September 23, 2005

First Day of Coop

First day of coop. It was great, a bit overwhelming at first with so many people and so many things going on but it was amazing to watch how it settled in and so much was accomplished. The day is divided up into three one hour sessions. Sirah is in a nursery type play setting for all three hours. Rhiannon and Ciaran have a similar structure to their time though they are in different groups based on their age.

The day opens for us in a big assembly. Everyone together and we sing several praise songs. Today they introduced all the new families, there were several of us. In the future this is a time when kids can showcase their talents to the larger group. Today one boy came forward, age 11 who is going on a mission trip with his father to Kenya next month. They will be visiting an orphanage and asked us to bring in beanie babies for the kids there. After assembly we all break off into our own classes.

Both follow a Five in a Row structure for the first hour. Reading a storybook and learning lessons all based around that book. Second hour they have music time, do crafts and have a snack. Third hour is P.E. I am in Ciaran's class for first and third hour and have 2nd hour off, where I can relax and socialize with other parents, have coffee and a snack.

Today in Rhiannon's class they read "The Story of Ping" and did several activities around the book. They learned how to say a few words in Chinese, learned about the geography of China and the Yanghtzee River. They made two crafts based on the book and talked about ducks. She sang several songs, had a snack and then played many fun field games. One she was very excited about involved popping balloons with lolipop sticks.

Ciaran's class was based on "Cowboy Small" by Lenski, Lois. I helped out in the class and the leader was excellent. She began by reading them the book and then had many hands on items to show them including curry combs, all the clothes (bandanas, chaps, hat, boots, spurs, etc), tin cups, lasso, and a full saddle and bridle. She held up each item and talked about what it was used for. She also talked about caring for animals and tied it into the bible verses about caring for animals.

Then the kids got to dress up in cowboy get up, vests, skirts, chaps, holsters, boots and bandanas and each had a horse on a stick that they rode all around the building and outside. They rode to the "campfire" where they tried beans and beef jerky (Ciaran didn't have the jerky) and then they did barrell races on the horses and tried lassoing a large stuffed cow with rope. They rode back inside from their "round-up" and learned the song home on the range and made bandanas. Then snack time and game time. One thing I really appreciate about snack time is that it is made by students in the coop who are part of "snack servants". Today they made little homemade pizzas for each student involved in the coop - that is over 100 students!

For games we had them do another roundup ride (this time without all the getup). We played a version of "Sharks and Minnows" but instead they were cows and cowboys. The cowboys were all on horses and had to catch the cows. Then they switched teams. When they tired of this we played "duck, duck goose" only it was "cow, cow, cowboy". We also did more barrell races and took a picture of all the kids. Rode back inside and got everyone drinks and they played with the toys until parents picked them up.

The kids were excited and had a great time. I was tired after the gym class. Somehow having just 11 children between the ages of three and four is absolutely exhausting. Maybe because it was my job to burn off the energy that these kids have after having to concentrate and focus for so long. All it all it was a great day.


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