We finished up last week and our spider unit by making some cricket flour muffins. Unlike spiders, we ate our crickets mixed with corn flour and orange zest. Spiders are still everywhere though and we notice them every day.
This week we've had a really beautiful week focusing on leaves. We're just past peak foliage, which is perfect for preschool, since the children get to examine and interact with the leaves so much more when they are on the ground. We went on a leaf hunt, we created a leaf rainbow, we played a leaf matching relay game and we have been noticing and enjoying the colors, shapes, patterns and observing the veins and edges and various characteristics of leaves. We read "Leaf Man" by Lois Ehlert and made our own leaf creatures. In the play yard we have a large pile of leaves by the trampoline to jump in and be buried in for a full immersive leaf experience. This morning the children are making tamales in steamed corn husks. We've planning on enjoying leaves for another week until we segue into a unit about the whole tree, and from trees we will move on to examine the entire forest as an entity. Next week we will be talking more about leaves and their role in the life of the tree.
We have been working on a large shoveling project this week, as many of you have noticed. In order to comply with certification requirements we need a rather exceptional depth of cedar chips under our climbing structure. We decided to include the children in this project during free play time if they were so inclined. Some helped dig a trench for the retaining walls. Others helped dig the holes for the anchoring posts. And nearly everyone has taken multiple turns all week long shoveling bark chips into the wheelbarrow and then dumping and spreading them in the bark chip area. We've had some very enthusiastic participants! It's been fun to see them so excited to accomplish this task together, and they have been able to see the pile grow smaller and smaller. Many hands really do make light work, even little hands. Their enthusiasm at this age for doing useful work and for accomplishing tasks together is a lovely thing to be able to encourage.
Halloween is coming! We will continue our usual routine on Halloween with the exception of adding a special story and craft and snack. (No candy will be served at school though.) Children are welcome to wear costumes if they are weather appropriate costumes that can stand up to our normal daily activities.
Have a great weekend!
Well, we've started with the first very wet and blustery days. It always feels like an adventure to be outside in such weather, and I'm so grateful for our routine that allows us to experience being outside in all that the seasons have to offer. Thank you everyone for sending appropriate layers and rain gear. In wet weather like this please make sure that your child at least starts out with rain pants or a waterproof layer on their legs too. We spend a lot of time sitting outside on the ground in all weather.
We've had a lot of fun talking about spiders. We've read some really lovely books about spiders. We've been playing spiders in the big web in the play yard. We've talked a lot this week about shapes and designs as related to spider webs. We practiced making our own web designs both in string and by drawing with sticks on the ground. We also did some fun games working together to build webs, once by passing a string back and forth until every person in our circle had anchored an edge. We used a heavy rope to makes shapes together, including a circle that supported us all as we held on and leaned back all at the same time.
Next week we will begin focusing on the glorious autumn foliage as it falls down around us. We will start with leaves, and spend most of the next month or so talking about trees in various ways.
We've seen some real progress this week at morning circle especially in doing head to toes check ins and sharing about our feelings. We do a practice every morning where we check in with our bodies and minds and hearts and practice articulating the feelings that we find and listening to others as they share their feelings. This is hard work for young children and requires focus and listening and control over our bodies to stay present. This daily work leads to increased emotional intelligence and a better ability to communicate and empathize. It also leads to group bonding and a deeper knowledge of each other. It is nice to see how hard the children are working at this and the increased ability to speak and listen that we have seen already since the beginning of the year.
We had a visitor this week, another forest school teacher from Indiana. It was a pleasure to talk with her and to get some perspective on how lucky we are to have this school and the resource of Mt Tabor and the community and values that we live with here every day in Portland. She, as many others have done, commented on how happy and peaceful and free the children are outdoors at our school especially in comparison to many other indoor programs. As always I feel lucky to be a part of it.
Hello everyone. As I write this it is a stunningly beautiful autumn afternoon. I hope that you are all out enjoying it in some way.
We had a very fun week focusing on spiders. We have done plenty of searching for spiders and webs, and our searches have been very fruitful because spiders are everywhere! We’ve seen sheet webs and spiral orb webs and even at least one funnel web. We took spray bottles out to help us find and examine webs both at the park and in the play yard. We found both full and empty spider egg sacs and saw some being watched over by the parent spider. It was interesting to observe the empty egg sac. It was so soft it felt like silky fur, but at the same time strong enough to hold up to being touched by the entire class. We looked at some photographs of spiders and egg sacs and their babies, and we all played being baby spiders hatching out of the egg sac again and again. We have a couple of web building games and activities in the play yard. Spiders are so interesting and so easy to observe and they offer us a great opportunity to explore kinship with and compassion for things that may make us uncomfortable. We will continue spiders next week as well.
Just this morning we witnessed a portly raccoon making its way down through the branches right on the side of our play yard. We heard the geese passing overhead. We've noticed the leaves suddenly bursting into color everywhere. We see and hear juncos, hummingbirds, crows, chickadees, nuthatches. It's good to be outside.
It was a beautiful and sunny week at Fiddleheads for our last week of seed study. Wow, we have talked about seeds for a long time! There is a lot to explore here. This week we talked about methods of seed dispersal. We acted out some seed dispersal. We made up some seed stories. We went on a seed hunt. We threshed some rye that I grew in my yard in Maine last summer, and then we winnowed it in front of the fan and tasted it as seed and then again after it had been ground down into flour. We made apple prints. Tomorrow we will do an apple taste test and make some popcorn!
We had a lot of cold but beautiful and sunny weather this past week. We have been noticing the slow turn of the big leaf maples and the blue sky behind them. We have been watching juncos and listening to flickers and creepers. It's lovey to be outside to experience all of this.
Next week we will begin learning about spiders. Spiders are everywhere, especially at this time of year. They are really fascinating, and provide a great opportunity to get really excited about something that is really cool but also kind of creepy!