As the Prekindergarten year draws to a close, students begin to engage in the study of homes, setting the stage for the communities they will investigate as part of our Social Studies curriculum beginning in Kindergarten. We began the project by asking the Narwhals, “What is a home?”
Here are some of the Narwhals’ ideas:
- It keeps you safe
- A place where you live
- It’s a place that keeps you warm
- If you don’t have a house, you don’t eat
- A building is a house
- They are made with different materials
- They are different sizes
- They are in different places
The Narwhals drew their own homes, paying special attention to shapes, straight or curved lines, colors, and features such as windows and doors.
In addition to sharing their prior knowledge and personal experiences with homes, we guided our students to generate questions that we can answer as the project progresses. The Narwhals wondered about how homes that don’t have kitchens make their food, and they also wondered about the difference between hotels and homes.
Next, the Narwhals were challenged to be scientists by using their observational skills on a neighborhood walk to explore what houses and homes around here look like. Immediately upon exiting the building, we saw a home across the street.
While observing this building they noticed:
- Bricks with color
- The houses are connected
- I see a barbeque stove outside
- Colors in the window
- I see a chair
The Narwhals worked together to count the total number of floors and shared observations of the shapes, colors and features of the building. The Narwhals then turned their attention to the Letterpress Studio on our side of North 7th St. We asked the Narwhals, “What about this building, is it a home?” The Narwhals all agreed that it was not. When asked why, here’s what they shared:
- There is no TV
- There are no chairs
- I think it’s a workshop where scientists work
One Narwhal noticed a sign in the window – maybe the sign could help the Narwhals learn what kind of place they were observing. Paule helped them to read the sign, “Letterpress Workshop.” We talked about what both of those words meant, and the students had many interesting ideas about what kind of business it was.
They continued their walk on to Havemeyer and observed the apartment building on the corner. They noticed the fire escapes, the detailing on the building, numbers and so much more. Noticing similarities and differences is a foundational skill we hone throughout Prekindergarten, and then use to make sense of our world in Kindergarten and beyond.
Paule Myers, M.S.Ed., Prekindergarten Head Teacher