Above and Beyond
The atelier is a creative laboratory devoted to experimentation, where all children are encouraged to take risks and expand their thinking. Projects done in the atelier are often collaborative, and involve only small groups. All KG1 and KG2 children get the opportunity to work in the atelier over the course of the year, either in relation to a classroom project, or as a separate exploration of a particular material or idea. Past projects have involved environmental installations, dramatic play, body painting, handmade organic dyes, clay, and bread design.
Serving the community teaches children responsibility not only for themselves, but also for other people. Through community service, children understand that their actions impact other families. Opportunities to serve the community expand children’s social circle and teach them empathy, caring and compassion.
Every year, the EY classes embark on a yearlong community service project. They organize fundraising events like bake and rummage sales to generate money, or donate and collect items and supplies like food, clothes, books and toys.
“The young children leave the school building, and wait, pressing up against the playground gate. When I open the gate, they take off like horses let out of a stable where they have been shut in too long.”
Learning should not be restricted to the boundaries of a modern city and buildings. Classrooms should not be all that a child experience in his everyday life. Teaching young children is giving them the freedom to move and explore, all with a sense of wonder and the joy of discovery. Children need to move freely, crawl, jump, fall … they need to watch the sky while laying on green grass, feel the san between their toes, the water on their faces, mix colors and recreate landscapes with their bare hands. When children play in natural spaces they learn about nature, face and overcome challenges and learn more about themselves. They use their imaginations as they hide behind a tree so the monster won’t see them or pretend they are scientists looking for insects. They smell, hear, touch and see the natural elements around them and build connections.
In EY at ACS we believe that a child needs to connect with the natural environment. We create an opportunity for young children to explore, to use all their senses, to discover the joys of being in natural surroundings, to enhance their ability to know and find out more about the world in a way that excites a joy in learning for them that can last for a lifetime.