Saplings – Nature Detectives


News From the Outdoors:

The first full week of school kicked off as the Nature Detectives were greeted with rainy weather. With the rain pouring down the class donned their rain gear headed out towards the stumps and the wobbly logs and then down the trail towards the bridge for some log rolling.


Toadally Awesome


Slug Life

Both classes made lots of great discoveries under the logs. We spotted potato bugs, millipedes, centipedes, ants, worms, leopard slugs and more. The AM class rolled logs and got to see both a frog and a toad! They were able to observe the differences and similarities between the two oft confused creatures and also noticed how both critters use camouflage to blend in with their environment. The PM class also found a few toads of various sizes and even spotted (and trapped for further observation) a mouse on the playground!



Bridge Builders Admiring Their Work

For the remaining hikes this week we continued to extend our exploration of Woodend by heading out to a favorite area we like to call the lookout. The lookout is a large wooded clearing with an observation deck. Its proximity to the creek, a large stick nest, and lots of kid-friendly climbing and exploring spots make it a favorite. While there the kids were able to not only roll some more logs, but climb some trees, build with sticks, and play some hide and seek.


Fun with Fungi


May the Forest be With You

News from the Classroom:

Throughout this entire week we’ve been talking a lot about some rules that are helpful, not only at school, but also everywhere we go.  During our meeting times at the campfire rug, the kids met two helpful turtles who talked about our rules. The kids have lots of great ideas about how to be safe, kind, responsible, and respectful and it was great to hear their ideas and see them put their ideas into practice!


Party Like a Rock Star


What Does the Fox Say?

The Nature Detectives had lots of fun exploring the many learning centers in the classroom this week. At the raccoon table the kids got to paint with finger paints, early in the week and later, they used natural items from nature in place of paint brushes to make some paintings.


Conductor in TRAINing

For constructive play, the kids built with duplos, built ramps, roadways, garages, and more with the blocks and car toys, and also constructed massive rail systems with the trains!  They also worked on some puzzles, and continued to play in the dramatic play area with the detective kits, puppets and stuffed animals.


Midway through the week we swapped out the water in the lab table for moon sand (a shape-able sticky sand), treasure, and scoops! The kids enjoyed searching for little gems in the moon sand, as well as using the adhesive nature of the sand to build mountains, castles and other inventive structures!


Sherlock Cones

In the AM Class we also celebrated our first Birthday! The kids worked hard to make their birthday pages to add to Mayim’s birthday book!


Feeling Sluggish

Books We Read:

Wet World by Norma Simon

Talk and Work it Out by Cheri J. Meiners

Sand Castle by Brenda Shannon Yee

Play With Me by Marie Hallets


Weekly Top Hits:

Here we are Together

Clean Up Song

Goodbye Song

Class Rules (tune: Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star)

Here are rules for you and me

See how useful they can be

Show respect, be safe and kind

Be responsible all the time

These are rules that we all know

and we follow these rules wherever we go



I Toad You So!

Spoiler Alert:

Next week we’ll start talking about farms and harvests in preparation for our first field trip!



News from the Outdoors

The Nature Detectives kicked of the year with some exciting exploration of both the sanctuary and our natural playground! We embarked on some grand construction projects in the sand box, as well as dug for treasure with different types of tools.  Inside the sandbox the detectives even uncovered, what was dubbed, “the uni-goat,” a small, green toy goat that the kids noticed only had one horn!


The sandbox crew


Wheelin’ and dealin’


Meeting on the stage

The classes enjoyed exploring both the meadow and children’s garden this week! In the meadow, the detectives followed the bird boxes, noticing the different materials used to make each nest. They also experimented with measuring, finding flowers and grasses of different heights and comparing them to our bodies! We found that the yellow and purple flowers were taller than most of our heads!



Bird box observations


I-Spy a Tiger Swallowtail

On Thursday, both classes enjoyed a visit to the children’s garden to practice our Detective super senses! We learned that as Nature Detectives, the best tools we can use for exploring we actually carry with us at all times! The Detectives practiced using their owl eyes for spying butterflies, their fox ears for listening to crickets, their noses to smell the different herbs (and compost) and their hands to feel the different textured plants.


Visiting the compost station


News from the Classroom

This week the Detectives began their indoor exploration with some cubby beautification! Each student got a chance to decorate their own Detective bag, which will come to and from school everyday, as well as paint with water colors to create their own cubby tags that will hang throughout the year.


Paint no thang


🎶 Paint no mountain high enough 🎶

Decorating Detective bags

In the dramatic play area, the kids were able to also dress up as detectives inside, using binoculars to spy animals near and far! We enjoyed play dough and shaving cream at our sensory table, as well as splashing around in bubbles inside the lab table. The unit and half unit blocks were introduced for building this week, as well as some pattern making with butterfly connectagons. We also worked on a bug puzzle on the campfire carpet, highlighting many of the bugs we spied this week!


Detective at work


High Five!


Butterfly connectagons


Alls well that ends Shell


We also started off the year by reading, The Kissing Hand, a story about Chester the raccoon and his first day of school. At the end of the story we learned how to say “I love you,” in sign language, and each Detective got to go home with heart stamped on their palm, to make their very own kissing hand!


Books we Read

The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn

Bears New Friend by Karma Wilson


Making a hiking sandwich!

Weekly Top Hits

Here We Are Together

Here we are together, together, together

Here we together at the Nature Preschool,

There’s.. (child’s name) and (child’s name).. etc.. and everyone!

Here we are together, we are happy you are here!

Clean-up Song

We looked at the clock and what does it say,

Now its time to put everything away,

Clean up time (x2)

Now its time to put everything away

Goodbye Song

Goodbye, Goodbye, to you and you and you (x2)

A big goodbye, a small goodbye,

A high goodbye, a low goodbye,

Goodbye, goodbye, to you and you and you, cha-cha-cha!


Spoiler Alert:

Next week we are talking continuing to talk about how to be a Nature Detective!

News from the Wild: Forest Kindergarten Oaks Week 1

The Oaks class is starting their year with the theme At Home in the Wild. After a picnic lunch, we start each day at our Hilltop Home. It’s steep climb, but the Oaks get the wagon up the hill!


At the “gate” to Hilltop, mud faces welcome the children to their home in the wild. We make a circle with our tree cookie seats, the children find their name stones, and we start our day with a centering chime and then a song. This month we’re singing:

I have a friend whose name is _______,                                                                                                         And we have fun together.                                                                                                                                        We create and play and explore all day                                                                                                                  In every kind of weather!


After circle, we have story time and on Orientation days, we read the book Happy, about feelings and facial expressions. We talked about how Shannon and Chelsea’s mud faces felt (Glad and Curious), and then headed out to the pond to find some mud. Some of the Oaks were really INTO the mud, and some made their own faces. Others got busy exploring the pond and working together to catch a wood frog.

On our first day with the whole class we read the book Finding Wild, and then headed out into the woods to discover a new climbing area the children are calling the Tree Climber. Lots of climbing, balancing and digging out rotten wood ensured. We practiced using a loupe to look closely at a millipede and a cicada exoskeleton. The afternoon classes practically flew by!


Negotiating the climb


Time to get to know each other.

Friday we spent the morning at our Hilltop Home. We read Roxaboxen, and then the children finally got to see what was in our big storage bin. They quickly got busy. The superheros (look for capes) set up a base inside our large tarp tent, the engineers worked on building stick forts to keep out bad guys, the builders drilled holes and hammered nails into fallen logs, the diggers excavated, and the chefs set up a bakery.


Story time


Real tools!


Sanding his seat.


A door made with twine will definitely keep the bad guys out.


Hunting for baking supplies


The superheros take a break for snack.

Next week, we’ll continue to make ourselves at home in the wild, by exploring and naming more of Woodend’s special places.

Our closing song this month is:

No one looks the way I do, I have noticed that it’s true.                                                                                       No one talks the way I talk, no one walks the way I walk.

No one plays the way I play, no one says the things I say.                                                                                          I am special, I am me. There’s no one I’d rather be!

4 thoughts on “Saplings – Nature Detectives

  1. Love this! Thank you so much for sharing some of the “wanderers” daily highlights with us. It’s exciting to hear what you’ve been up to.

  2. We are so excited about this blog! Ria was especially thrilled to find herself in the photographs. Can’t wait to see all of the fun things that happen at the preschool this year!!

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