Picture this – a busy kindergarten classroom. During writing time, Lexie notices that the birds have become very active at the outside feeder. “Look,” she exclaims, “it’s lunchtime for the birds!” Mrs. Sterner, walking over to the window, says. “It seems like there’s so many more birds at the feeder than usual today. Why do you think that is, Lexi?” “Well, we did put in fresh food this morning. Maybe it just tastes better!”
A few minutes later, a classmate observes, “It sure did get cloudy out there.” Mrs. Sterner replies, “What do you think those clouds mean, Liam?” Liam thinks a minute, then answers, “I suppose it could snow this afternoon. It’s pretty cold now. The big thermometer was at 40 degrees during opening circle. Now it’s at 35.”
Within seconds, others leave the writing table to join in the observation and discussion. “Those birdies are all puffed out,” observes Mason. “They look bigger and fluffier,” states Aleah. Mrs. Sterner brings the kids together and asks, “What do you think all these signs are telling us? The birds are chowing down, it’s getting colder and cloudier, their feathers are all puffed out…any thoughts?”
Thinking, Lexi exclaims, “I think the birds are eating so much ‘cause they know it’s going to snow!” Liam concludes, “Yes! Maybe they’re worried they won’t eat for a few days!” Aleah joins in saying, “Those puffy feathers are like winter coats…Liam did say the it was getting colder.”
Intentional teaching – taking advantage of those unanticipated teachable moments when learning blooms – is a hallmark of the Red Door teaching style. Do we have an established curriculum? Yes. Do we have lesson plans for the day? Yes. Are we open to taking a few minutes “off topic” to nurture our students’ curiosity? Absolutely!