting zoo to visit the early childhood center to give the children the opportunity to see, touch, smell, and feed real animals. This hands-on experience is a perfect way to enhance their understanding of Parashat Noach.
All of the students enjoyed feeding, touching, and observing the petting zoo animals. They wanted to know why the rabbit’s ears were not standing up and wondered where the eggs were that the chicken laid. They were fascinated by the dove that Russel the zookeeper brought especially for Parashat Noach.
The nursery children continued their exploration of animals with the arrival of an exciting addition to their classroom: a beautiful Betta fish. The children were thrilled to observe its every movement and think of a name for their pet. They increased their vocabulary by discussing the parts of a fish and read many books about fish. The story “Rainbow Fish” tied in beautifully and helped them think about treating each other nicely.
The kindergartners are looking forward to learning more about animals when their classmates’ pets come to visit Shulamith ECC. They are also interested in the fall season and look forward to finding out what animals do in the fall to prepare for winter. They are excited about the rainbow that Hashem made in the sky in Parashat Noach and were fascinated to discover that you can mix primary colors to make a whole rainbow of colors. Color paddles, prisms, and mixing tubes at the science table provide opportunities for exploration and investigation. Finger painting in the art area offers children real “hands-on” experience.
The petting zoo visit was an excellent way to launch the Pre-1A children’s first research topic: animals. Each child will choose an animal to research. Using nonfiction books, children learn about the format of informational text and how to find the knowledge they seek in books. Children work independently, in small groups and one-on-one with a teacher, as their knowledge increases. Each young researcher will then use the facts that she learned to create an animal riddle to share with the class. The disciplines of language arts, math, and science merge together with self-esteem and creativity as the children proudly share their riddles with their classmates.
At Shulamith ECC, the children are having a wonderful time learning about the wonders of the animal kingdom. As they learn more and more, they come to appreciate the beauty of Hashem’s world.