Children were listening intently yesterday as Len Greenhalgh shared his Big Idea about Wheeler Bay Wildlife Sanctuary “This is our backyard,” he told kids. “We want to make it as good as it can be for all the birds and the animals.” In a process he described as,“digging and digging and digging,” Len told us how he and Jocelyn moved endless piles of rocks to create some place new from something that once was. What exists today is a brilliant body of water surrounded by woodlands and safe places in which creatures contently dwell.
This morning we focused on the birds we saw at Wheeler Bay – geese, seagulls, ducks, and (evidence of) turkeys!
We asked kids to think about how parts become a whole. Starting with creature features, first graders announced that birds have “feathers, wings, a beak, and legs.” Choosing their materials from 2 full bins, younger children worked with their partners to make those parts into a whole bird composition.
Fifth graders began connecting their ideas to form their own bold creatures. Relying on books and photographs, they drew first and chose pieces to form a seal, a llama, a stone fish, a fennec fox, an anaconda, a clown fish, a bear, a spider, a hedgehog, a tiger, and more.
At first glance LEAPS appears to be simply a study of nature and art. But looking closely, it is so very much more.
• LEAPS teaches children to make connections. They learn to notice patterns. See the whole, rather than a jumble of loose parts.
• With real-world issues as a context, children learn to cross boundaries, to imagine, and see possibility.
• LEAPS’ kids develop the confidence to step into their own power. Having put their minds to work in their art making, they will surely have a hand in making change in the world.
Before we wrapped up today, one girl exclaimed, “I don’t believe how far I’ve come!” This is the power of LEAPS.
With gratitude to our partners at South School, Mrs. McNichol, Mrs. Race, and Mr. Bennett,
Nancy, Susan, Laura, Dee, and Cindy