The idea of exploring our community through maps and online technology started with a question from one of the children in our classroom.
“Hey Betty, do you live in Thurstonia or something, like Declan?” asked Warren, age 4.
Betty replied that she lived in Little Britain. Curious about where Little Britain was, we took to Google Maps.
“Wow that is pretty far away,” said Warren. This sparked further questions.
“Where does everyone live? How far is everyone’s house from the daycare?” Warren wondered out loud.
To further this inquisitiveness we offered an open invitation to explore Google maps using “Street View”. The children took a tour together of our city and the conversations that emerged showcased how aware the children are of their surroundings and how well they know their community.
The children were excited to point out areas that were familiar and had meaning to them. Jack R. came over to the computer and commented, “Hey! That looks a lot like Lindsay!” He then pointed to a street and said, “I ride my bike here.” As we “toured” the downtown area of Lindsay, Nolan excitedly pointed and told his friends, “There’s my mom’s store!” As we took a virtual “stroll” along the river Kai pointed and said, “This is where I go fishing!” Joseph was able to find his new school and explain how to get to his house from there. Declan and Warren explored the area around our Centre. “We are getting close to our school,” said Declan. “Hey, that’s my grocery store,” added Warren.
We offered the children a paper map of Lindsay to further observe and explore. We also offered paper, pencils and rulers for the children to think deeper about maps. Further interesting conversations took place among the children.
“Maps are used for finding places.” Nash
“My parents use a map when they don’t know where to go.” Joseph
“I think we need maps to find our houses.” Declan
“Can you find my house on this map?” Warren
“My house is in Lindsay.” Jack R.
All were eager to locate their homes and other special places on this map as well. The children proceeded to draw and create their own maps.
Listening to the children’s conversations allowed us to understand the strong connections the children already have to their community. They were able to share stories with each other and explore the concept of distance. By exploring our community together, we were able to deepen our relationships with each other and further connect with friends who have similar interests and experiences within our community.
Amanda Watson RECE, Courtney Lewis RECE, and Kylie Lott RECE, Senior Preschool Room, Compass ELC Victoria Graduate Program
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