News from the Wild #21

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Spring has fully sprung. Woodend is painted twenty shades of green and alive with insects, snakes, turtles, frogs, and birds. Foxes, raccoons, and deer leave their prints for us to follow. Dens are dug, nests built. And everywhere the children explore, discover, ask questions, and play. Each day there is something new. Each day new words and new ideas flow all around us in a never-ending stream. We pluck them from the warm spring air and add them to our webs of knowledge. Learning is as simple as opening your eyes and wondering. We feel so lucky to have this bounty around us.

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What will we find today?

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Wood frog and catcher. You can’t see the frog, but you can see the pride.

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Dragonfly nymphs (think about the concepts within concepts to talk about with just this find – metamorphosis, life cycles, habitat, classification (“It has six legs!”), predator/prey (right after this find, we found a wood frog trying to eat an adult dragonfly!), and on and on. Language, language and more language.

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“The skunk cabbage is almost as big as me!”

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Time to be together

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Time to be alone

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Water and sunlight and time for quiet reflection

With this bounty all around us, we are experimenting with shortening the formal teacher-directed time in our program. The children need the time to revel in all there is to see, and time to “get up steam” in their play. There is still never enough time.

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Using rotting wood to clean the tadpole tank.

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Teamwork to carry heavy tiles

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Building a world in the dig pit. So much negotiation.

The Oaks have been building their own obstacle course at Hilltop. They talk about where it starts and ends, what else is needed, and how to make it even more challenging.

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Obstacle course: Rock hop

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Obstacle course: through the tree

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There is a plan here, you can be sure.

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There is so much you can do with bamboo, like form a band of two.

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Watching a pileated woodpecker eat a snack (look closely at the pointy standing stump!)

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Snacking on wild edibles – greenbriar tips and garlic mustard

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“Is this actually good for me?”

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The foxes have been hard at work

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Using a “beater tray” to study arboreal insects. You whack the branches with a stick, holding the tray beneath to catch what falls. Science is fun!

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Lunch perch

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Into the hollow tree

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What child?

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Climbing out by himself – this takes serious upper body strength!

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Cozy friends inside the tree

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Now for the next tree-caving expedition…

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Getting used to the ladder. Waiting in line is a thing you have to learn…

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Spring journalling in the Blair Garden. So much change, you might have to document three plants or four…

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Slug trails on thunderstorm/tornado day

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Does Lesser Celandine make yellow? Yes! What else could we use?

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Colors of Spring: Violets, Lesser Celandine, Garlic Mustard, Redbuds

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In celebration of Earth Day, we went on a long hike around Woodend to look for spring wildflowers and…garlic mustard (an invasive plant). Chelsea taught the Oaks a new word: eradicate. They are now master garlic mustard eradicators!

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Earth Day Garlic Mustard Hunt

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“We filled two whole bags!”

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“I found some that didn’t even have flowers on it yet!”

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