The Power of Suggestion

During a a springtime curriculum unit on birds the children learned about how different birds make nests — some use sticks and grass, some mud.  Both males and females build nests in some species, and in others the male brings the nesting material to the female who does all the arranging.  And nests are sized to accommodate anywhere from 2 to 13 eggs! An amazing example of variety in nature.

After a few days of exploring the nest-building habits of birds, the children spontaneously began to make nests of their own using the materials at hand.  

girls with birds nest

This included more natural items such as grass and dandelions. However our nests were not limited to materials birds might use.

cornstarch clay nests

Cornstarch clay nests were created complete with the proper number of eggs for each species.

boy and girl on nest

Hula hoops, frisbees and playground balls made a nest with eggs being incubated by two preschoolers!

This is the beauty of emergent curriculum in which children manipulate knowledge and construct their own interpretations of concepts.  The role of the educator is to supply information, ideas, and plenty of raw materials.  Then children need the freedom to explore and create from their own store of ideas and inspiration. Using their own imaginations children construct knowledge and understanding of the world around them.  And hopefully they will look at birds’ nests in a new way.