Oaks News from the Wild #8

 

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Despite some missed school days due to snow, ice and a burst pipe (!), the Oaks forest kindergarten class has enjoyed many great experiences at Audubon since winter break.

MAPPING

After spending time focusing on animals in winter, we have now begun a new unit on mapping.  This focused unit will continue for a few weeks, but we expect these mapping skills to be used throughout the year (and beyond).  Shannon created a 3-D model map of the Oaks playground with interested children.  The teacher worked with small groups of kids to become familiar with the playground model, and then they all enjoyed a treasure hunt!  Each child was shown a sticker on the model and got to then go find where their golden nugget was hidden.  The children got excited and began placing stickers and hiding treasures for friends to find.  Additionally, an model map was created in the Oaks classroom and similar treasure hunting activities were enjoyed.

We have also begun using maps, such as a home-made one of a nearby portion of Rock Creek Park which helped us on a walk.  A compass, given to us by one family, helped us in our travels as well.  In addition, we are reading a delightful book, My Father’s Dragon, which contains a map of 2 fictional islands.  We are following the main character on his adventures on the map around Wild Island as he goes to save a baby dragon.

 

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HABITATS

Related to the mapping unit and to our new animal project, we are learning about different habitats at Audubon and beyond.  We read the book Going on a Bear Hunt and went on a walk, telling a revised version of the story as we went to the meadow, forest and pond… and eventually a bear (tree) cave!  After our walk, some children found a hibernating woolly bear, so it seems we actually went on a wooly bear hunt.  : )

OUTDOOR ADVENTURES

What fun to find animal tracks in the snow!

Fun in the Mud and Snow

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ROCK CREEK PARK

Last Friday morning we walked across the street to Rock Creek Park for the very first time.  It was a delightful, drizzly day.  We followed a hand-made map and added additional landmarks as we explored.

 

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PLAYGROUND ACTIVITIES

Ice Art:  When we went on our habitat walk, each child collected things from nature to bring back to the playground to place in a container of water to freeze.

CAMP FIRE FRIDAYS

Every few Fridays the class enjoys the morning down at the fire pit.  This past Friday we enjoyed a delicious snack of roasted bananas and bagels and Jiffy Pop popcorn.  The kids helped build the fire, and then they climbed, built forts, listened to many silly stories, and more.  To help put out the fire, they had a blast spitting water from their water bottles onto the fire!  Fun times!

CLASSROOM FUN

GUEST TEACHERS

We are fortunate to have 2 gifted master naturalists and an amazing mindfulness teacher (mom) who visit our classroom often.

COMING UP:  We are beginning a very special animal project. Each child has chosen a favorite animal (with beanie baby).  For the next 2 months, each child will study their animal, create art work, and make their own animal book!  Their animals will be incorporated into stories and songs as well.

BOOKS We Have Read

We enjoy reading inside and outside every day.  Below are the books that we read to the whole group recently, but there are so many other wonderful stories being enjoyed by the Oaks, including Julie’s box-o-silly-books and Shannon’s stash of scary ones.

Books about animals in winter

Brr and other James Stevenson books

Talking Eggs by Robert D. San Souci

Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen

My Father’s Dragon (chapter book) by Ruth Stiles Gannett

 

SONGS We Have Sung

“Come Sing a Song of Winter”

Come sing a song of winter, of winter, of winter,

Come sing a song of winter, the cold days are here.

With winter winds blowing and rosy cheeks glowing

Come sing a song of winter, the cold days are here.

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Childhood friendship is the most beautiful memory that can’t ever be replaced.

The Detective Post #8

The Detectives returned from our long break to be greeted by some chilly, wacky, Winter weather! Bundled from head-to-toe in cold weather gear, we set out to explore the changes around Woodend, and to observe all of the changes that Winter has brought our way.

One particularly cold day, with the frigid air tickling our noses and cheeks, we set out to explore one of Audubon’s most changing features: the pond! Upon our arrival, we were amazed to see not one drop of water; instead, sticks, rocks, and leaves lay on top of a white backdrop. The pond was frozen solid! After carefully testing the ice for safety, the Detectives stepped on and enjoyed an afternoon of skating and sliding. “I think I see a frogsicle!” exclaimed one child. Another shouted “Look at the bubbles frozen in the ice!” Mostly though, we heard the children collapsing into piles of giggles as they enjoyed their own winter wonderland.

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The wacky weather brought us some days where we were not able to be at school. Naturally, this led to lots of conversations: Who did you play with while you were away? What kind of fun adventures did you have? One of the most exciting questions launched us into our newest exploration: What were the animals doing at Woodend while we were away? We began thinking about the nocturnal animals that we have here, and about the ways that they spend their days.

To be able to be awake in the nighttime, we concluded, animals must have special super senses. The first animal we thought about, the raccoon, uses its five-toed feet for a super sense of touch! Mimicking the raccoon, we used our own sense of touch to explore, feeling the sticks, leaves, and icy ground around us. We searched for signs of raccoons around the pond, and even got a classroom visit from Chester the Raccoon!

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The following day, we began thinking about foxes, and learned about their super sense of hearing and smell! We imagined what their underground dens might look like, and thought about how they use their hearing and smell to decide which of their two “doors” they use to exit their den. A visit to our meadow fox den allowed the Detectives to search for the two holes of the den. Afterwards, back on the playground, we popped on fox ears and imagined ourselves as foxes as we crawled through a tunnel! “Tickle the top!” exclaimed one child. “It’ll sound like a rabbit running above me!”

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Our next nocturnal animal, the owl, flew in without a sound and gave us an opportunity to explore our sense of sight! We thought about the owl’s huge eyes and amazing vision as we headed into the woods, equipped with a list of pictures, to find various items on a Winter scavenger hunt. The children spied around, searching for various plants, tracks, and animals, and even has a visit from Owlbert the Owl.

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Back in the classroom, we enjoyed making animal tracks in playdough, singing nocturnal animal songs, and playing with various animals in dens.

A particular highlight has been hearing about the adventures of our two resident nocturnal animal stuffies, Chester Raccoon and Becca Bat! These two friends have been heading home with different Detectives each day, and then coming back to school for us to hear about their exciting nighttime adventures! We are so excited to hear about what fun they’ll get into next!

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Spoiler Alert: In the upcoming weeks, we will continue learning about nocturnal animals!

Books We Read:

Daft Bat by Jeanne Willis

I’ll Always be Your Friend by Sam McBratney

Songs We Sang:

 

I am Nocturnal: Fox Edition (Tune: You are Sunshine)
I love the night time,
The dark, black night time,
And that is when I sniff around,
I am nocturnal,
I love the nighttime,
‘Cuz I’m a fox,
I sniff without a sound!

I am Nocturnal: Owl Edition (Tune: You are Sunshine)
I love the night time,
The dark, black night time,
And that is when I swoop around,
I am nocturnal,
I love the nighttime,
‘Cuz I’m an owl,
I swoop without a sound!

Oaks News from the Wild #7

 

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Life is precious. This time of early childhood is precious. We feel so grateful to share the children’s joy at such a magical time in such a magical place.

The Oaks have been practicing mindfulness. We ring a chime inside or chant an ohm outside to start and end our morning circle meeting. When we line up to go inside, we practice breathing visualizations to slow our engines down for inside time. At Hilltop Home, the children have quiet Sit Spot Time. And to bring this all together, parent volunteer Caroline has been leading the class in mid-day mindfulness sessions. The children have practiced having mindful bodies (still and quiet), and mindful listening. While children are often naturally “in the moment”, the language we use with them helps them pay attention to what’s happening in their brains and bodies. This is one of the important components of self-regulation  – one of the most important skills young children are working on developing.

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Mindful listening with Caroline

Our adventures outside have included exploration of the pond before and after the hard freeze.

With the cold, we also had our first campfires. We talked about fire safety, roasted apples and bananas, and enjoyed stories around the fire. The area around the campfire circle is also full of fun places to explore and climb.

At Hilltop, new forts arose and the fairy playground got spruced up for winter.

We’ve been talking about animals preparing for winter the last two weeks. Nature is the best teacher, so we were thrilled when the children discovered a hibernating bat inside a new tree cave by the pond!

With our guest naturalist, we learned about which birds stay around for the winter, and which fly south. The children made suet bird feeders as a gift to our resident Woodend birds.

Inside, we worked on habitat murals. Together the children made the Meadow, Pond and Creekbed, and Hilltop Home/Forest. Each child chose a stuffed Audubon animal, drew it’s picture, cut it out and found it a snug hiding place in one of the murals. Puffy paint snow turned our murals into winter wonderlands.

Lots of animal play ensued inside the classroom, including the construction of a natural history museum with the animals sorted into taxonomic groups. A pet shop opened, selling all kinds of wildlife (I know! But I promise these children will grow up loving and doing right by wildlife…). This kind of play springs entirely from the children’s imaginations, aided by props we bring. A new cash register and money appeared when the “shop” play arc began, and the new props sparked new play and drew in new children to dramatic play. Outside, we retold the story of the The Mitten with our Audubon animals.

We created beautiful snowflakes to decorate our classroom for our Winter Celebration and winter cards. A Gingerbread family moved into the classroom and left notes for the children each day. They also hid the children’s special animals each night. The Gingerbreads had to move to a bigger house to make room for a gingerbread baby, so the Oaks got to eat their old house at our final campfire.

The play-yard is always a great place for imaginative play.  We had fun with ice and snow, forts and obstacle courses get built and rebuilt, and we even built a “telephone” to send messages between two forts. When play inspires the need to write, that’s emergent literacy at its best!

And in a final burst of love and light, we gathered with families for the Winter Celebration. We sang songs, decorated lanterns and star cookies, and walked with our lights through a sparkling star labyrinth singing “This Little Light of Mine.” May the light of your little ones always shine brightly in your lives.

The Detective Post #7

With Winter winds beginning to blow, the Nature Detectives have been observing the changing of the seasons all around us! From the abundance of crunchy leaves on the ground as opposed to the trees, to that bright winter sun, the preschoolers have been hoping for snow on a daily basis!

 

With the sunlight dimming and moonlight coming ever quickly, we finished off our Planet Pal unit by meeting Moonbeam, Sunny Ray and Starbright! The students were easily able to connect with the brighter winter Sunlight we were playing under, as well as discussing how we are all noticing that the moon is coming out earlier. The afternoon class was even able to observe the moon in its different phases, over our playground!

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On our Naturalist hikes, we also explored the ideas of sunlight and what might happen when the moon is out! Ms. Julie took the AM class on an animal track hunt, searching the mud in the pond for tracks that may have been left by animals during the nighttime! In the afternoon, Ms. Gail brought back her trusty measuring stick, and the Detectives took turns measure their heights in that winter sun! She showed the class different pictures of how our shadows change as we spin towards the sun throughout the day.

 

With the surprisingly warm sunlight, the PM class enjoyed a few all outdoors days, taking advantage of the preschool parking lots to experiment more with tracing our shadows. The AM class took the woods to their ever favorite, “Log Area,” where their planet pal super hero play was beautifully inspired by the backdrop of a bright, winter Sunny Ray

 

 

Indoors, the students also were kept busy by exploring more of the natural science behind our Planet Pal friends! At our meetings, we discussed that while Moonbeam is made out of rock which is a solid, Starbright and Sunny Ray are made out of gas! Since gas is invisible, we did an expirement where we mixed vinegar and baking soda together in a bottle, to which we then popped a balloon on top of the bottle to collect the gas! The students made lots of different hypotheses on what would happen to the balloon, and were all excited to see our Starbright balloon fill up with gas, just like it does up in the sky!

 

The classroom was also full of Planet Pal inspired play, from building Planet Pal headquarters in the block area, to experimenting more with the science aspects of orbiting with magnets in the lab table. We also did lots of hands on discoveries, creating stars and moons in the play dough, as well as using yellow shaving cream to create our own Sunny Ray inspired art!

 

We ended our Planet Pal unit with a scavenger hunt in the woods for all of buddies we have met over the last two weeks, followed by creating our very own Planet Pal class book!  On our hike, the students searched for Mother Earth, Breezy, H2O, Fluffy, Green Bean, Moon Beam, Sunny Ray and Starbright, using clipboards and charts to collect their findings. Indoors, the students had the chance to create their own Planet Pal, or write about their favorite one for our class book. It was so wonderful to watch their imaginations create new Planet Pals with our conversation ideas, and see them putting all of their science knowledge into action!

 

 

This past week at Woodend, we have been diving into what the different animals that call Audubon their home are doing to prepare for the coming winter weather! This past week we focused on the concepts of adaptation and migration.

 

We began the week by meeting a new animal fried- Bella the deer! Bella was dressed in warm winter clothes, which we all agreed was quite silly as we’ve never seen wild deer wear coats and hats! The Detectives thought of ways we adapt to stay warm, some ideas being: wear a warm coat, go inside, and enjoying hot chocolate! While those are things we might enjoy, we learned that deer adapt by growing warm coats and storing fat, as well as losing their antlers which take lots of energy to grow. To exemplify this idea, the Detectives experimented with an “Adaption Mitten,” which was a pretend mitten coated with a layer of Crisco to act as animal fat. The students were able to put one”Adaptation Mitten” on one hand, while the other stayed bare. The Detectives proceeded to put both hands into chilly water- observing that the “Adaptation Mitten” kept their hands nice and warm in the cold water!

 

The Detectives also took to the woods to play a deer antler hide-and-seek game! The students were able to take turns being a winter buck, and “lose” their antler in the woods for other students to find.

 

With less leaves on the trees, the birds have much easier to spy as pops of color up in the tree tops! We took to the woods to observe which birds are wintering here at Woodend, while others will migrate south to warmer weather. The students were also excited to leave sunflower seed out for the migrating birds, as they often take a stop off at Audubon to rest on their flight south! Indoors, we also created our own bird feeders with cereal and pipe cleaners to hang in trees.

 

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To prepare for our winter celebration, the Detectives capped off the week with pine cone hunt in the woods! We learned that some birds that winter here have just the right beaks for pecking into those pine cones for a tasty winter snack! Indoors, each student got the chance to decorate a pine cone with white snow and glitter, that will hang from the ceilings for our winter celebration.

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The students also enjoyed playing with trains indoors, as well as covering themselves in shaving cream snow! We also opened up a warm winter den in the dramatic play, as well as practiced building them in the block area.  The AM class also got to enjoy a felt board version of one of our favorites- It Looked like Spilt Milk, while Ms. Susan brought the PM class her giant map, where the students got to look at migration patters. The Detectives are rearing and ready to go to finish out our winter animal exploration next week and conclude with our exciting winter celebration!

 

 

Books we Read:

There’s No Place Like Space! By Tish Rabe

Planet Pals Book by the Nature Detectives

When It Starts To Snow by Phillis Gershator

Those Darn Squirrels Fly South by Adam Rubin

Crow in the Snow by Lesley Sims and Fred Blunt

Moon Cake by Frank Asch

 

Weekly Top Hits

Moon Moon Moon 

Moon moon moon shining bright

Moon moon moon my nightlight

Moon moon moon I can see

Moon moon moon you’re taking care of me

 

Look up it’s the moon

Look up it’s the moon

Look up it’s the moon up in the sky

It’s big and round and I have found

That it looks just like a pizza pie!

 

Sun Salutation Song 

Sun salutation, dance for the sun
sun salutation, dance for the sun
sun salutation, dance for the sun
I can do it,
you can do it,
we can do a sun salutation!
stretch up high -reach for the sky, hang down low – tickle your toes
feet jump back – just like a frog
belly on the ground – look toward the sun
now downward dog
and breathe, and breathe
feet jump up – just like a frog
hang down low – tickle your toes stretch up high – reach for the sky, now mountain pose – look what you’ve done (repeat)
sun salutation, dance for the sun
sun salutation, dance for the sun
sun salutation, dance for the sun
I can do it,
you can do it,
we can do a sun salutation!

Audio version: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V_SZ0A7iXA8

 

Winter Animals (She’ll Be Comin Round the Mountain)

Winter animals stay warm, yes they do!

Winter animals stay warm, yest they do!

They grow fat for adaptation,

Sleep long for hibernation,

and fly south for migration, yes they do!

 

Spoiler Alert: Next week we will be learning about hibernation and prepping for our Winter Celebration!

 

 

Oaks News from the Wild #6

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“Tree Caving’

 

Joy and Wonder

We spend our days as a class laughing, exploring, reading, wondering, talking, climbing, drawing, writing, singing, building, counting, imagining, creating, observing, playing, and otherwise living and learning joyfully.

Giving Thanks

Before Thanksgiving, we read beautiful books including “Giving Thanks: A Native American Good Morning Message” and drew and shared about what we are thankful for.  We sang “Oh, the Earth is Good to Me,” and we each made our own version that included some things we are thankful for.  The children also made beautiful cards for their families.

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Sunny Ray Planet Pal

We introduced a 2nd planet pal this week- Sunny Ray.  We talked about her “super powers,” sang a song about her (based on the Raffi song “Mr. Sun”), played a sun ball game, traced our shadows in chalk, made solar prints with natural objects, and enjoyed the folktales “Grandma Spider Brings the Sun” and “The Story of the Sun.”

 

 

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Telling the story “Grandmother Spider Bring the Sun”

Indoor Experiences

 

We introduced some new materials this week; the marble race tracks were definitely a hit!

 

 

 

Playground Activities

Creative and cooperative play abounds on the Oaks’ playground and on our Friday morning visits to the Saplings’ playground.  Sure, conflicts do occur, but we work through them together.  And there are opportunities for alone time as well (whether it’s coloring ginkgo leaves to make fairy fans, being a planet pal superhero complete with cape, or concocting a dish in the mud kitchen).

 

 

Exploring more of the 40 Acres of Woodend

We continue to love going to Hilltop Home 2-3 times a week.  Fairies, ninjas, transformers and aliens continue to visit there as well.  : )

This week we ventured to the Far Corner of Woodend to the hollow log and the hollow tree (or the “possum pouch” as one child dubbed it).  What a unique and amazing adventure.  Many, but not all children, climbed into the tree to explore the “tree cave” inside.

 

 

Exploring the hollow tree and log made for a truly amazing day, and just when we thought it couldn’t possibly get any better, the Pied Piper of Audubon appeared and serenaded us through Woodend!

 

 

That was the best day ever!  Except maybe for this day…

It was a perfect fall day at Woodend, under a red canopy of Japanese maple tress.. Some children explored, climbed on logs, swung on branches, while others sat by a tree observing insects and creating little nature books.  At the end of the day, the children lay down and looked up at the wondrous sight of the fall leaves overhead.

 

 

Finding Animals and Mushrooms

 

Volcanoes at Audubon!

Some students have expressed interest in volcanoes, so we decided to make our own with sand and pieces of bamboo and with baking soda and vinegar “lava.”  Many volcanic eruptions occurred that day at Audubon!

 

 

 

We have begun to learn about ways that animals prepare for and adapt to winter.  We are looking forward to continuing this study and also learning about nocturnal animals.  And our winter celebration with families is just around the corner!

Books We Read

Every day we read wonderful books throughout the day.  A typical morning might start with a group of kids gathering around a teacher singing from song books on the Oaks playground.  Later in the classroom, other children perch on a counter top window seat and share giggles over an Elephant and Piggie book.  In the afternoon at Hilltop Home, a master naturalist volunteer shares a beautifully illustrated nature book, and later on, next to the fairy house, a few children listen again to the story of “Twinkle”, the fairy who causes quite a ruckus when trying to cast spells with her wand for the first time.  Some favorite books we have read recently include:

“I’m Thankful Each Day!”  by P.K. Hallinan

“Giving Thanks: A Native American Good Morning Message”by Jake Swamp

“Grandmother Spider Brings the Sun” (Cherokee story)

“The Story of the Sun” retold by Ned Jensen

“Moon Glowing” by Elizabeth Partridge

“Time to Sleep” by Denise Fleming

“Miss Suzy” by Miriam Young

 

Songs We Sang

“We’ve Got the Whole World in our Hands” (with signs and gestures)

“Oh, the Earth is Good to Me” (with signs and gestures):  Oh, the Earth is good to me.  And so I thank the Earth. For giving me the things I need- the sun and the rain and the apple seed. Oh, the Earth is good to me.

“The 4 Seasons Song” (with gestures)- Winter, spring, summer, fall. Winter, spring, summer, fall. Winter, spring, summer, fall. There are 4 seasons in all.

In addition, we sang “Sunny Ray” and many songs from song books including “Puff the Magic Dragon,” “Catalina Magdalena,” “5 Little Monkeys Jumping on a Bed” and “5 Little Monkeys Sitting in a Tree.”

 

The Detective Post #6

What a busy couple of weeks it’s been here at Audubon! After the long break for conferences, we were so glad to see the Detectives back in action. Along with the Detectives, we also welcomed some new friends to our days at school: the Planet Pals! Members from this group of eco-friendly superheroes have been making their way into our classroom each day and bringing us helpful information about how we can use our powers to help protect the Earth!

 

Our first Planet Pal, Mother Earth, taught us about the ground beneath our feet. We thought about the soil that helps to nourish and grow plants, and which gives us a space to walk and play.

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With this idea in mind, the Detectives hiked around Woodend searching for different types of soil, and even made their way to the compost station to think about how soil is created. In the classroom, we read a poem about the earth, made a fresh batch of Earth-colored play dough, and decorated our own version of Mother Earth!

 

 

 

Breezy blew into our classroom with a message about the air we breathe, reminding us of the importance to keep the air clean and fresh. The Detectives, eager to spot this invisible pal, set out on a hike to listen to the rustling of leaves on a blustery day, and even made some breezy movements of their own with the parachute. Some kids played a game of A Big Wind Blows, and imagined a strong wind blowing them across the meadow! In the classroom, we explored different ways to use the air we breathe by making bubble art with straws!

 

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Our search for Mother Earth and Breezy made us eager to find more Planet Pals out in nature. The Detectives activated their “green plant detectors” and set out on a search for plants growing out of the ground. We found huge trees, teeny tiny sprouts, and plants of all sizes in between! Inside the classroom, a letter from our pal Green Bean let us know that we can help take care of the growing plants, and the in return, we’ll have fresh oxygen to breathe! What a team!

 

 

 

The short week brought us two Planet Pals who arrived together: besties Fluffy and H2O! The Detectives got to know this dynamic cloud-and-water duo as they learned about the water cycle, and imagined turning into little water droplets that evaporated, condensed into a cloud, and then precipitated down as rain.img_0022-4

We searched for different cloud types in the sky, followed water trails through our woods, and ran down the meadow while pretending to be rain, making our way from the highest to the lowest point. Along the way, a Detective eagerly exclaimed, “Look, I see Green Bean! She’ll be happy to have this rain!” With more and more knowledge about how to protect the earth, these Detectives are turning more into eco-heroes of their own each day!

 

Songs We Sang
We Are The Planet Pals
We are the Planet Pals, the mighty mighty Planet Pals
Everywhere we go, people want to know
Who we are
So we tell them:
We are the Planet Pals, the mighty mighty Planet Pals
GO-O-O Planet Pals!

Water Travels in the Cycle
Water travels in a cycle, yes it does
Water travels in a cycle yes it does!
It goes up as evaporation
Forms clouds as condensation
Falls down as precipitation
Yes it does!

Books We Read
Why Should I Protect Nature? by Mike Gordon
Gilberto and the Wind by Marie Hall Ets
The Rain Stomper by Addie Boswell
It Looked Like Spilt Milk by Charles G. Shaw

Spoiler Alert: Next week we will continue to meet Planet Pals!

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Oaks News from the Wild # 5

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When environmental conservationists were asked what factors influenced their life’s work, one thing stood out: many childhood hours spent in nature with a caring adult. We teach them about seasons and spiders, but mostly we let their hearts fill with love, knowing that’s what they’ll carry with them.

Looking at the photos from the last two weeks, I am also awed by the creativity we see, inside and out. We provide some interesting things and watch the play explode.

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Tunnel bridge

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Power ring

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Making a “bamboo crusher machine”

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Man and machine

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Ship captains

And the play continues inside…

And it’s easy to see how work is play and play is work.

As the leaves burst into color and then fell, the Oaks explored, learning about why leaves change color, how to find spiders, and the best places for slugs, worms, millipedes and Bess beetles.

At Hilltop Home, we played Meet a Tree, worked on the fairy playground (the fairies write back!), settled into Sit Spots, and played, played, played.

At the end of this week, we made Journey Sticks. The children each chose a special stick, added rubber bands and cloth. We went on a longer hike around Woodend, collecting small memories as we went. We added a colorful leaf or a turkey tail mushroom or a piece of licheny bark to our Journey Sticks, and then told our stories at closing circle and in journals the next day.

We celebrated a birthday, with a Circling the Sun ceremony. We read, and read and read some more.

We had a visit from our first Planet Pal, Mother Earth, who rapped about being green, then led the Oaks in a lively discussion about things we can do to take care of her. “Pick up trash!” “Take care of the animals!” “Drive an electric vehicle!” As a first step, we decided to let our class toads go live a happy toad life in the woods, so they have time to get ready for winter. This was hard, but we read the marvelous book The Bog Baby and got some encouragement from Mother Earth. Then the Oaks found some choice spots near the pond and stream bed and watched Mama and Papa Toads hop away.

Since Mother Earth also reminded the Oaks that their first job is to love her,  we gave them lots of time to do just that. And no outdoor play in Autumn would be complete without some flying leaps into piles of leaves!