After a restful summer of adventuring, eating delicious foods, and planning for a new school year we were ready to welcome our Learners back to our beautiful outdoor classrooms. August brought seven days of learning together for GAP Learners.
Our Kindergarten and First Grade Learners, The Yellow Crystals have spent the first days of school getting to know one another, learning about our spaces, and creating their flock expectations. For our youngest Learners a day at GAP School takes a lot of energy! We are moving, singing, learning, exploring, and playing from the time we arrive at school to the time we go home. This week our Learners started easing into time spent at the Library, science investigations, maths games, nature journaling, and story time.
A highlight of our first days as Yellow Crystals was seeing how thoughtful, kind, and supportive our second year Yellow Learners are. They have been going out of their way to help support our first year Learners as everyone learns the ropes of being at GAP School.
This year we have two Silver Flocks! The Silver Stardust and the Silver Warriors. This incredible group of Learners and Educators dove into the school year with enthusiasm. They have been spending time getting to know one another, team building, and designing their plan for what the school year will look like for the Silver Flocks.
It has been inspiring to hear about the ideas our Silver Learners have for the school year. They are thinking big about our all school units, Maker Days, Knowledge Seekers, and even all school extravaganzas. It's exciting to see the Learners eager to take so much ownership over their journey at school.
The Emerald Alpacas round out our flocks for the school year. The fifth & sixth graders arrived on the first day with big ideas and ready to take on the world. They've set up their classroom space, started daily entries in their planners, and have even spent a day up Kinsers where they did their first solo walk of the school year.
This year the Emerald Flock will be using a bushcraft book as their textbook. It's important that they learn how to use books for more than just reading stories, and important to that they feel excited and engaged about what tools they have for learning. What a win to be able to do both!
We will be jumping into Maker Days soon, first we need to develop how we're going to plan for Maker Days. One change this year is how we approach our projects. In the past we've had all Learners complete the same proposal, for some Learners this was a huge hurdle. In recognizing that all humans learn in different ways we are now focusing more on the design process. Our Learners are currently practicing the steps that go into the design process so that when it's time to plan a Maker Day project they feel confident making a plan that supports how they learn (and plan) best. The Learners have been exploring the design process through challenges like designing a tool, using paper and tape, to retrieve a ball.
In Knowledge Seekers our Learners have spent the first days of school playing brain games and going on "woodsy wanders" to observe and identify all that is living in our outdoor classrooms. Our Knowledge Seekers are also diving into our current big idea that is guiding our learning: “We are GAP School” An exploration of the personal stories, our shared values, and the skills and systems we will use to support our community.
It has been an incredible kick off to our school year. We are so inspired by our Learners and excited for a school year of wonderful adventures and growth!