You know that old saying, “if you can’t beat them, join them”? Well, I fully embrace this mindset when it comes to things like “potty talk”. Children love to talk about bodily functions and body parts. It’s developmentally appropriate. When we embrace them where they are, it makes the journey through this phase so much easier. Because let’s face it, sometimes hearing “poop” 176 times a day can start to feel like nails on a chalkboard. When we embrace it, “potty talk” also loses some of its allure.
I’m currently teaching half day pre-k at a pretty amazing preschool, with an amazing director who totally “gets” me. I went to her and told her that if I am truly going to embrace the interests of my children, I would need to do a poop theme (and I use the term “theme” for lack of a better word, because there is something about that word that rubs me the wrong way). A quick run by the parents, and we were well on our way into the wonderful world of poop! I asked the students if they would like to explore the digestive system and how our bodies make poop…..or if they would like to learn about animal poop. Animal poop won. We started by reading books about animal tracks and scat, as well as ‘Who Pooped in the North Woods‘. There were some tangents that came from our journey, like owl exploration and the knowledge that owl pellets are not poop, but regurgitated balls of hair and bones. I’m grateful that we have the freedom to explore where the children lead us, instead of having a teacher picked ‘theme of the week’ that ends after a week. In my classroom, “themes” never end and learning never ends.
Our learning, our journey….
It’s about the process.
It’s about getting pencils in their hands, exposing them to literacy, using those fine motor skills, practicing cutting, etc.
It’s about creating situations where they feel JOY and SUCCESS.
It’s about creating a LOVE of learning.
It’s about showing them HOW to learn, not telling them WHAT to learn.
To further explore the animal tracks, I wrote the names of each animal on a note card and the students who were interested found the corresponding track stamp. This was great exposure to literacy as the names of the animals are written on each stamp.
Each day the students had access to the books, stamps, play doh, etc. They looked at each animal scat and used play doh to create it.
They wrote the name of each animal on a note card with its scat next to it.
They put the note cards onto pieces of cardboard, added tracks, and cut out pictures of the animals.
This is what we have so far….displayed on the wall in our preschool hallway. Hee hee!
(Notice that one child decided to make the coyote out of clay. I love that!)
Did you know that rabbits eat their own poop to make sure they get ALL the nutrients out of it?
Did you know that rabbit poop is round, like a green pea, while deer poop is shaped more like a jellybean?
Did you know that deer poop actually looks different during different seasons?
Did you know that those things that look like ears on an owl are actually not ear, but just feathers? An owls ears are on the sides of it’s head.
Did you know that beaver poop resembles wood chips and/or sawdust?
Yes, these are just a few of the lovely tid-bits of information that I noticed the children taking away with them from this unit.
~ AK (MESE, MECD)