With generous support from the Frances R. Dewing Foundation and from the Vermont Children's Trust Fund, we have made Explorations an integral and regular part of our days at school.
This slideshow depicts a few of the children's projects during Explorations.
Curriculum development and grant money have resulted in:
Explorations, a central piece of our program. Children, teachers and parents anticipate and expect explorations to be part of every day. We have dedicated 3 hours of each day to having explorations available and part of every team planning meeting is devoted to developing the Explorations Curriculum.
The birth of an Explorations Space, with the hopes of something larger, more permanent and complete. Right now this space is housing a large pine tree stump with limbs and small platforms. Earlier in the year it was a place of mirrors, reflections and light. It also has been transformed into a castle kingdom.
An increased focus on documentation. The teaching team has spent time developing a working definition of what documentation means to Quarry Hill School as a whole and how it impacts the kids, the teachers and the program. The 5 individual teachers have worked to understand the unique documentation process they each have and how each contributes to the whole. Every child creates a Scrapbook over the course of the year with a wonderful finished product as a keepsake of their experiences at Quarry Hill School. The book includes photos, dictated stories and reflections as well as artwork and projects- documenting the unique and individualized experience of every child.
The invention of Telling Trays, a bridge between explorations and documentation. The telling trays are a tray of sand with small objects (ranging from corks and golf tees to polishes stones and colored wax) children use to recreate activities, to tell stories or invent scenes. A teacher or friend is nearby to hear the telling (and to write it down).... a rock is a horse, a mountain or a person. A path of shiny stones winds across the tray... and so the story goes....