It has been all about “Heroes” for the last many weeks in the Big Cats' preschool classroom. We’ve been having meetings in the “Big Cat Superhero Club House.” We have had many exciting discussions:
What is a hero?
How do you describe a hero?
What does a superhero eat?
What are superhero superpowers?
What does a hero do?
What would a hero do if [xyz] happened?
We’ve defined the word “tough” and agreed that we will always try harder when things are tough. We have gone on rescue adventures in the class, through dramatic play.
Now, each child is in the midst of building a superhero “doll” and a special diorama to display everything the child wants to share about their superhero. The children are working one-on-one with Laura [Teaching Resident] to create superhero stories, completing a questionnaire about the superhero.
We've been able to introduce a lot of science with this topic. We have been learning about the special skills and traits of animals. Our animal sharing box has helped us share what we know about animals. We learned that animals – just like superheros - have special ways to protect, to move, to hide, to defend, to see. It is fascinating to see the “superhero” skills in the natural world (bioluminence, amphibians, flight, etc.) Because we love drama so, so much, we have dramatized many of these special traits and attributes of animals.
Our Hero focus has allowed the children a creative and playful opportunity to explore how to do good in the community. We do not permit anyone in the class to be considered a bad guy. We are, in fact, a classroom of heroes. We are challenging the children to move from the classic and limited play of "There's a bad guy - what can I do to stop him?" to higher-level thinking of "What can I do, to fix things?" In a way, this superhero focus is much like engineering, in that the children are identifying "problems" that need fixing - and they are ready to take them on.
Laura and I are really excited about this new and emergent curriculum. We believe it is instigating them to play more kindly with one another. (Just this past week, one child started to knock down another child's blocks and a third child asserted - "Wait, a hero doesn't do that!" Our hero was stopped in his tracks and began to add more blocks to the structure. Pretty awesome!)
I will share more about this curriculum in the days ahead. For now, let me share the children's thoughts:
What is a hero?
A hero rescues people and keeps them safe.
They help someone who gets hurt. Yes, like hit by a car.
They are brave and never scared.
They fly to stop bad guys.
A hero stops bullies and gets them to jail.
They save people.
They keep people safe.
They save them from a fire.
They help in emergencies.
They help someone who is trapped.
A hero has a cape.
A hero gives people candy.