Sunday, January 18, 2015

An Attitude of Gratitude

  "When I hurt my collar bone I had to see a doctor. If there was a fire in cupcake store we would need help."

"We need parents because they could say no more toys and no more ice cream. It would be hard to stop without parent telling you to stop. I have another question. If you don’t have parents you would need community helpers to stop you."

As we study the city, we are coming to the realization that community helpers play a critical role in keeping our city safe, healthy and protected. We are realizing that people have needs in their lives including water, food, shelter and clothing. The firefighters, ambulance drivers, doctors, police, volunteers at the pound and water company provide services each day that take care of us and the world that we live in. 

One day we spent time talking  about a man named Martin Luther King whose work made his community a better place for people to live in. We learned that Martin Luther King inspired service to others. 

He had a dream that we would all help each other despite our differences. 

We considered the idea of celebrating the people in our community whose job and life work is to help others.

Volunteers are helping the cats. We could bring food to the SPCA to show our appreciation.

The firemen are putting out a fire and saving a cat.

Mary Tobin offered the idea of appreciating the fireman who are stationed at the firehouse in our school neighborhood. She had heard that the firehouse was at the end of a path in the forest.

Sabine raised her hand and said that she had seen the firehouse one day when she was walking her dog in the woods. She described a big bridge that we would need to cross to get there.

The prospect of walking through our forest on a path to the firehouse was exciting. We asked the children to consider what we should do when we reached the firehouse.

How can we celebrate the firemen?

We could make a cake. We could make cookies. Or we could drop cookies from the sky.

We could drop confetti.

We could give them a medal.

Yeah that would be a good idea.
We could say thank you and then leave.

The medal would say Good Job, Your Awesome or Keep it Up.

We need to have party hats.

Monday of this week was a very chilly rainy Monday. We had decided to venture into the woods, find the trail Sabine described and search for the firehouse.  Six  courageous, energetic, and determined explorers stepped forward. We gathered together for a photo opportunity to document the adventurous expedition.

As we hiked through depths of the forest we could be heard shouting, "We are the Explorers"!

So I must offer my teacher perspective that these moments are very reaffirming. As we walked through the woods I observed the group take ownership of our intention  and remain commitment.  This groups was not deterred by the distance of the hike, the mud, the spitting rain or the temperatures. They did not get discouraged when it seemed that the trail might never end. Instead the were exhilarated at every turn and twist in the path.

The adventure really begins at the bridge crossing the stream where we play during the warmer months of school. We did notice that the stream was heavy and flowing after a very dry fall season.

                           Is this the bridge that Sabine referred to when she described the path?

We locate a bench and a steep hill. The
Explorers do not use the word landmarks but they
do feel it is important that we note these "clues".
"We can find our way with our clues."

We think that this is a forest planted by Dr. Seuss. The trees are "wobbly and wibbly" like a Dr. Seuss tree.

The holly tree presents a problem in that the path takes several directions. We debate the direction that will lead us to the fire house. 
"It is a trail marker."

Finally, Sabine's long bridge through the evergreen forest.

When the children spy the watertank  they are certain the  firehouse is near. 

Dancing in the rain to record the joy of  a victorious explorer.

Our last piece of business is verifying that this was the correct firehouse. This is indeed firehouse Number 25. 

These are our community helpers and we will recognize them with medals, an appreciation basket and thank you cards on Monday, Martin Luther King's holiday.


  1. This is wonderful. The planning, the execution and the level of engagement of five and six year olds is amazing. Carter had such a super day on Monday. Thank you.

  2. Mary, I admit that I thought you were crazy as a loon heading out on that freezing cold day in the rain - for a hike that was going to be so long for such little legs. However, this blog shows what we find so often to be true: children find comraderie, satisfaction, joy, and even beauty in the face of a challenges faced and overcome together. Those six children might well remember this hike as their favorite kindergarten experience.