Mayfield Junior School: Kindergarten Friday Rotations “Busy Hands, Busy Brains”

Although every day is an adventure in kindergarten, Fridays are extra special. On Fridays, the children rotate through the three classrooms, experiencing hands-on activities in small groups that include meeting Beethoven to learn about the senses, making their own play dough as a science experiment, designing and cooking gourmet mini-pizzas, and weighing and measuring pumpkins for math. Research has shown that students learn best when learning is active, or to put it simply, busy hands lead to busy brains.

Parents also have the opportunity to join the fun and share their expertise and talents. One father who is a doctor taught the class about the 27 bones in the hand. Another mother created sugar skulls for the children to decorate in order to celebrate the Day of the Dead. Their support allows for experiments with dry ice, creating elaborate solar system models and for children to individually concoct their own recipe for fruit smoothies.

As students engage with these interesting projects and use materials in new ways, they are constructing meaning. They are actively involved in inquiry, discovery, investigation, and interpretation. Between the ages of four and seven, the right side of the brain is developing quickly and learning comes more easily through visual and spatial activities. Following up activities with writing and speaking about them help develop the left side of the brain, which is more involved in analytical and language skills. Hands-on group activities also help children develop their social skills, as well as developing crucial fine motor skills that children will need for the rest of their lives. But the kindergarteners don’t care much about brain research or developing skills- if you ask them, they will just tell you that Friday rotations are fun!

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