Sonoma County Office of Education

Hands-on exploration

04/05/2016 -

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Children were gone for the day, but the fun hadn't stopped at the Children's Museum of Sonoma County on the evening of Monday, April 4.

About 15 teachers from around the county were there to get inspired and bring ideas back into their classrooms, on a special field trip organized by SCOE's Transitional Kindergarten (TK) Network.

A couple teachers from Mark West Elementary gathered around a clear tube where air blew small, bright objects skyward to demonstrate air currents. They brainstormed how they might re-create that in their class. "What about a hair drier?" asked Brulene Zanutto, SCOE's Early Literacy and School Readiness Coordinator. She organizes the TK Network, a gathering of Transitional Kindergarten teachers held every other month that focuses on sharing stories and gaining new skills for the classroom.

She encouraged the teachers attending the field trip to think about the scientific ideas involved in each interactive exhibit and how they might be able to recreate the activity in class on a smaller scale.

Around the corner, a teacher named Shannon from Evergreen Elementary found a bucket full of PVC pipes and began piecing them together into a plumbing system.

"My kids love to build," she said with a smile. "This PVC is easy and safe. It can't hurt them, but they can still be creative with it."

Zanutto said the idea to hold the meeting at the Children's Museum came after a Santa Rosa Junior College professor, Jeanie Harmon, presented at an earlier session about the importance of play in brain development and learning. "The teachers were very excited about what they learned and were interested in finding ways to bring purposeful play into their classrooms," she said.

She thanked the Children's Museum, which allowed all the teachers free entry.

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