In the Classroom: The Wild Things

Wild Things observe fish

Wild Things Welcome Nature

Over the past few months, the Wild Things classroom has acquired not only several hanging plants, but also a freshwater fish tank. Both of these are easy ways of incorporating nature into the classroom. The simple additions have not only provided our children with a more aesthetically pleasing environment, but one rich in potential learning experiences. 
The children watch me with curiosity when I take the plants down to water them. While the plants are closer to their level, I let them look at them and feel the leaves, using descriptive vocabulary to strengthen their language development. 
The children were delighted when a parent recently brought us a fish tank. They watched closely as he set it up and will go over to the tank throughout the day to watch the fish. One child, upon first seeing our algae eater, remarked, “Shark!”
Opportunities like this give us a chance to explain to the children that although fish may look very different, they are in fact part of the same species, furthering their classification skills. 
Having a fish tank also gives our busy classroom a calming quality. Just like the quiet area, which gives children a chance to relax with a book, observing the fish seems to have a soothing effect on them. The children take notice of the bubbles coming from the filter and observe the fish swimming around. Over the past week, I’ve seen it slow down even the busiest child! 
Bringing nature into the classroom is one way that the Wild Things supports PIC’s philosophy on nature-based learning. While we strive to spend as much time outdoors as the weather allows, on days when it’s not so nice out, it is refreshing to have both plants and animals inside our classroom.