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Active learners take on Easter

UNION – Kindergarten is tough work. You have to color between the lines, learn to share with others and stay still for an entire nap time.
If you’re in Angie Deal’s class at Union Elementary School, all this drudgery is broken up by jelly beans and bunny hopping.
On Thursday morning, students at the west Lincoln school were counting change, coloring Easter bunnies and making chick and rabbit buckets. Activity was everywhere.
“If you come in my classroom this is what you’re going to see,” said Deal.
Earlier in the week, students went on an Easter egg hunt and then counted the number of eggs they found.
“I found 21,” kindergartner Morgan Edwards said proudly.
The students also had an activity in which they counted jelly beans and after finishing ate the Easter treat.
“Hands on activities are a lot more interesting to the children than sitting down and doing a worksheet,” said Deal.
Sitting still and hitting the books is a small part of kindergarten, however. On Thursday morning, students were laboring over sentence writing about the Easter bunny.
They also have to work independently on art projects.
“If they do it hands on by themselves, it makes them not depend on anybody,” said Angel Ritch, the class’s teacher assistant. “They depend on themselves.”
Depending on themselves is something they’ll need to carry with them through elementary school.
“When they go to the first grade, there’s a lot more work and little play,” said Ritch. “We’ve got to get them ready for that.”
For now, however, the students are enjoying their hands-on, play friendly, kindergarten curriculum.
“We go outside, and we go in the gym and play, and we go in the centers and play, too,” said Kathrine Heil, a student.
Student’s work and play is generally centered on secular holidays. Earlier this month, they dealt with four leaf clovers and Irish leprechauns. This week is all about Easter.
“Kindergarten is a lot of thematic work,” said Deal. “It brings a lot of excitement.”
For the children, the excitement is brought on by the Easter bunny and Easter eggs.
“I like to hunt Easter eggs and dye Easter eggs,” said Morgan.
“I met the Easter bunny at a yard sale,” said Marie Rose, a student.
And although schools can only teach secular holidays, many students are also excited about the religious aspects of Easter.
“I like Easter, and I like Jesus, and I like me, and I like my Barney,” said Morgan.
by Sarah Grano

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