Welcome to our classroom!
Lead Teacher: Lynn Lubben
Assistant Teacher: Cindy Meyer
Lynn and Cindy teach the Ladybugs, a class of ten 2-year-old children. Immediately you begin to think, "Oh! Those terrible twos," but we like to think of this age as the "terrific twos!" At this age, children are most interested in conquering the world! They are so motivated to be independent yet are still very dependent upon the adults in their lives to provide the boundaries and support which keep them safe and allow them to flourish at the same time.
Looking at a child's development at 24 months of age and then again at 36 months of age shows the tremendous amount of growth that occurs during this year! The child's language development, social skills, self-help skills and discoveries at this young age are a few of the most fascinating things to witness.
The Chipmunk's Hole in the Ground
It all began as a few children explored in the garden area of the Beehive (a Nature Explore Outdoor Classroom). Suddenly they began calling, "Lynnie! Lynnie!" As Lynn approached, they showed her the hole in the ground that they had discovered. One child said, "I want the chipmunk go in there." The child pointed to the outside of the fence to where the chipmunk was staring at the children in a panicked stance with cheeks full of a delicious treasure. It looked like the chipmunk wanted to go in the hole too. A few of the children hid along the side of the building quietly waiting and sure enough, they saw the chipmunk dart under the gate and into the hole. The children looked in the hole and tried to see the chipmunk. They wondered what the chipmunk had in its cheeks. They measured the depth of the hole at the top area. They thought if they filled the hole with rocks and mulch the chipmunk could eat them. The next day when they went out to see the hole, they were surprised to see that the hole was opened back up and the rocks and mulch were gone.
The children continued to look for the chipmunk in the days to follow. They continued to look in the hole and wondered where the chipmunk could be. They predicted it could have crossed the street, went to the store, or went to their house. They predicted that if it was in the hole where we couldn't see it, it may be playing with toys, drawing with markers, or pushing a baby in a stroller. They predicted the chipmunk might eat macaroni and cheese, nuts, fruit, bananas, apples, cheese and corn. They tried putting several items out by the hole to see if the chipmunk would eat them .
The children checked the hole on a daily basis and on one particular day, there was a fence up blocking their view of the hole. There was a bag of dirt and a shovel in the area and new dirt placed around the stepping stones to keep them in place. The children were in a state of disequilibrium. They wondered who did that hard work, why they were doing it, and how it would effect the chipmunk. "Hey! Who locked it up?" "I'm sad the chipmunk leaved," were a few of the comments. They asked a few teachers passing by and one teacher directed them to Deb, our director who had been working in that area. The children interviewed Deb to see if she was doing the hard work, if she covered the chipmunk hole, and why. Deb told them why she had filled the stones in with dirt and explained that the chipmunk had dug the hole out three times in the coarse of the morning. The children told her they were sad that the chipmunk left. To their surprise, there were other holes in our Beehive as well. They found several in the dirt and one in the grass. One child brought pictures from home where she found holes in her yard as well. And to make it even better, the chipmunk made the original hole again.
In the classroom and surrounding environments, the children have noticed holes in logs, sinks, shirts, paper towel tubes, and blocks. They have made holes in play dough, putty, and paper. They have used problem solving skills to determine what will fit in a paper towel tube and what will not as well as how to get it back out if it gets stuck inside. They worked with plastic connectors like PVC pipe and determined where an item would come out if it went in at certain points along the connectors.
As the children began to see the chipmunk less and less, they wondered if it started to hibernate. The less we see of the chipmunk, the more our discussions of this topic have started to hibernate as well.