Oaks News from the Wild – Week 11

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Can we run to the wagon?

At the beginning of the year, Stephanie shared one of the Nature Preschool’s most important philosophies: “We try to say yes as much as possible.” 4-6 year-olds are moving out into the world, looking for their personal edges and gaining confidence in their own abilities. So when they ask, “Can I…?” our job is to assess for safety, and then say yes. They need to see that they CAN. If we hold them in too tight, how will they ever know? These snapshots of the Oaks in action capture some of our Yes, you can! answers.

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Can we climb? Yes, as long as you know the difference between solid support beams and likely-to-break roof sticks

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Can I hold the toad?

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Can we eat some of that yummy green stuff?

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Can I pull the wagon by myself?

While county schools had indoor recess, we celebrated our first rain days in ages. The trick to saying yes to all-weather play is good gear. Since the Oaks’ rain gear was soaked from the morning outing, we broke out the school Tuffos for the afternoon. They were snug as a bunch of bright yellow bugs.

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Friends

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Explorers. A little space to roam gives a great feeling of independence. “I know how to get there!”

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The Ultimate Climber grew a new roof! Teachers can’t fit.

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Impasse. Yes, you can pass each other, if you work together.

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“Remember when I couldn’t even walk on that low log?”

We also continued exploring the Planet Pals, connecting to and extending the Saplings curriculum. We started an ongoing experiment with “H2O”, measuring water in a bucket, and observing changes over time. We read the book Raindrops Roll, and then looked for raindrops lingering after the rain stopped.

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The rain stopped long enough for us to read about it in Raindrops Roll! Children this age learn 5-10 new words on average every day. They are also moving from more concrete to more abstract vocabulary. Conversation and reading are the main ways children learn new words. New words we discussed from this one book (because the children asked): remain, reveal, reflect, magnify, mingle. Score.

After the children met “Breezy” we talked about how you can tell that air is really there. We read Mirandy and Brother Wind and noticed how the artist showed the wind as a transparent person with a silvery cape. The Oaks made paper fans and drew their own versions of Breezy. They experimented with the force of air that could hold a piece of paper to their bellies as they ran. They made art by blowing air through straws to move a marble though paint, mixing two colors. And of course, we looked for  and felt Breezy everywhere we went – high in the treetops and in the tall meadow grasses.

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Blowing to make the paint mix

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We added in a color mixing lesson

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Making Breezy fans. Fine motor focus: folding paper and drawing

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Making wind to hold the paper on

One of the children’s favorite Planet Pals is even harder to see during an afternoon class – “Star Baby”. So we set up our tarp tent and read the book The Darkest Dark by astronaut Chris Hadleigh, a beautiful book about overcoming fear and pursuing your dreams.

We had a few beautiful sunny days to play at Hilltop too. The gift of rainwater sparked a potion-making frenzy. Since the water was all in one small bucket, the Oaks collaborated and took turns collecting potion ingredients and stirring. They all agreed that this particular bucket of muck was a potion. The magic words were the words of play – “Can I …?” with about six children focused on the same goal. Yes, they can.

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Half of the potion makers…the others are scouting the perfect ingredients with shovels

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Hard at work building a “crawl space”. They had a common goal, and used communication and collaboration to get there, together.

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Treasure bone

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Reading about the dark, in the dark

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Expanding the shelter to make room for friends

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Making Planet Pal capes

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And a Planet Pal flag!

Circle Song (to the tune of the Farmer in the Dell)

The frost in in the trees

The frost in on the ground

The frost is on the window

The frost is all around

The frost is very icy

The frost is very bright

The frost is very slippery

The frost is very white!

Closing Poem

December sparkles

December’s bold

December huffs and puffs

December’s bold.

Books this week:

There is a Tribe of Kids by Lane Smith

Raindrops Roll by April Pulley Sayre

Mirandy and Brother Wind by Patricia McKissack

The Darkest Dark by Astronaut Chris Hadfield

When the Wind Stops by Charlotte Zolotow

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