Mother Earth, Mother Earth, take our seed and give it birth
Father Sun, gleam and grow, until the root begins to show
Sister Rain, Sister Rain, shed thy tears to swell the grain.
Brother Wind, breathe and blow, then the blade all green will grow.
Earth and Sun and Wind and Rain, turn to gold the living grain.
I have been meaning to post an in depth record of how I approached the Four Elements nature block with Jacob. This was a block I put together myself, pulling stories, poems, craft ideas from various sources and it all started with a simple idea put forth in Eric Fairman's Path Of Discovery Grade One. The goal of this block was to gently introduce Jacob to the four elements through imagination, art, poetry and even cooking! There was a lot of hands on exploration and only a small amount was documented photographically, but I will share all that we did (and some things we didn't get to but fit in nicely).
I began the block telling a story I made up for Jacob that would carry us through the whole 4 weeks, each week introducing us to a new element: Once upon a time, there was a little boy, much like you, who lived in a far away kingdom. This kingdom was a beautiful place to live. The King was kind and fair and treated the people with much love and for this, all the people wanted to please the King. There were many fields that grew large bountiful crops- enough food for all the people to share. A beautiful rive flowed next to the kingdom and its waters sparkled like crystals under the warm sun. There was also many wide open fields where flowers grew by the millions. In these fields, the breezes would gently blow and the flowers would bend their heads as if nodding for joy. Many children went to these fields to fly their kites high above the kingdom. Oh! the boy loved living here and because it was so beautiful, he and all the people were always happy. Now it happened one day a dark cloud settled across the kingdom. The land became cold and dark and everyone grew sad. The flowers and the crops seized to grow and the river began to dry up. The King called a meeting and all the townspeople gathered in the courtyard. He began to tell the people how an evil sorcerer had placed a spell over the land, stealing its treasures. The King said that in order to break the spell, a special child must venture across the Earth, learning its secrets and gathering wisdom along the way. This child would find the sorcerer and tell him a magic rhyme which would break the spell and free their kingdom from darkness. When the boy heard the King, he knew immediately that he was the right one to help his people. So the boy shouted "King, I will do it!" Everyone cheered for the boy's bravery. The King was happy and thanked the boy for offering to help. He told the boy that he would not have to travel alone- he would send his most beloved companion Foxy to travel with him. The boy smiled as he knew there was no cleverer creature than Foxy. After the King had spoken, he sent the boy home to rest for his journey.
The next day, I continued my story and the boy met Mother Earth and learned all about how important earth is. He was also given the first line to the magic rhyme:
Mother Earth says I grow.
Some of the supporting activities for this week were: creating a terrarium, taking a woodland walk, planting a garden, and digging in mud. Our poem for the week was the Mother Earth poem found in POD 1.
During the second week, the boy and Foxy continued their travels to another new land and met Brother Wind (air). After learning the secrets of the wind, the boy was taught the second line to the rhyme:
Brother Wind says I blow.
Supporting activities for this week were flying a kite, making a pinwheel, modeling birds out of beeswax and blowing bubbles (I had also planned on making windchimes or a windsock, but we didn't get to it!). Our poem for the week was The Wind found in POD 1.
In our third week, the boy and Foxy once more traveled to another new land and met Sister Rain (water). Sister Rain (water) shared her secrets and taught him the third line of the magic rhyme.
Sister Rain says I flow.
Supporting activities for this week were: playing in a water tub, creating a creek in the backyard, exploring the creek at a nature preserve, and playing in the rain. Our poem for the week was Silver Raindrops found in a A Child's Seasonal Treasury.
In our fourth and final week of the block, the boy and Foxy venture to a new land and meet the last character in our story, Father Sun (fire)! Father Sun taught the boy his secrets and the final line to the magic rhyme.
Father Sun says I glow.
Supporting activities for this week were: making candles, feeling the warmth of the sun, roasting marshmallows over the fire and creating a sun weaving (idea found on the Twig and Toadstools blog). I had also planned to paint fire using red and yellow, but ran out of time. Our poem for the week was The Sun from POD 1.
After we finished our activities and on the very last day of our week, I told the ending to the story- the boy and foxy travel to the sorcerer's castle, speak the magic rhyme and break the spell while also destroying the sorcerer. The sorcerer's castle then turns to gold and the land becomes alive and bursting with life. When the boy grows up, he returns to the castle to rule as the King.
I had a lot of fun creating this block! At first I wasn't sure how I was going to weave it all together, but in the end I was pretty pleased with how I approached it. The most reassuring part was how Jacob was lingering on my every word for each telling of the story and he couldn't wait to hear the end! I call that a huge success!
edited to add that we did make our own small lesson book. Jacob illustrated a page of each of the elements and wrote a line of the magic rhyme. But this wasn't my main focus for this block- it was much more of a hands on approach.