By The Innovative Leaning Center Program Leaders
3, 2, 1… Blast Off! In October, we launched another program-wide theme, Outer Space. It is a theme rich in content and applicable to all ages. The hallways have become a canvas for learning about the planets. Here are some of the ways we have been exploring the galaxy so far:
1. Researching Space
In the Life Skills Program, we are working on an inquiry-based model in which the students pose specific questions they have about the Universe and then perform research in order answer those questions. They then share their knowledge with the rest of the class, which naturally leads to more questions and the process goes on. In this way, we hope to create life-long learners.
2. Counting the Universe
At the other end of the spectrum, we are focused on building foundational knowledge in the Early Intervention Program in Pudong. The Space theme has provided a nice launching point (pun-intended) for an exploration of numbers: counting up and down the number line and also making value associations. We are counting everything – stars, planets, rockets – and having so much fun in the process. The children are also making their own Space Books, an arts and language based project which will go on for the duration of the theme. These same topics are also coming alive for the children in Primary and Secondary where they are focused on each child’s appropriate, individual level of learning.
3. Painting the Milky Way
Our Early Intervention Program in Puxi have made a group painting of the Milky Way Galaxy. An activity like this can have so many benefits! Here are a few of them: painting is a great sensory stimulation project that allows the children to feel different textures; it is great for fine motor skills when they have to hold and control paint brushes; it encourages children to be more creative; the children have to work together and practice their social skills; they learn new vocabulary words related to objects and actions; and they can practice asking for things such as paint brushes and help; and they can problem solve when running into difficulties. Besides, it’s really fun to share funny moments with each other, such as making strange colors or getting paint all over the place!
4. Build Your Own Spaceship
Everyone is learning about the various planets that surround planet Earth and, most importantly, about building the perfect vehicle to take off and reach the stars: using water colors, acrylics, brushes, sponges and crepe paper each of the three Programs participated in creating the huge ELG Space Rockets which we now have in the lobby!
Everyone at ILC really enjoyed learning about Space: it’s fun to teach and fun to learn about. The students are so motivated to participate and contribute to activities and discussions. We have read, written, and talked about space. We’ve worked on projects together to practice social skills. We learned a lot of new information. And we worked on our large art project together to practice creativity, to express our ideas, to practice all our communication skills, to help make decisions and voice opinions, and to practice our fine motor skills. Now we are ready to blast off into space and practice becoming astronauts!