Through a variety of hands-on activities, our Upper School and Montessori students moved from center to center learning about the mechanics of different bird beaks. Focusing on the beaks of songbirds, hummingbirds, woodpeckers, water fowl, and tropical birds, they learned how beaks work and how birds eat and feed their young. Specialized beaks enable birds to pick up seeds and insects, “drill” for insects, crush nuts and shells, drink nectar from flowers and blossoms, and filter water. Amazing!
The Extended Day field trip to Fractured Prune was pure delight! We traveled together on our buses (some riding for the very first time) to the creative donut shop in Leesburg. We sat on cushy stools as we watched and learned about the batter turning into an ‘O’. The ‘O’s were fried, then down the conveyor belt they went where they picked up and brought to the toppings station. We talked about how a glaze was like sugar glue that helped our toppings stay on. Each child was able to create their own delicious donut with chocolate and marshmallow glazes being the fan favorites. They added their own toppings to boot.
After we created our donuts, we enjoyed them together picnic style with our friends. There was a fun play area to climb, jump, and run out all that sugary goodness. We then hopped back in the buses, and headed back to the school with the biggest smiles and loudest giggles. It was definitely a fun day to remember!
Thank you to all our chaperones and teachers for making the day so special!! We appreciate it so much!
Our October 11 WonderLab STEAM activity focused on OWLS and what they eat. Citizen Scientists from the JK Giraffes, PreK Honeybees, and Montessori Ladybugs (2pm dismissal) classes discovered what these nocturnal creatures eat by dissecting owl pellets and finding bones. By matching their discoveries of skulls, vertebrae, hip, rib, leg and shoulder bones to bone sorting charts, they learned about owls’ diets. So just what do owls eat? Lots of rodents (mice, moles, voles and rabbits), birds, and sometimes snakes!
Our Upper School classes were rockin’ with Rocks in WonderLab STEAM activities guided by our Director of Curriculum, Paula Shapiro! Using magnifying glasses to observe, and hands-on to examine, our students learned about many types of rocks including granite from the coast of Maine, amethyst from Brazil and quartz from our own school grounds. They were especially intrigued by geodes and how crystal treasures can form inside rocks.
Please encourage your “Rock Hound” to collect and identify rocks in their own back yard! There are many wonderful kid-friendly books about rocks, gems and minerals such as: Let’s Go Rock Collecting by Roma Gass and Holly Keller, Rocks, Gems and Minerals, a Golden Guide from St. Martin’s press by Paul R. Shaffer, and National Geographic Kids’ Everything Rocks and Minerals: Dazzling Gems of Photos That Will Rock Your World by Steve Tomecek.
A weekend visit to the Smithsonian Natural History Museum might be in order to view the exquisite gems and minerals and of course, the Hope Diamond! Rocks rock!
Just wanted to give a big thanks to everyone who generously donated school supplies for the Hurricane Harvey School Relief Drive. It was a great success! We will be shipping these supplies down to Houston this week!
School is back in session! There was a sense of excitement and anticipation as everyone came ready for the first day of the new school year. Phones, Ipads, and even a few cameras captured those precious “first day of school” photos that will be looked at fondly for years to come.
Students attending our 3 Day and 5 Day Preschool and Montessori Classes arrived with their parents and were greeted with smiles throughout the school. Parents spent time transitioning their children into their classrooms and attended a short parent orientation. Our Upper School children waved goodbye to their parents at carpool and walked with an escort into their classrooms full of confidence as they started the school year.
Our Extended Day children transitioned last week into their classrooms as our School Age students worked on their routines at both their public school and at Village Green. Many new friends were made in the classrooms and on the playgrounds. Our teachers have planned even more activities this week to ensure that all of our children feel at home here at Village Green!
We look forward to a wonderful year together!
To honor Dr. Seuss, this year’s featured reading in Library was Yertle the Turtle as part of a STEAM activity. The students carefully counted, and then stacked up “turtles”; making sure to keep their construction balanced so that King Yertle was able to perch on top of the stack, sometimes only momentarily!
We also discussed one of the morals of this story: leaders need to be kind to the people they lead!
Our Citizen Scientists and their families kept count of the birds they saw over the long Presidents’ Day Weekend!
In class, the students’ tallies of sightings by bird type were added together for the grand totals written on the eggs that you see in each “nest”.
Each checklist submitted during the GBBC helps researchers at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the National Audubon Society learn more about how birds are doing, and how to protect them and the environment we share.
“Full STEAM Ahead!”
Play is a child’s work. There is a pattern of natural play behaviors that help prepare children for scientific study and thinking. We actively encourage play behaviors with rich STEAM activities that are intentionally integrated within the Comprehensive Curriculum.
Children are naturally curious. While playing, they cooperate and work together, practicing and learning essential skills like problem solving, sorting, observing, classifying, experimenting, predicting, drawing conclusions, connecting knowledge and communicating their ideas.
You can see the scientific process in action at VGDS in the classrooms, in the hallways, on the playground, and outdoors in the School’s surrounds. Real, meaningful experiences inspire children to extend their learning into their everyday play and exploration of the world around them. It’s a two way street. Natural play encourages scientific thinking. Children construct understanding and meaning which assists the transition from concrete to abstract thinking and the transfer of thinking skills to other academic domains. (Eshach & Fried, 2005; Ravanis & Bagakis, 1998).
The illustration on the far right shows a VGDS Junior Kindergarten (Giraffes) Science Journal.
The activities are recorded after the hands-on, indoor and outdoor activities have been experienced. The observations, thoughts, ideas, predictions and outcomes are recorded and shared in science journals. The Traditional Kindergarten (Pandas), class in addition, take part in a Science Fair with a display of, and conversation about, each child’s research, observations and recordings of birds in their backyards. This activity was conceived, designed and driven by our Curriculum Director Paula Shapiro. Our children and our teachers are so fortunate to be the beneficiaries of her enthusiasm and experience.
The experts agree, young children are motivated to explore the world around them, and early science experiences capitalize on this inclination (French, 2004). Young children need and benefit from quality hands-on science experiences that are related to their real-life experiences. At Village Green we embrace this and we make it happen. Watch out for opportunities to share Math Madness and Science Fair project experiences with your children at VGDS. Come along on our wildlife and local, nature fieldtrips. Yes, we let apples rot and we record the experience. Yes, we think a six week old pumpkin stinks, we wonder why, then, we figure it out! Yes, we dig for worms and turn over stones to see and catch grubs. A leaf is a yearlong companion in all its states. Mud is rich and soil is clean and our children are up to their elbows in nature and their senses are full.
Head of School
Our ART SHOWCASE was a spectacular event! It was wonderful to see our young artists “Get Dressed Up” and come with their families to view their beautiful creations on display the evening of March 22nd. Ms. Haden, our Art Specialist, helped the children select their best work from Art Class to put on exhibit.