"In this classroom, relationships are fostered, families are respected, and children are honored.
In this classroom, nature's gifts are valued and children's thoughts are captured.
In this classroom, learning is alive and aesthetic beauty is appreciated." -Unknown

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Open House

For many programs, Open House is about recruiting and getting enrollment revved up for the next year. Since we are located on the same site as a K-8 school, we coincide our Open House with theirs and ours. While it is an opportunity for prospective families to check out the program, our main goal is for the currently enrolled children to be able to be a docent and show their families around the class, at the work they've done, and the things they enjoy doing at school.

The children were so excited to share with their families and we had been working on lots of projects and I had been planning the displays. Much of what I'm posting wasn't available for families to see when they picked their child up that day, but miraculously appeared before they returned that evening. Many of my parents hang out for a bit when dropping off/picking up their child and have the opportunity to engage in activities with their child and see projects and things they've been working on, so I like to make sure there are always some surprises in store for them when they come to Open House.

Each child and myself chose the color of their handprint to make
a very vibrant and welcoming sign for their families to see as
they arrived in the evening.

We had our digital frame out for all to see, a sign-in sheet for
attendees, and the gorgeous flowers a family donated to us for
the special event.
We had completed our Painting to Music project. See our blog
post from April 21st to read more about how this all came to be.
Each child chose two paint colors and if they wanted to paint while
listening to slow or fast music, then they got busy painting and
creating on their individual canvas.

Here's a little closer look. I took photos during the process and
then asked each child about it after their painting was dry to get
feedback and thoughts about it. We included both the photos
and the documentation in the display.

It was really interesting to see how each child chose
to paint. Some of them began with a drawing, but then
decided to cover the entire canvas, while others stuck
with their initial interpretation. It was entirely up
to them to determine what their process would become.

I posted this information to explain to families how our project
came to be.

We displayed the paints we had used and had the two musical
selections alternately playing through the entire evening so the
families could hear the music that their child chose to use.

We had just completed the GEMS: Ant Homes Under the Ground
unit so we had to share out anthill complete with tunnels, chambers,
guard ants, scout ants, housekeeper ants, nurse ants, the queen ant,
eggs, and a yummy caterpillar snack. Each child created their ant
with the appropriate body parts and decided what job their ant
would have in the anthill.

We documented the Ant study through photography
and documentation and had it out to share. I found
this cool ANT font free online. I thought it was the
perfect accompaniment for our display.
This anthill display came with the kit and changed almost daily
with overlays showing new concepts and terms as they were
introduced. On  the final days the children were able to see the
food (grasshopper and caterpillar) in the chambers, as well as the
queen laying eggs and the nurse ants caring for them and moving
them to the egg chamber.

The children were also able to share their bean/plant growth that we had posted in the windows, as well as taking the families outside to see our newly planted flower garden. We had a great evening sharing all that we had done.


  1. Bobo would love your anthill. We've been stumbling on them outside, in books and shows.

    1. Miss Courtney, they are truly fascinating, hard-working little creatures. The guide we used is available for purchase through Lawrence Hall of Science (out of UC Berkeley) at http://www.lhsgems.org/GEMSAntHomes.html. If you are able to go to a GEMS training you are eligible to check out the kits through a local coordinator, but even if that isn't possible, much of the information can be utilized from the guide itself. Be sure to check out my blog Facebook page to see some of the images from our Ants adventure. You can view it at https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.211637255614482.41308.170943436350531&type=3 Thanks so much for stopping by and for your feedback!