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3 Cool Ways Our Pre-K Class Learns by Doing

Posted by Chris Starr on Nov 10, 2022 3:42:39 PM

Pre-kindergarten students at Oak Knoll School of the Holy Child in Summit, New Jersey, are immersed in hands-on learning. Through our method of teaching, students actively engage in real-world projects, which leads to competent thinking, better management skills and understanding of complex problems.


From their very first day at Oak Knoll, pre-k students learn that collaboration, cooperation, problem-solving, ingenuity, and team work will be the hallmarks of their Oak Knoll education. Read below for three fun recent examples of classroom projects that occurred early in the school year and are symbolic of the dynamic teaching and learning these students will experience throughout their years at Oak Knoll.

Being Little Acorns
Pre-kindergarten students at Oak Knoll are affectionately referred to as “Little Acorns.” Starting on their first day of school, our Little Acorns embarked on a project creating a book about themselves entitled “Being Little Acorns.” First, these 4-year-olds learned about book titles, writing and illustrating. Then they were interviewed by their teacher and filled out a simple questionnaire asking them how old they were, their favorite color, what they liked to do at Oak Knoll, and how they felt about coming to school. They then drew self-portraits being particularly careful to accurately represent themselves with proper hair color, eye color, skin color, etc. Together, they compiled the mini-biographies into the book which serves as a guide to the class. The project allowed them to get to know themselves better as well as each other as a class. The class will now work on creating a digital version of the book.

Not a Box
Oak Knoll pre-kindergarten students have a favorite book entitled, “Not a Box,” by Antionette Portis. In the story, a small rabbit refuses to believe that a box is just a box and shows all the many imaginative things a box can become. Working alone, or in groups, the students chose a box from a variety of options and then used materials from the pre-k maker corner to transform their box into something unique. Their creations are on display now and include items as varied as a rocket ship, hot-air balloon, helicopter, and car.

Watts Towers
Students have been learning about building and creation and reading the book “Dream Something Big” by Dianna Hutts Aston. The book recounts the story of Simon Rodia and the construction of his Watts Towers in California, built over the course of 34 years with mostly broken glass, old rebar, and found objects. The book ends with a challenge to students to construct their own something bug. Oak Knoll pre-k parents donated miscellaneous items including pipe cleaners, beads, buttons, and other recycled materials. The students then individually created their own Watts Towers using clay as a base. The towers are now available for viewing in the pre-kindergarten center.

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Topics: engineering, teaching, education, STEM, classroom, elementary school, coeducation, kindergarten ready, growth mindset, pre-K, academics

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