A Week at Overfield 3/25/16
written by Elizabeth Perry, Atelierista
A week at the Overfield School in Troy looks very different from season to season and year to year. Nature has a strong presence, as do the interests of the children. Every spring, daffodil shoots appear in the garden just outside the three and four year-olds’ classroom, and each year they inspire the children in different ways: to measure and chart the daffodils’ speedy growth, or to construct shelter for the flowers that will protect from frost or trampling feet. This week, several children inspect the daffodil blooms for nectar and pollen as an extension of their year-long study of bees.
Back inside, four and five year-olds make pancakes from scratch. They enjoy them during snack time with homemade maple syrup boiled down from sap they collected from maple trees. Another group experiments with light, prisms and shimmery paper to see if they can create rainbows. They wonder, “Where do rainbows come from?” The next day they explore the rainbows that appear when light shines through a bubble.
Kindergarteners take apart a basketball to figure out what kind of flat shapes they will need to create a three-dimensional sphere – part of a study of planets and the sun. Their classmates visit favorite trees, documenting with words and images the changes they observe in their tree journals.
In a neighboring lawn, two year-olds walk and run among the daffodils. The flowers reach past their knees. Some children stop to study the flowers with their eyes, fingers and noses. Their teacher recites lines from “Daffodowndilly,” a poem by A. A. Milne. Later, she emails a copy of the poem to the children’s parents along with photos that capture some of the children’s wonder at the experience.
A variety of rich experiences await students at Overfield each week, as they have since the school was founded by Julia Hobart in 1960. Inspired by the Reggio-Emilia approach, teachers are always guided in their work by a respect for the children’s inquisitive natures, their inventiveness, and the interconnectedness of these young individuals.
Link to Overfield School