Mr. Alligator and 5 Little Monkeys
It is always good to see how my students are able to apply their knowledge. It's something you often read about in textbooks, but, to see it before your own eyes is beyond empowering. Today, one of my students, Tim, was working with some jungle toy animals I have out in our science area. He took an alligator and a monkey and started moving them around. I asked him to tell me about what he was doing. He replied with a big smile, “I am playing the alligator and the monkeys. Do you want to hear?” Of course I said yes and he proceeded to sing and act out a popular song we sing in class: “Five little monkeys swinging from the trees, teasing Mr. Alligator, can’t catch me! Along came Mr. Alligator, quiet as can be and snapped that monkey right out of that tree!”
After listening and watching him, I was filled with pride. Not only did he remember all the words, he also used his prior knowledge of our song in his daily work. As a teacher, this is when you know that what you are doing really works. Through his play, Tim discovered that numbers represent quantity, the foundations of subtraction – counting backwards, the food chain and rhyming.
I cannot explain how many times I have to explain to parents, other teachers and the general public that our work in the early childhood years is contingent on learning through play. Tim, Mr. Alligator and the 5 little monkeys are a perfect example. What a busy day in the jungle of pre-k!!!