At Today’s Family, we believe that outdoor exploration and play is incredibly important to early childhood development. That means that Today’s Family Children spend a lot of time outdoors, running around and exploring their surroundings, which means they spend a lot of time around plants and witness the changing seasons first hand.
After noticing that the children loved to frolic in the newly-fallen leaves, the Early Childhood Educators (ECEs) of our Before and After School program came up with a plan to take that interest and turn it into a learning opportunity. The next time the children were paraded outside, they brought their art supplies with them.
“Let’s draw pictures on the leaves!” the ECEs suggested. And the kinder kids immediately spread out, looking for their favourite leaf to turn into a piece of art.
But the ECEs weren’t only interested in introducing physicality to art time; and they weren’t only interested in having the children practice their fine motor skills, either. The art was just an excuse to ask the children about why they thought the leaves change colour and fall every year.
Here are some of our favourite answers:
“Because they change the color and just die after sometime.”
“Because green leaves are baby leaves and they are new and yellow and brown leaves are old.”
“I think they do it because of tree getting old.”
“Because it just changes!”
Our ECEs explained that when the weather changes, the trees realize that it’s getting colder, and so they have to go to sleep for the winter. Having the leaves change colour and fall off is just the way trees get ready to fall asleep so they can wake up when the weather gets warmer in the Spring.
We’re very proud of our ECEs here at Today’s Family, and this is just one example of why. Turning children jumping into a leaf pile into an activity that hits on so many different parts of early childhood development is commendable and exciting! And we also love giving our children the opportunity to think about the world around them and how it works.
With Thanksgiving just a week away, consider decorating your table not just with leaves but with leaves your kids colour themselves!