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One of the best ways to create unique experiences in your Pre-K or Preschool classroom is by thinking of unique objects that your students would find interesting and then bringing them into the classroom.
I am always keeping an eye out for things my students might have heard about but have probably never had the chance to really look over and ask questions. Even better, is if I come across a person or “expert” that can come and show the class how the object works.
Notice Everyday People and Objects
Each year at our local Chic-fil-A, a sweet couple comes and sets up a couple of two really cool big telescopes. They invite everyone going in and out of the restaurant to take a few minutes to look through the telescopes to see the stars and planets. The second time I saw the couple, I stopped and asked them if they would ever consider dropping by my preschool sometime to share one of their telescopes with our Pre-K class and they were happy to set something up.
Get the Children Ready
I was super excited about the children getting to look through a real telescope. Before the couple came to our school, I spent a few days ahead of time talking about the stars, moon, and planets with the children. We read books like “Papa Please Get Me The Moon” by Eric Carle and walked through a few simple non-fiction books as well.
The children created their own pictures of stars and moons on paper plates, in paper journals, and on the easel. By the time our visitors came, the children had some idea of what a telescope was for and were excited to look through a real telescope.
The Big Day
The big day for our visitor to come finally came. It is important to note that I didn’t expect our visitor to prepare a lesson or discussion on space or the telescopes but I did allow time for the visitor to talk to the children if he wanted to do so. In our case, the visitor came prepared to do a short lesson on planets and then the children were invited to learn about the telescope and to look through it.
The one thing about these incredibly expensive telescopes is that they cannot get wet and shortly after our visitor arrived, we had to bring the telescope inside to look through it. We also couldn’t see the moon because it was day time so the visitor zoomed in on a big hole that was inside a tree trunk on the other side of our property. My guess was that the tree was at least a half a mile away but I am a terrible judge of distance.
There was no way every child could look through the telescope all at once so we had prepared for the children to play while waiting for a turn to look through the telescope. We also planned for our visitor to come at the very end of the school day so that parents could stop by and look through the telescope too.
Inspire the Children
Having the telescope inspired the children to make their own telescopes and even one little guy brought his toy telescope to set up and share with the class. Because the children now knew all about how to look through a telescope and to take good care of a telescope, they were able to take the toy telescope outside to look through it without worrying that they might break it.
Think Big and Just Ask
While you are out and about, let me encourage you to keep your eyes open for possible objects (and experts) that can help you to create unique experiences for your children. I asked a man if he would come and bring his hot air balloon to our school one year and he was thrilled to do so only we had soooo many trees that he wasn’t going to be able to land in our parking lot. Oh well, think big and just ask. You never know when someone who has a unique gift, talent, object (like a real telescope) might be willing to drop by your classroom and share it with your kids.
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It’s Your Turn
I am willing to bet you have had some unique visitors or object in your classroom. Use the comments to tell us all about them so we might be inspired in our own classrooms!