Attention To Money was a common theme last week! The idea of an ATM solidified into an actual plan that was executed. These three children drew a plan to design a safe place to keep money with access to take it out at a later time. There was collaboration and reflection throughout this process. Below is a clip of their initial thoughts before drafting a plan.
Throughout the morning, they tinkered with different ideas for how to keep the money safe. Their ideas included a top covering to allow the money to remain hidden once it is inserted into the ATM and a separate place for coins and bills to be placed.
Later in the week, there was more work to be done on the ATM to make it more "burglar proof." Below are clips of the current status of the ATM. C.W. mentioned to the children building the ATM, that they might want to consider designing a lock for it. This idea seemed to resonate with them. It will be interesting to see after the long break, if the momentum to modifying the ATM will be in effect.
In the Garden, the children continued to request for the "bank" to open, meaning for me to bring out their wallets and the money for exchange :) They are always quick to gather in line to exchange their nature currency for actual coins and paper bills.
While exchange of currency takes place, the shops continue to quickly form again. What I find interesting is the fluidity of the roles of customers and shop owners. Shop owners frequently peruse the other Nature Shops as customers and then return to their own store in a management role. Also, there are never set prices, or even visible prices, on any of the items for sale. Each shop appears to work with the customer and their current savings or needs. I can't help but revisit this idea that maybe this kind of play is more than just about the idea of money, but on a deeper level, the sense of belonging and feeling connected in a community with common ideals, such as the agreement with the nature currency. I also wonder what the role of joy brings to this process... selling an item that brings someone happiness and purchasing an item that brings one the same emotion. Do these feelings of joy provide the momentum for this learning through Nature Shops? I can't help but wonder if these emotions have helped propel the longevity of this idea sparked by one simple pinecone.
We brought this concept of counting and adding money to a math game for them to explore this idea further. We discussed ideas to help make counting money easier. First was to sort the coins and then put them in order from greatest to least before totaling them.
I later posed the question to the class, how can we make $1.00? These were the notes I recorded from the class conversation. They started thinking about mixed coin combinations to reach $1.00. Their ideas were still budding when I closed the whole class conversation to invite them to use the money in their wallets to create different combinations of a dollar.
Jen and I then handed them their wallets and asked them to make piles equaling $1.00. Once this task was completed, we gave each child a sheet to record their current savings in their wallet. Each box that was filled in, represented $1.00. If there was an amount that was not a full dollar, the children recorded the amount of cents in the box. G. Y. thought of a different way to represent 75 cents. She decided to fill in the box 75% percent to represent the 75 cents. Her sheet indicated that she had $5.75 in her possession.
While the children were counting the money in their wallets, there was no mention about who had the most or comparisons made between classmates. The conversations held between the children were centered around being accurate with their counting. While reflecting more about this observation of a non-competitive environment the children have created, this concept of sharing a common ideal such as money (whether it be nature currency or actual coins and paper bills), did it help foster unity? Did it allow for children to find joy in the process in becoming a contributing member of the Nature Shops where all roles are valued? I am not sure. What I do know is joy and learning are present in all of this.
Some random facts about me...