Young children are natural scientists and often return from the playground with their pockets stuffed with rocks, seeds, leaves and other "treasures" that spark their interest. Kindergarten Faculty Bettina Greenberg and Kindergarten Assistant Faculty Morgan Desautelle know this about their students, so they invited the children to bring a "Found Object" to school to share with the class. Ms. Greenberg explains how children delight in this initiative, saying, "The children were proud of their objects and even the most hesitant speakers took the opportunity to speak about themselves. They explained why their object was special to them, where they found it, and who they were with when it was discovered."
This project-based teaching and learning approach, which is part of King's Reggio inspired early childhood program, allows young students to ask questions, gather data, develop hypotheses, express their understanding of the world through a multitude of resources, and teach others about their learning.
This ritual also proves to be a wonderful opportunity for the kindergarten class to learn more about one another. Some children brought in shells or sea glass from a beach they visited with their family over the summer and others brought in rocks from nature walks they took with their parents around their neighborhoods. Sometimes, children share an interesting button they found or a ribbon from a gift they have opened.
As an extension of this activity, the children were encouraged to more closely examine their object with a magnifying glass and then sketch a detailed drawing of what they noticed. Their eagerness to communicate their experiences through multiple medium and the excitement about the special object they discovered while exploring, led to the creation of beautiful works of art. Some children captured the "specks of gold" they could see in their rock and others drew their object filling the page so the viewer might see "all the spots on it." The children enjoyed learning how to use materials such as liquid watercolors and oil pastels and were proud to share their finished creations.