Documentation by Erin Regan, long term project with the Rabbit Burrow (ages 2-3)
February 16, 2017
We introduced our new long term focus to the kids today: Making people smile! Doing our best to make each other smile has been a consistent theme in the Burrow this year, so we figured “Why not put it to good use?”
At morning meeting, I asked the kids “What is a smile?” They mostly responded with wearing a smile, which is perfect. Then, I asked “Why do we smile?” Gabriel said “Because it’s when we’re happy!” Yes! We frequently discuss topics such as peace and love and how they are basically all about making people feel good, and feeling good ourselves. At morning meeting, I shared heart-shaped stickers with the kids as an example of something I can share to make them smile and feel good. I then told them that we would be a having a talent show! In our talent show, we would each take turns sharing something we feel we’re good at to make others smile. This was a really wonderful activity. We noticed a bunch of our friends, though eager to have a turn, became shy once they were in front of everyone. However, once they were done, they felt more confident and wanted a second turn- with more pizazz! Part of our goal is lifting our friends’ confidence so that they may not only make other people feel good, but they will make themselves feel good through their accomplishments and recognition.
-Maddox went first. He showed us how far he could jump off the “stage” (a large block).
– Rain acted out how she does Magic Window every morning.
-Gabriel shared his balancing skills with us, standing on one leg for 3 seconds!
-Louisa jumped off the stage landing in a sitting position
-Liz sang Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. She seemed nervous, but became more comfortable when we sang along with her. Afterwards, she confidently jumped off the stage.
-Rosie sang the ABCs to us
-Tess whispered the ABCs
-Colin listed off his family members and said they make him feel good!
-Ivy also listed her family members and said “Yay!”
-Riley shared with us that “A family is a type of connection that touches us.” She then sounded out a bunch of letters and ended on “A family is a peace sign.”
-Irwin politely declined when we asked if he wanted a turn
-Before wrapping up, Maddox really wanted another turn to sing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star
March 3, 2017
We have been focusing a lot on ways to make each other smile, and it really seems to be clicking. This is an early step into recognizing body language, which is important in helping with social interaction. Today, we stepped outside the lines a little, focusing on how we can make our neighbors smile. The product of this idea was the Trash Competition! We had a school-wide trash clean up competition once before over the Summer of 2016. What more perfect time to bust out this activity than when we are beginning a community outreach focus? Between the Rabbit Burrow, Garden and Fish Cove, we filled five heavy duty garbage bags of litter! We met back on the playground for a bonus round of finding trash on the yard, followed by playing and singing songs on the hill.
Our next project was decorating the hallway and putting bird houses on the playground. The bird house idea was inspired by a bunch of us witnessing a bird eating an insect in the garden. It was amazing! When it flew off, we assumed it went somewhere else to find more food. We wanted more birds to feel welcome in our space! The hallway project came about after the trash clean up day in the theme of making people smile. I asked the kids what we should put in the hall to make people smile, and they came up with this list:
-a big bouncy house
-yellow dump trucks
-a blue truck
-a garbage truck
We had a lot to work with.
Riley and Tess painting with water colors and glitter for our hallway decor!
March 8, 2017
We came up with another project today to add to our long term focus of making people smile. After a spontaneous lesson on how to play limbo with our broom stick, we decided to take the fun to the playground to share and to practice with the bigger kids! We had such a blast playing with the big kids, and they had a good time, too! We…made them smile. This inspired us to make our own festive limbo stick and to throw a formal playground limbo party soon!
March 9, 2017
At morning meeting, we did something quite different: We showed the kids a video of our limbo practice yesterday! We made the room dark for dramatic effect and pressed “play”. For those 20 seconds of “screen time”, our friends were so impressed with themselves! We talked about the Limbo party, agreeing on it being held next Tuesday. Maddox suggested that we “should have centers at the party”! Whoa! We love this idea and can’t believe we didn’t think of it sooner! This inspired us to have some small activities to have set up around the playground for the party of the century, hoping it made everyone smile. Afterwards, we got to work on finishing our personalized Burrow Limbo stick and making beautiful invitations to give to each classroom. We used a LOT of paint and glitter.
March 10, 2017
Sent out our super glittery Limbo Party invitations!
March 14, 2017
We set out to throw a party to make people smile, and we did just that. With the music bumpin’ on the playground, we invited the school to play instruments, explore water beads, create bubbles using fly swatters in soapy water, build with Magnatiles on a nice rug, draw with markers on a dry erase board, try their luck at the bean bag toss, toss balls in a pool, and…Limbo!!! The whole school was able to make it which made us so happy!!! We lined up before a few other classes and left everything for them to enjoy. At lunch, we took time at the tables to reflect. Without speaking, we spent a few seconds thinking about everyone we saw smile during our party. This crew has so much goodness to offer. I love this long-term focus.
March 15, 2017
At morning meeting, there was a mystery box. What was inside!? I gave them a few clues to ease along the guessing… I wrote the letter B on a board and drew a picture of a bird. After the kids said “bird!”, we spelled the word together. I then drew a picture of a house. After a few times of the kids saying “bird……house!”, they guessed that a bird house was in the box! So cute. We set up three birdhouses at the tables, each table having one birdhouse. We supplied paint brushes and paint. Their task was to keep the bird house in the middle of the table as they painted together. That’s all. Y’all, these guys used so many words and problem-solving skills and TEAMWORK to get these bird houses painted. If a friend accidentally knocked a birdhouse off it’s stand, a friend across would say “It’s okay I got it” and place it back. At one table, a friend held the top of the house down so the other three friends could paint the bottom parts. We..were…AMAZED! We couldn’t wait to hang these in the yard 🙂
Monday, March 20, 2017
We worked together to look for spots to put our birdhouses on the playground! And guess what? A further step in our long term focus was born: putting the birdhouses around the neighborhood! What a wonderful thought. Placing birdhouses on the playground just wasn’t enough for these kids- they wanted to make ALL the Mid City birdies happy! Although we were still putting together things for our hallway project, we couldn’t wait to begin this next piece of community outreach.
March 31, 2017
Friday was bird house day! We walked around the neighborhood to pass out birdhouses to some choice houses we had scoped out. These were houses of people we have interacted with on our neighborhood walks.
So to catch you up on our long term few focus, Making People Smile: A Community Outreach Project…
So far, we have accomplished a
-neighborhood trash clean up day
-birdhouses for the playground
-bird houses for the neighborhood
And there were more ideas from the kids in our holster, inspired by the simple question “How can we make people smile?”
Each birdhouse had a tag which read
“Hello! This bird house was painted by the children at Abeona House. It is a part of our Community Outreach Project: Making People Smile. Please accept this gift as a token of neighborly love, to hang where you wish.
Your neighbors at Abeona House”
April 4, 2017
We began a special painting on April 4th! We made a big thank you card for St Margaret’s for always hosting us for big events, such as Halloween and Krewe of Abeona.
May 3, 2017
May 3rd was cookie day! If you remember, when our friends made a list of ways to make people smile a while back, making cookies for everyone in the school was one of the listed items! The plan was to make oatmeal raisin cookies. However….ingredients for such treats add up. We may have done a little fibbing in that we did a fake cookie recipe with the kids using the few ingredients we had lying around the school. They were so excited though! We talked about what “ingredients” and “recipes” are. I read a pretend recipe out to Miss Angie, who added in the ingredients. Our friends had the opportunity to smell each ingredient and shared different memories of when they have used or seen their parents use the ingredients at home. We used measuring cups to closely follow the “recipe” and when all the ingredients were in our bowl, our friends took turns using a mixer. Once everything was mixed, we took to the tables to shape our batter into balls. Y’all, they were so proud of these not-so-appetizing mounds. We told them we would put them in the oven once everyone fell asleep. In reality…we sneakily made the Whole Foods oatmeal raisin cookie switcheroo and debuted them the following day for the kids to pass out. Our school-wide St. Margaret’s walk and picnic was postponed, so passing out cookies got a bump-up on our task list! Everyone was quite satisfied with this decision 🙂 Sorry we took the easy way out, y’all- please don’t spill the beans!
The remainder of the summer was committed to delivering our Thank you card to St. Margaret’s and partnering up with First Grace to make centerpieces for the community meal. What a way to wrap it up!
Delivering our thank you card to St. Margaret’s
Our centerpieces for First Grace’s community meal