Last Friday I took a small group on a walk around the block. Our past walks have been focused on collecting fallen leaves, but we note that most of the deciduous trees are pretty bare, so this walk needs a new focus. I suggest I-spy, and the group is eager to jump in. Each child takes a turn noticing the color of something while the rest of guess what they see. At one point, we’re stumped and give up. The child laughs, “We passed it!” This becomes a joke for the group. We walk, look, and guess– only to find we passed the object in mind. We make a u-turn, retrace our steps and guess again. As we round the corner, it’s my turn. “I spy red, orange and golden maple leaves!” The group runs to the last leaves in our neighborhood and joyfully collects them in our “Hip, hip, hooray” leaf celebration.
As tree branches turn bare, temperatures dip, and dusk comes earlier, we’ll celebrate the cusp of winter with Blue week. I plan Blue week to coincide with Hanukkah, the Jewish festival of lights. Throughout the week we’ll include a bit of Hanukkah in our classroom, supporting the Jewish heritage of those in our school community and broadening non-Jewish children’s knowledge of the holiday. At a time when white nationalism threatens the safety of numerous targeted groups, I double-down on teaching the importance of inclusion, empathy and belonging within our small preschool community. I’m pleased to partner with families and children to help create a safer place for all humans to fully be who we are.