Children 'Go Wild' to Set Vocabulary Record Preschoolers Here among More Than 1,000 Monitored by Guinness

By Chute, Eleanor | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA), October 31, 2014 | Go to article overview

Children 'Go Wild' to Set Vocabulary Record Preschoolers Here among More Than 1,000 Monitored by Guinness


Chute, Eleanor, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)


Patti Bartolli has been teaching for 18 years, so she doesn't usually have to do dry runs at home to practice the pacing of her preschool lessons.

But Thursday's lesson was an exception. Ms. Bartolli and her preschoolers joined teachers and students in 37 cities to try to set a Guinness World Record for the world's largest vocabulary lesson in multiple venues.

That meant using the same lesson plan for thousands of students and their teachers, starting together and completing the lesson in no more and no less than 30 minutes.

The result is a new record category and a new record. Under Guinness rules, the group needed a minimum of 250 participants. The five sites monitored directly by Guinness, including Pittsburgh, yielded 1,031. Several thousand students may be added once documentation from other sites is received.

The Guinness World Records attempt was the brainchild of PNC Growing Up Great, which is celebrating its 10th year of supporting early childhood education.

Working together, the Fred Rogers Co. and the Pittsburgh Association for the Education of Young Children selected a picture story book - "Mr. Tiger Goes Wild" by Peter Brown. The 183-word book is the story of a stuffy tiger who finds his true self.

"It really expresses who young children are," said Michelle Figlar, executive director of the association.

A lesson plan was developed for all to use, and teachers were given training and materials in advance. The lesson, which included singing and roaring, emphasized four vocabulary words: stripes, patience, magnificent and wilderness.

The Pittsburgh event took place at the Hyundai Club West Lounge of Heinz Field, where 233 Head Start and pre-K children from Pittsburgh Public Schools and the Council of Three Rivers American Indian Center participated. They came from programs at Conroy School, the Children's Museum and the Overbrook building. …

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