We are really happy that summer has returned to Ireland! It is brilliant to be able to take advantage of the warm afternoons in the park playing with our friends. Its just the kind of relaxation we need after all our hectic project work for Open Day 2012.
This years Open Day was on Saturday 12th May and we were delighted to have so many visitors. Our students came with their families and friends and were so good at explaining all our hard work and projects to everyone. It was great to see so many new faces too, we look forward to getting to know you all better.
The students are eager to share their work with all our blog readers so here is a little recap of the projects and classwork.
The Preschool Class studied the lifecycle of the frog and the difference between frogs and toads. They learned the poem Five green & Speckled frogs and played the Speckled frog game. Playing games and learning poetry appeals to those that learn best through movement (kinaesthetic) and song (verbal).
We have many types of learners in our community and it is in our early years classroom that we observe the children first, to discover their learning styles. This is information that will be invaluable as they grow with us, enabling us to tailor the presentation and content of lessons to each child’s learning style.
In Geography the pre-schoolers tackled the continent of North America, they learned about animals and plants native to the continent. They also created their own personal totem poles to represent themselves and made dream catchers. I love the airplane with a photo of the whole class “flying to America”.
Our Science corner was very popular and we created lots of hands on learning experiences with the children to explain light and colour, wind and weather.
For many visitors their favourite part of the pre-schooler’s displays were the Self Portraits, listening to the children explain each part of the portrait to their family and classmates is adorable and the self confidence they show is a treasure to hold on to.
Finally the preschool class would like to share with you their Yoga classes that they have been taking with Lisa and Magna. They have learned lots of poses and are really enjoying them all.It’s a very fun and relaxing time for all.
Speaking of relaxing, its tough being a 3year old and when the world is just getting too much our pre-schoolers have a place they can revive their sense of chi.
The “Relax” Corner, has a soft mat, nice music and calming scents, plus soothing hand cream. It’s an express spa for toddlers! Namaste Pre-schoolers!
Things were no less busy in the reception class where Junior and Senior Infants studied Dinosaurs and The Evolution of Humans.
The project Walking with the Dinosaurs was really fun, each student picked one of our model dinosaurs to take home for a weekend. They named it and brought it on an adventure, took photos and made a Dinosaur presentation with the information and images. Very personal and very informative. Projects like this allow the students to express their uniqueness, the idea of the students as people in their own right is really emerging in this class, and they are encouraged to foster a sense of themselves, their abilities and individual natures.
The study of the evolution of humankind was fascinating, they learned about fossils and archaeology, making their own archaeological finds. Learning about early human kind, their tools and habitats gives the children an expanding sense of what it means to be human, what qualities we need to survive and what sets us apart. This is all incredibly important to the emerging sense of self our students have in this age group.
In geography reception class explored Europe and it’s Volcanoes, specifically Pompeii. They made a giant paper volcano for the fireplace, complete with falling ash!
Their handwriting samples bare testimony to how far they have come since the beginning of the term. Again with the study of early humankind, the use of tools has been one factor that sets us apart, mark making being one of the most important. These young students have made fantastic progress with their handwriting and it is obvious these students are going to be separate from the rest!
There was so much complementary work to the study themes available in the classroom, one of the ways of keeping the children absorbing without even trying is to incorporate the lessons into all the activities, art, practical life, history, creative storytelling, Aoife and Katie work hard to ensure that it all ties in making the learning is open-ended and personal to the children.
Check out the slide show at the end for more photos!
The Senior Class were not snoozing on the job either, they took on some weighty projects befitting our stately seniors students!
Flat Stanley showed us the world, as he embarked upon his travels to Hong Kong, America twice, (East and West Coast), South Africa, Amsterdam, Australia & Wexford to name but a few places!
He played things incognito by trying on various disguises, designed by the students and the seniors finally made kites of Stanley Lambchop so he could continue his adventure wherever the wind took him!
Speaking of weather, the seniors created a very 3D water cycle display board. I love the clouds and raindrops, very lifelike! It is complete with their learning rhyme (to the tune of She’ll be coming round the mountain) being our scientific seniors they also partook in some weather related experiments; Making Rain in a Jar and The Evaporation Experiment (disappearing water).
Of course these were not the only scientific experiments undertaken, studies of the heart and blood were the “piece de resistance” of this Science inspired Open Day project work.
A heart dissection had earlier taken place with Ashley and was documented in photos on the wall. They learned about the components of a drop of blood, making their own replica of microscopic particles of blood, drawing their interpretation for display. Studying the parts of the heart and lots of facts about blood they even made a quiz for parents. In fact we might get a copy and put it here in case you tried to skip the test!!
The wonderful thing about our learning community is how well the students and teachers know each other, the projects really are a culmination of months and years of discovering what each child is already fascinated by or what even more importantly, they can develop a love for.
The teachers on our staff prepare the topics armed with this knowledge and encourage the children with exactly the right information sparking the light of interest in each child confident that it will blaze within.
The senior class also displayed their linguistic ability as Gaeilge with their micro studies Mo Chorp and in English, with wonderful creative writing essays on display.
Of course there is lots of “all school” projects too, we don’t just stick to our classes, and many projects we enjoy come from our wonderful extracurricular classes, like ballet, music, drama, sport and new this year, Mandarin. In honour of the year of the dragon we extended our dragon project to include sample or our chinese calligraphy and phrases we have learned!
Now time for us to get to the park, and gear up for the summer term’s highlights of sports day and tennis camp!