By Toni W. Riley
Who’s ready for a Full Moon Meatball Sub or Out of This World Chicken Strips or Solar Oven Nachos or even Good Night Moon Star-shaped sandwiches? The children who attend the Children’s Academy are! The Children’s Academy on 120 Iroquois Drive had a month full of activities to help their pre-K children remember this once-in-a-lifetime event.
The Great American Total Solar Eclipse is the perfect opportunity for TCA to reinforce their philosophy that early childhood education is fundamental to a child’s future.
Nicole Bryant, a curriculum specialist, along with owner Shea Mohon felt it was essential for the children at TCA to be a part of this extraordinary event and planned everything for the month around an eclipse theme, including creative menus that also follow federal nutrition guidelines.
“We felt it was important as a management staff to have the children be a part of history and develop a foundation for learning,” Mohon said.
The TCA program feels that learning is influenced by nutrition and exercise. Their menus are filled with fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains, and the children also have yoga classes.
With a month of activities centered on the eclipse, the academy wanted children to realize that education can be fun. The children began the month by making solar ovens to cook the main course of their lunch.
Construction of the solar oven set up the opportunity to teach the children about the effect the sun has on day-to-day activities. This kick-off lesson helped children think about what would happen if there was no sun as well as to explain that the darkness they experience on Aug. 21 will only be temporary and to not to be afraid.
The big event for the month was the preparation of two academy-wide time capsules. During the month each of the 100 children, from infants to 4 years old, and their families were encouraged to contribute something that will mark this time in history. Cards, pictures or anything that will help commemorate this event. There were ongoing conversations with the children about what sort of things are important to include.
The Children’s Academy believes parent participation and involvement is at the forefront of student success, especially at the early education level, so they involved parents in the month-long activities as well. The academy hosted an open house at the end of the month where parents could work with their child to build their own personal time capsule and then watch the TCA capsules be buried. While at the open house, children were encouraged to show their classroom environment and daily work to parents.
The next total solar eclipse will be on April 8, 2024. The Children’s Academy plans to keep close ties with their students and invite them and their families back for the unearthing of the time capsules.
Tips for teaching kids about the eclipse and making it memorable:
- Visit NASA’s website.
- Make a family time capsule.
- Make lunch in a solar oven and explain how heat from the sun helps cook it.