The Detective Post #13

Spring time has stumbled upon the Nature Detectives here at Woodend! With days full of sunshine, rain and snow, we got to enjoy the last wisps of winter while looking ahead to warmer weather! We observed new plants emerging, birds returning, as well as how the rain and snow effected our creek beds and pond.

Since the Detectives have become experts at being outdoors during school hours, we decided to examine what we might need to stay outdoors at night! With lots of evidence of nocturnal animals all around us, we compared and contrasted what we might need to help us camp! We met our old friend, Felicity Felt, who helped the detectives brain storm gear they might need to bring with them while camping.

We were excited to share our ideas on camping with our Naturalists as well! In the AM class, Ms. Julie taught us more about nocturnal animals, letting the students examine skunk fur before leading a hunt for stripes and spots in the woods! The PM class heard tales of Ms. Gail’s year long, bicycle camping trip around the world! She brought in photos of her trip, as well as gear she had used to camp in all different countries across the globe. What fun!

Despite not getting to hold our campfire at the end of the week due to winds, the students still visited Audubon’s campfire ring and collected different sized sticks with which to create a fire. We discussed that just like cooking, fire needs its own ingredients to be created, as well as how to stay safe when toasting treats!

Inside the classroom, campsites emerged in every interest area! The students went on daily camping trips in dramatic play, as well as built their own tents in the block area. Every student also made a journal entry about what they might bring camping, it was so amazing to see their thoughtful and creative responses!

Since our campfire had to be rescheduled, we took to the woods instead for a story hike! We read the story, We’re going on a Bear Hunt, before taking to the trails to try and spot five bears hidden in the forest!

Indoors, we used instruments to recreate all the noises from the story, before enjoying the different habitats of the story in our interest areas around the classroom!

The classes enjoyed visits from Ann-Mari and Susan during our camping unit! Ann-Mari read the AM students one of her favorite stories titled, We were Tired of living in a House, while Susan brought the PM students camping gear to explore!

On our hikes, we couldn’t help but notice the buds returning on branches, the snow drop covered grounds, as well the return of our American robins! With Spring time upon us, we embarked on an investigation of spring clues around Woodend. However, this would quickly be put on pause due winter’s final snow gust!

One SUPER exciting sign of spring has been our discovery of salamanders around Woodend! We uncovered a beautiful, yellow spotted salamander hanging around our pond! Salamanders lay their eggs in water during the spring, so discovering one by our pond was a very exciting sign of spring for the detectives! We revisited her log, discovering her over a few days, before finding she had moved on to a new spot! We also discovered a leadbacked salamander another log later in the week, further propelling our interest in our amphibian friends!

Indoors, we learned a new salamander song, as well as created salamanders to sit on top of our spring celebration crowns! To prep for the party, the students also created coffee filter rain drops as decorations.

Spring had other plans however, ushering in days of cold rain and snow! While we postponed our spring celebration, the Detectives had lots of fun experimenting with rainy day soups and snowball creations!

Books we Read

Night Lights by Susan Gal

S is for Smores by Helen Foster James

Bailey goes Camping by Kevin Henkes

We were tired of living in a House by Liesel Moak Skorpen

We’re going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen

And Then its Spring by Julie Fogliano

The Salamander Room by Anne Mazer

Weekly Top Hits

The Camping Pokey

You put your tent up,

You put you tent down,

You put your tent up,

and you gather all around,

You do the camping pokey and you turn yourself around,

That’s what its all about!

(Shine your flashlight up, shine your flashlight down)

(Move your marshmallow up, move your marshmallow down)


I’m a Little Salamander (I’m a little Teapot)

I’m a salamander with spots on my back,

See if you can find me, I’m pretty hard to tack!

When the spring is here I go to the pond,

to lay my eggs now that the cold is gone! 

Spoiler Alert: When we come back from break we will be learning about bugs!


The Detective Post #12

Stomp stomp ROAR! The Detectives came back from the classroom to be greeted by some oversized, stomping reptiles: the dinosaurs! Through digging, observing, and of course, playing, we explored connections between the dinosaurs long ago and the plants, fossils, and animals that we see today.

We began our investigation by thinking about what we already know about dinosaurs. We heard lots of museum connections, tales of dino storybooks, and ideas about dinosaur toys. After plenty of thoughts and roars, we all reached a conclusion: we have never seen a real live dinosaur! How, then, do scientists learn about dinosaurs? We set out to answer the question.

The Detectives learned about fossils, and how scientists can use these to investigate creatures from long ago. Complete with our own paleontology dig site in the classroom, we uncovered bones, carefully dusting off sand to reveal the dinosaur underneath. We talked about how fossils formed, and even created our own bubbling volcano. Heads Up: lava alert!

While we learned about the dinosaur clues left from long ago, we kept returning to one question: do we still have a connection to our dinosaur friends? The answer? Yes! We learned about living fossils- ferns, moss, dragonflies, ants- creatures and plants that lived among the dinosaurs. Carrying miniature toy dinosaurs, we stomped through the forest on search of these living fossils and imagined what it might be like to be a dinosaur stomping through the same woods millions of years ago.

We learned about the dinosaurs’ habitat, and discussed how dinosaurs, like all reptiles, were cold-blooded creatures. In order to understand a bit more about reptiles, we dove into an investigation, meeting not one, not two, but THREE reptile friends here at Woodend!


The Detectives spent time investigating Boris the tortoise, Sunny the bearded dragon, and Stormy the snake, and made connections between the various reptiles and the dinosaurs that used to walk the land.  We felt Boris’s shell, and thought about how it helped to protect her. We made connections to dinosaur skeletons, and how the plates and crests or certain dinosaurs would also work to protect them. In comparison, Sunny was covered in spikes and had a strong tail for protection. “Just like stegosaurus!” exclaimed one child. “Or ankylosaurus!” said another.  We thought about what all of these reptiles would eat, noting the differences in diet between the herbivorous tortoise, omnivorous lizard, and carnivorous snake, and the Detectives discussed how these compared to the different diets of their dinosaur ancestors.


These connections extended not just to reptiles, but also to our feathered friends, the birds! The Detectives spent time thinking about how all of these creatures build nests to lay eggs in, and even imagined what these nests might look like. Nests small and large, built from blocks, filled the classroom along with exclamations about dinosaurs hatching from eggs!


After hearing about so many different types of dinos- two-legged, four-legged, feathered, and scaly- the Detectives imagined dino creations of their own. Pictures were drawn to depict the diosaurs along with their diets, habitats, and other fun facts. Dinosaurs of all shapes and sizes, from the ferocious Chicken-Nugget Eating dinosaur to the oversized Tree-Crane dinosaur now line the classroom walls in our very own dinosaur museum exhibit!

Weekly Top Hits

Baby Dinosaur (Itsy Bisty Spider)

The little baby dinosaur climbed up to the top,

Of a Volcano that was ready to pop!

Down came the lava so very, very hot,

And the little baby dinosaur ran home without a stop!


Willaby Wallaby (Dino remix)

Willaby, wallaby wou,

A dinosaur sat on you,

Willaby, wallaby wee,

A dinosaur sat on me!

(Insert names for Dino rhyming fun!)


Books We Read

If the Dinosaurs Came Back by Bernard Most

What Happened to Patrick’s Dinosaurs? By Carol Carrick

Tadpole Rex by Kurt Cyrus

Dinosaurs Don’t have Bedtimes! By Timothy Knapman

T is for Terrible by Peter McCarty

An Egg is Quiet by Dianna Austen

Dinosaur Bones by Bob Barner


Sneak Peek: Next week, we will be thinking about camping! 

The Detective Post #10

Gnomes abound! The Nature Detectives have been uncovering fairy magic and gnome homes all around Woodend the last few weeks. With roots in kindness to ourselves and those around us, the fairies have been leaving us notes with mindfulness tips, and we have been discovering different gnomes hiding on the trails of Audubon!

We kicked off our theme with a fairy treasure map designed by our very own Oaks class! The Oaks hid treasure all around our playground, and created a detailed map for the Detectives to follow and find the treasure!

The fairies left us notes throughout the weeks, outlining different mindfulness tricks we can use to be kind to our own bodies. We enjoyed an exciting visit from Boris the Tortoise, who showed us how she uses her shell to take a break from the world around her! We learned how to use our own “tortoise shells” (AKA child’s pose) to help calm down our bodies.

The fairies also introduced us to different types of magical breaths! We learned we can also use these magic tricks to slow down our bodies when having big feelings. We practiced the “take five,” “lion,” and “balloon” breaths, before using our magic breaths to create sparkly bubble art! We also created “emotion potions,” (aka calm down jars) that we used practice mindfulness.

The detectives uncovered both water and river gnomes in the Woods, learning that we can track how our bodies are feeling by checking in with our own “rivers!” Our “rivers” run fast, medium, and slow, which can correspond with running, walking, and being still! We learned a river song which accompanied creek bed exploration.


The pond gnome and colder weather lent itself to continued ice exploration! We experimented with breaking ice, as well as watching the chilly grounds melt into muddy fun!

In our stories, we noticed that fairies and gnomes are drawn with mushroom homes! The PM class enjoyed a fungi hike with Ms. Gail, learning about the different types of fungi we have here at Woodend. Indoors, we did a spore print experiments- leaving large mushroom caps overnight and discovering spore prints the following day!


The students also made kindness entries in their journals, brain storming ideas of how they are kind to those around them! We also practiced taking turns in the classroom as fairies in dramatic play, building withe zoobs, as well as creating our own gnome homes in the block area!


Weekly Top Hits

Deep and Wide

Deep and Wide, Deep and Wide,

theres a river flowing deep and wide!

Buh, da, da, da, da, da

Deep and Wide, Deep and Wide,

theres a river flowing deep and wide!


Books we Read

Rainbow Fairies by Nicola Baxtor

Pinkalicous: Fairy House by Victoria Kahn

Slop by Margaret Read Macdonald

The Rainbow Fairies by Daisy Meadows


Spoiler Alert: Next week will be finishing our fairies and gnomes unit!



The Detective Post #9

The frosted trails provided the perfect backdrop for the Nature Detective to conclude our study on nocturnal animals at Woodend! The frozen ground spurred lots of ideas- from measuring frozen tracks to experimenting with breaking ice. It was so fun to watch the Detectives discern and track different nocturnal animal clues on the snowy grounds- we couldn’t have asked for more perfect conditions to learn about our nocturnal counterparts!



We continued our exploration of the frozen pond, noticing the changes as things began to melt and re-freeze!


In the snow, we tracked different animals towards dens and along logs through the snow.


Both classes enjoyed trips to the flying squirrel feeder, leaving sunflower seeds on our feeder tray for the squirrels to munch overnight! We also set up our night vision trap camera, and while it didn’t snag a photo of a flying squirrel, we did get one of it’s daytime cousins!


We continued our exploration of nocturnal animal super senses inside the classroom! We discussed using a super sense of smell, creating different scented playdough between the classes.


We experimented with idea of a bats echolocation, setting up a “sound cave,”  where the students experimented with different instruments and their sounds.


We capped off our unit by having a nocturnal animal PJ party! We did glow in the dark painting, created a glow in the dark star lit room in the bathroom, and sharing ANP with our stuffy friends!



Books we Read:

Possum’s Harvest Moon by Anne Hunter

Eye Guess by Phyllis Limbacher Tildes

Whoo Goes There? by Jennifer A. Ericsson

Night Gliders by Joanna Ryder

Daft Bat by Jeanne Willis


Weekly Top Hits:

Flying Squirrel (I’m a Little Teapot)

I saw something in the sky,

It doesn’t fly, but it likes to glide,

Its a grey-brown furry kite,

Soaring around through the night!

Everything is Possum (Everything is Awesome)

Everything is Possum! Everything is cool when at night you can see,

Everything is Possum! When you live in a tree!

Everything is better when you dangle together,

Side by side, you and I,

Gonna play possum together, let’s stay safe forever!

Everything is Possum! Everything is cool when at night you can see,

Everything is Possum! When you live in a tree!


Spoiler Alert: Next week we are beginning our Fairies and Gnomes unit!



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!


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.



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.



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:


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!



The Detective Post #23

Wild places are closer than you think! As we finish up the school year here at Audubon, we couldn’t be more thankful for all of wonderful families and fun-filled adventures we had this year. We finished the year with some wet weather- accompanied by our stuffy, wheels and water days! Thursday we were overjoyed to see you all at our Summer Celebration, and cannot wait to hear about all the adventures you all have in store for the coming months. Although school may be ending, Audubon is always open- and we hope to see you all at weekend walks in the woods, summer camps and other preschool events in the near future! Thanks again to everyone for an amazing school year!



Specials Days!


Summer Celebration!


The Detective Post #21

News from the Outdoors

The Nature Detectives returned from Spring break with gusto, examining Woodend to see what had changed since we had been gone! We noticed buds on the trees, birds singing, as well as frogs and ducks in the pond.

The Detectives were excited to prep for Earth Day at Audubon, thinking about all the ways we know how to take care of the planet! On the sanctuary, the Detectives dove deeper into natures recyclers on a Naturalist hike with Hummingbird. We visited the compost station, and went on a hunt for decomposers in the forest. The Detectives have become expert slug, worm, and millipede wranglers!




Hands on Learning


We also thought more about the word conservation, and how we are mindful experts of the world around us. We expanded those thoughts onto the idea of invasive species, and took to the trails to hunt for a local invasive- garlic mustard! The kids filled an entire trash bag (no small feat) of the plant, and were quite proud of themselves!


Conservation Connections


We ended that week with our very own Earth Day celebration, in the form of a Planet Pal parade! Each kid got create their own Planet Pal cape and recycled instrument, with which we marched and sang at the Mansion!


AM Planet Pal Parade


PM Planet Pal Parade


The Preschool also partners with the Audubon Birdathon this time of year! Both classes embark on a birding unit, where the children learn to identify different birds by their colors and calls! We began the unit by discussing things we already know about birds, constructing a giant birds nest in the Amphitheater!


Nest in Show


On our Naturalist Hike with Hummingbird, she introduced us to different types of bird beaks- and how they can be used to identify what different birds eat! The Detectives hiked around Woodend, looking for different types of bird foods, and discerning which type of bird beak might enjoy said food as a tasty snack.

Both classes also enjoyed a birds of prey lesson, thinking about which hooked beak and talon sporting birds we have here at Audubon. The AM class enjoyed bringing a stuffed, great horned owl down from the Mansion, while the PM classes played a giant game of Hawk-and-Seek, where the seekers transformed into hawks, while the hiders pretended to be mice!


Wingin’ it!


News from the Indoors

Inside the classroom, we had a variety of recycled art and bird themed projects! In preparation for Earth Day, the Detectives were greeted by two new Planet Pals during meeting. We met a super decomposer named Squirmy Wormy, as well as an expert in mindfulness- Peace Pal!


The Great Detective Caper


The students had lots of fun creating their capes for our Earth Day celebration. By adding fabric scrapes and paint, the kids transformed into their very own planet pals! To add to the excitement, the kiddos were also able to create shakers out of recycled cardboard tubes and seeds!

For our Mindful Monday lesson this go around, the Detectives learned a new mindful game to play! The kids had to practice their mindful bodies, while passing claps, silly noises, and even imaginary balls around the circle.


Pumpkin the Bunny visits the AM


Birds found their way into the classroom this past week, by building nests in the block area, finding worms in the lab table like robins, and practicing our identification skills with a bird matching game!

Continuing our beak investigations, we created hummingbird inspired art with water colors. The students were able to emulate how the hummingbird drinks its nectar by using eye droppers to paint their creations!

Both classes were very interested in the birds of prey lesson, creating paper airplanes and hawk/owl/eagle kites to take to the skies! It was so interesting to watch the children work, meticulously adding different colors to create Red shouldered hawks, great horned owls, and even golden eagles!


Prey it Forward


Books we Read

The Peace Book by Todd Parr

Duck and Goose by Tad Hills

Have you Seen Birds? by Joanne Oppenheim

ZooBooks about Birds of Prey


Weekly Top Hits

Reduce, Resuse Recycle (The More we Get together)

Reduce, reuse, recycle, recycle, 

Reduce, reuse, recycle, recycle, 

It’s easy to do!

Cus’ your trash and my trash

Make up way too much trash! 

Reduce, reuse, recycle, recycle, 

It’s easy to do!


This Old Earth (This old Man)

This old earth, needs our help,

to stay fresh and clean and green,

with a pick it, pitch it in, toss it in the can,

this old earth needs a helping hand!


I met a Bird

I met a Cardinal at the playground gate,

that cardinal was my playmate,

that cardinal said..Birdie Birdie Birdie (x3)

…Woodpecker…Peck Peck Peck…

…Dove…Coo Coo Coo…

…Robin…Cheerup Cheerily…


Spoiler Alert: The next two weeks we are finishing our bird studies and examining planting!