Featured Project: Investigating Turtles!

Children in Toddler E had been studying jellyfish when Brooks asked, “Are there any animals that eat jellyfish even though they sting?” To our discovery, we found that some turtles eat jellyfish. Our project focus then shifted to turtles, particularly, Leatherback Turtles.

Children began studying the parts of a sea turtle through diagrams and observing photographs upon the light table. Toddlers were soon able to identify parts of the turtle such as the shell, scutes, flippers and beak.

While observing pictures of different turtle breeds, toddlers became highly intrigued by the variances in turtle shells, particularly in the turtle scales (scutes). Toddlers were asked to create scutes of their own using recycled fruit jars. Toddlers used an array of natural materials to fill their scale: seeds, rocks and peas.

As a class, we glued each scale to a canvas to form a turtle shell. Jude stated, “Our turtle needs flippers and a head,” so we added flippers and a head to the shell using textured paint consisting of sand, glue and dark green paint. The paint consisted of rough, bumpy sand to represent the roughness of turtle skin. Vivian then said, “Ms. Alex, the turtle needs water to live,” so we added an ocean background.

Toddlers used bubble wrap and forks to create dimension such as waves and bubbles. The collaborative creation is proudly sitting on a shelf in the science center for children to reflect on, and parents and other classes to observe.

Featured Teacher: Alex Gibson | Toddler E Teacher | Venning Road

Ms. Alex Gibson is the Toddler E lead teacher and department coordinator. She moved to Charleston from a small town outside of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Ms. Alex has always had a passion for children, which is the reason she studied speech and hearing with a focus in adolescence at Edinboro University. After obtaining her degree, she worked in a classroom for children with special needs, which further solidified her love of teaching children.

After instantly falling in love with Children’s Discovery Center and its Reggio inspired philosophy Ms. Alex said, “Children are capable, competent, and natural researchers who have a desire to learn.”

Ms. Alex believes the most interesting part of the Reggio learning style is how each child may possess the same materials, yet each creation is completely unique. Her favorite aspect of working at Children’s Discovery Center is watching and listening to how each child interprets a concept.

She also believes communication is one of the main keys to educational success, which is why she loves inspiring discussion and conversion amongst the entire class. Her students teach her something new every day, which is what she believes is the most rewarding aspect of teaching.

When Ms. Alex isn’t in her Children’s Discovery Center uniform, you will most likely find her exploring the city or at Kiawah Beach with her two beloved puppies, Kona and Ollie.

A fun fact about Ms. Alex is she considers herself a “foodie” and enjoys venturing to different restaurants to sample new, bizarre foods. She mentions that she is a die-hard Pittsburgh Steelers fan, and more than likely will be found watching and cheering loudly for the Steelers every Sunday.

She stated how her mother has been a preschool teacher for more than 20 years and is the epitome of what a teacher should embody: patience, creativity and strength. Ms. Alex hopes she is able to embody those traits in her classroom every day to positively impact her students’ education.