Investigation: The Bread Project

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Teacher Observations:

Before the holidays, I noticed only a couple of children were playing in the dramatic play area every day.  Also, I noticed others were very interested in creating with play-dough and loose parts. During our holiday gathering, I had even set-up several provocations around the room and all of the children were crowded around the play-dough table with their families.  

Teacher Wonderings:

I wondered if the introduction of a bread investigation would deepen their level of play and encourage more children to play in the dramatic play area? Also, I wondered what new relationships will be formed as we involve families and the community in this investigation? 

Areas of Concentration:

Social & Emotional, Language, Literacy, Math

Reflections

My role as their teacher is to intervene as little possible, but to observe, to listen, to interpret and to facilitate the children’s research by providing interesting and stimulating experiences and resources.  We were fortunate to have a variety of "wow" experiences for our children during this investigation: visiting a local bakery, wheat farmers shared their crop with us and showed us how to make flour, making a variety of breads from around the world, and special guest bakers visited our classroom. 

As our investigation went along, I noticed that the children liked to bring the play-dough over to the kitchen area to bake in the oven. This was absolutely fine, but they were having to take the play-dough back and forth between rooms. Also, while the bakery idea was being negotiated by the children, this comment from one of the students gave me pause: 

“Ms. Megan, I think we need more room if we have a bakery at school. It should have a counter that we can stand behind. Maybe we can move the kitchen over to this side of the room?”  - Amelia

Well, let’s try it out and see what happens to flip flop the rooms! 

Seeing their environment in a new way inspired the children to make signs, menus, and pricing which enhanced their play. Also, it has encouraged new friendships and other children to play together in the bakery,  thus supporting their social and emotional development.  

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“When we pay attention to the interests of children, children get serious about learning. When we listen keenly to a child or a group of children negotiating an idea - something magical happens. Think about it. Children come into the world wired to make sense of life. When we pay attention to the things that children are interested in, learning becomes incredibly important.  Deep inside the thinking of children – lies the fairy dust of education –  meaningful engagement!"  - Fairy Dust Teaching