Each girl in our Kindergarten class is given a “Wonder Book” at the beginning of the year. This acts as a sketchbook, or a special place for our students to draw or write about the things they are wondering about.
One beautiful morning, we brought our students outside and asked them to simply sketch the grass. Concentrating and observing from above, they stood in a long line and sketched the grass. Most of them drew straight lines and stereotypical drawings of grass without really examining the details of each blade. When they were finished, we asked everyone to lie down in the grass, turn the page, and begin to sketch the grass again, lying on their stomachs. We wondered, “Would their sketches change? Would their detail be greater?” What we noticed was in fact closer attention to detail, more thoughtful observations, and students taking longer looks at the grass.
Afterwards, photographs of the grass were printed and placed at our Production Centre, where students used a range of utensils to create illustrations that reflected these observations.
The grass is so pointy it could pop balloons… – JK student
This opportunity reinforced with us the importance of asking children to look closely, and providing meaningful opportunities for them to refine and develop their skills in observation and communicating their thoughts and ideas.
“Most children are naturally curious about their surroundings. They have an interest in exploring and investigating to see how things work and why things happen. Children have an innate sense of wonder and awe and a natural desire for inquiry. The Full-Day Early Learning–Kindergarten program capitalizes on children’s natural curiosity and their desire to make sense of their environment. However, curiosity on its own is not enough. The guidance of a thoughtful Early Learning–Kindergarten team is essential to enable children to learn through inquiry. The team should use inquiry-based learning to build on children’s spontaneous desire for exploration and to gradually guide them to become more focused and systematic in their observations and investigations.” Ontario Ministry of Education, FDK Document