HFP children enjoy sampling autumn’s pleasures through all five senses. Cooler weather and the final ripening of the earth’s offerings serve as reminders that fall is here and seasons are cycling.
In the play yard, children are inspired by the glorious sight of foliage aflame in crimson and orange. They notice busy squirrels and crows preparing for winter. Autumn in Portland means that children hear the rush of rising wind in the branches overhead, and they inhale the earthy scent of the air on a rainy day. The feel of a smooth seed or crusty nutshell is a tactile signal that trees are preparing for winter’s night, but new life will emerge the following spring. The tasty sweetness of freshly harvested fruit in the mouth delights taste buds and nourishes small bodies.
A IS FOR APPLES
Apples of every variety are tasty treats. Savory seeds, nuts, and nut butter complement sweet-tart slices of fruit and reinforce the harvest theme. At snack time, children make tangible connections between the earth’s autumnal bounty and their own health and happiness.
Apples also make ingenious, all-natural stamps. When combined with vibrant paints, they become tools for exploring patterns and colors. The concepts of reproduction, representation, and interpretation take shape as children explore combinations of texture and color while printing their own special compositions in red, yellow, and green.
Young minds and objects from the natural world become successful partners in artistic self-expression as children become absorbed in the process of creating pieces which are their very own. Painting is fun and rewarding. It also promotes the development of problem-solving, communication, fine motor, and social and emotional skills.
B IS FOR BATS
Bats and October arrive with seasonal hand in wing. Through stories, art projects, games, and playacting, children discover that this wonderful flying mammal is one of the Pacific Northwest’s native treasures. Children stretch their arms and imaginations during circle time, becoming bats in flight when lights go out and bats asleep when lights send them back to their roosts.
Narrative processing and exercises in oral language merge as children invent their own versions of bat adventures. Creative storytelling begins long before writing skills catch up, so Teacher Susan transcribes children’s tales into the written language of short stories for all to appreciate.
“Bats are sleeping in the day. They wake at night. They fly in the night. It is dark. And there are stars out. The sun shines the moon. They fly around and catch mosquitoes. They eat them. They just have a few because I haven’t seen the mosquitoes in a long time. Maybe they eat hot chocolate in the fall and winter time because mosquitoes are scared of the winter they might get cold.”
C IS FOR CORN
Kernels of corn aren’t just for popping. At the sensory table, children indulge in the rich, tactile sensations produced by running their fingers through thousands of the corn plant’s golden seeds.
Children experiment with scoops and bowls and volumes of measurement. No one is too young for math and physics lessons when these arise spontaneously during play. Children note the various relationships between their tools and the material at hand.
P IS FOR PUMPKIN
Pumpkins signal that harvests are ripe. At snack time, children sample yummy pumpkin-inspired goodies such as “pumpkin” oranges, pumpkin chips, and pumpkin bread.
Pumpkin art time includes mixed media and collaged masterpieces constructed from colorful paper and markers.
Children select and integrate materials, plan and execute compositions, and learn to design within a framework as they cut, paste, and color their cheerful creations.