WinSport’s Early Explorers program – an early childhood development program for children ages three to five – builds the physical and cognitive development of children in an engaging indoor and outdoor environment. The idea to create the program was inspired from WinSport’s legacy, which was formed by relentless, bold, and fearless individuals. The organization’s goal is to continue that legacy by creating the next generation of leaders – children who will make an impact and continue to inspire their community. The outdoor play component of our ECD program is complimented by the newly designed calm and nurturing indoor learning space. Below is an example of a learning story written by WinSport Early Childhood educator Brittany Caldwell.
As I sat beside a boy on a log, I noticed beside us sat a little beetle. I reached out and grabbed a stick to pick up the beetle. I showed the beetle to the boy and a big smile grew across his face. I asked him if he wanted to show the beetle to his friends. He nodded in agreement and grabbed my hand and guided me towards a small group of boys. The boys quickly gathered around the beetle and began to observe him.
“He is so big”
“Wow, look at his legs”
“I wonder if he is alive”
We watched as the beetle began to crawl. All of a sudden one boy raised his boot and stomped right over the beetle. The other boys cried out, “stop!” The one boy began to inquire why he should care to not stomp on the beetle. Was it just a bug? Isn’t that what you did when you found a bug? You stomp on it!
Before I knew it the boys were divided into a deep debate about the beetle sitting before them. Should we stomp on it? Why or why not? One boy quietly engaged in the conversation and said “If you step on the beetle its life will be over, that’s it, no more for the beetle, and his family will be so sad.” I watched on as they poked and prodded and debated over how to treat this creature before them.
As global citizens we are often put in situations where we must work cohesively with others who may not share our values. Yet, we must get along. Learning how to respectfully disagree and work alongside each other is a life skill that we must carry with us. While only young preschoolers, these children were tackling topics that are debated in the adult world. What is the value of life, and how do we respect it? I have no idea what the right answer was – should we squish the beetle or not – yet I am sure that in our time with the beetle we learned more about the world around us than we ever could have sitting in a classroom.