Hello! I hope that everyone had a great Thanksgiving week. The week before Thanksgiving we talked a lot about gratitude. I want to share with you our gratitude tree, completed the week before Thanksgiving. Each leaf is decorated by a child, and tells something that they are grateful for.
Some of the things they are grateful for are:
Sisters and brothers
Aunts and uncles
Good list, huh?
This week we begin talking about rain and snow! We have several new waterplay projects in the yard. We will be talking rudimentarily about the water cycle, including the facts that rain comes from clouds, and wind moves the clouds, and the water in them comes from other places like lakes and oceans far away. We like to have an immediate experience with what we learn about here at Fiddleheads, and we should have some good opportunities to experience rain these days ;)
It's great to be back at school and I look forward to seeing everyone again this week!
Hello everyone! We had a fun week last week doing some talking about trees, and plenty of excitement about Halloween. We continue our tree study unit this week. Special thanks to Amy and Bonnie (my mom) for taking extra hours this week while I am gone for a few days. Also a special welcome to Felix, our newest friend who now joins us on Mondays and Tuesdays!
I wanted to send a reminder that there is no school next Monday due to PPS observance of Veterans Day. Also PPS and Fiddleheads have all week off for Thanksgiving. Next week we will be doing a special focus on gratitude and observing changing seasons, and we will begin a unit on rain and clouds and sky after the break.
Enjoy these fun pics from the past week with some Halloween extras!
This post was originally dates October 29th
We finished up a lovely unit on leaves last week, and are moving into talking about the full tree organism this week. We will be talking about roots and bark this week and beginning to look at the experience of a tree. It’s a stretch in understanding for many children to learn that trees have so much in common with animal lives, just on a very different time scale. We will be attempting to open that door of understanding. We will also be taking a day to enjoy the celebrating of Halloween on Wednesday.
Some exciting news for next week. It looks like we will be having a new friend begin joining us on Mondays and Tuesdays starting Monday the 5th.
Also next week I will be gone Wednesday through Friday. My mom, Bonnie Bean, is coming from Vermont to stay with my kids, and she will also be helping with preschool on Tuesday through Friday mornings. She is a veteran teacher of many years and has a masters in early childhood education. She is very excited to meet all of the kids and play. She has an unusual gift in that even as an adult she is able to tirelessly enjoy and engage in play! I will be back Monday the 12th.
Enjoy the lovely holiday this week and have lots of fun!
This post was originally dated October 23rd, 2018
Hello everyone. We are talking about leaves again this week. It’s been so lovely to have this nice dry, sunny weather to appreciate some crunchy dry leaves and also to soak in the brilliant display of colors that the foliage is offering this year. This week we will be focusing on the role that leaves play in the life of the tree, and on why leaves are turning colors and dropping off at this time of year.
Next week we will begin focusing on the whole tree.
At the park we have been having fun climbing hills, trees and inventing games with big leaf maple leaves. Since school began I have seen some real advances in everyone’s agility and ability to handle rough terrain with confidence. I also have noticed an improved awareness of birds calls around us, and some people are starting to identify the calls.
Have a great week!
This post was originally dated October 16th
Hello everyone! We are enjoying this dry, golden fall weather to explore leaves and the change of seasons. We have a fun leaf pile to jump in in the play yard and are noticing things like the different colors that leaves are changing to, the different shapes that leaves are and how that can tell us what kind of tree they are from, the veins in the leaves that carry food through them, and the difference between conifers and deciduous trees.
Last week we finished up talking about spiders by playing several mommy/daddy and baby spider games, examining spider eggs and talking about different spider web strategies. The kids did some great imaginary play around spider activities, and we had some wonderful opportunities to observe spiders in the yard and the park. We definitely grew in knowledge and appreciation, and they are still equally creepy and cool
At school every day we practice sending caring feelings to each other, ourselves, and to our friends and families not with us. We also practice observing our gratitude at lunchtime. These are abstract ideas which we develop through lots of practice and they might be nice ideas to explore at home as well if you feel so inclined.
Enjoy this beautiful weather illuminating the beautiful foliage!
This post was originally dated October 8th, 2018
Last week we had a fun week talking about spiders. We found many, of all different colors and sizes, and of all different shape webs. We climbed in pretend webs and pretended to be spiders wrapping each other up as food, we practiced making webs, we tried eating dried crickets to see how spider food might taste, and we talked about spider adaptations like their 8 eyes and amazing spinnerets and super strong thread. We read several books about spiders, both fiction and nonfiction, and made some fun spider and web crafts.
This week we will talk more about different kinds of spiders and web strategies and about spider eggs and babies.
The early part of this week is supposed to be pretty rainy, so please bring everyone to school in rubber boots and full rain layers on top and bottom. Thank you!
Next week we will be talking about leaves. I want to make a big leaf pile for the back yard to have a full sensory leaf jumping experience. My yard has few leaf dropping trees to collect from at the moment, so if anyone has some leaf bags of nice, clean, pure leaves for jumping in (no dog poos or big sticks etc), I would gladly accept them and get rid of them after our leaf unit is over.
Thanks everyone and have a lovely week!
This post was originally dated October 1st, 2018
We finished up focusing on seeds last week, although we still have many opportunities to observe them in the natural world. We talked a lot last week about the different ways that seeds get around, and touched on some of the more dramatic catalysts that some seeds need, like flood, fire and consumption. We also talked about cotyledons and how seeds carry their "snacks" with them, so that they are ready to start growing as soon as they find the right spot. We made seed bombs, letter shaped seed mosaics, and we finished the week off by scooping pumpkin seeds out, roasting them, and making pumpkin bread with the leftovers.
A highlight from the field was hearing and watching a stellar's jay mimicking a hawk cry, and then seeing the hawk soar into view right overhead while being harassed by a crow. There are all kinds of possible backstories for that scenario, and I am still musing over it.
This next week we will start talking about spiders. I'm sure that everyone has a lot of opportunities to observe them in our daily lives lately. In the garden and around the school there are a plethora of large specimens to check out. It's hard to get over the eek creepy factor, which is a natural and sometimes helpful response to spiders, but we're going to focus on their lives, their interesting skills and their helpful role in the ecosystem.
It looks like we will be getting some rain this week, so please send everyone prepared. A good way to gauge how to dress is to imagine what you would feel most comfortable wearing sitting, running, climbing and playing outside in during intermittent downpour for a few hours. Also concerning shoes, since we play in dirt and leaf litter and duff, it is easy for slip on shoes and sandals to collect these materials. We currently spend a lot of time taking shoes off, shaking them out, and putting them back on again. Even on nice dry days it would be helpful for everyone to wearclosed toed shoes that cover the whole foot so that less leaf litter can get down inside, and it's also always helpful for everyone to be wearing shoes that they can get on and take off themselves. Thanks for the help in keeping these busy kids comfortable so that they can enjoy their outdoor experiences to the fullest!
This post was originally dated Sept 24, 2018
We had a another great week at school last week. We started talking about seeds and fruits and have been finding them everywhere. We collected seeds and made several different seed art projects. We talked a bit about different ways that seeds disperse and acted out some seed stories. We ground up wheat seeds and made some very hearty bread. We will continue talking about seeds this week, looking at seed anatomy and learning more about dispersal methods.
So much happens every week apart from the curriculum that is so beautifully presented to us by just being outside in the yard and the park. We see a resident hummingbird, flickers, crows and squirrels regularly in the back yard. We’re inundated with amazing opportunities to observe spiders lately. We witnessed a squirrel blatantly and rather hilariously taunting my dog last week. I’m very grateful that we are able to be outside and present to be drawn into the lives of other species like this.
Finally thank you to everyone who made it out to the potluck on Friday night! It was great to get together and work on building our school community. Thanks for sharing your dishes and your company!
This post was originally dated September 17, 2018
We had a great 2nd week of school last week and continued talking about squirrels. We played a couple of different predator chase games with squirrels and owls and coyotes. We practiced burying and finding acorns. We harvested pears and grapes again from the yard and made more pear butter and raisins. We are also continuing to work on learning routine and accountability, like putting our shoes and coats away and cleaning up our lunches. It’s going well. We are still enjoying getting to know each other and finding new, fun ways to play together.
This week we will be talking about seeds and fruits! There is a plethora of examples to be seen outside right now just about anywhere you go so keep your eye out when you are out together. Also the kitchen can be a good place to notice seeds and fruits in the things that we eat.
This Friday is our beginning of school and fall equinox potluck from 5-7 pm. Weather permitting we will have it in the back play yard. Please bring something simple to share. It’s always helpful to have food labeled in case of allergies. We’ll do a short circle and read a poem in honor of the equinox at 5:30. Events like this can be a great way to build community and support our children as they enter independently into the world outside of their homes. Please come if you can, we hope to see you there. All family members are welcome.
Have a great week!
This post was originally dated Sept 10, 2018
Last week was a wonderful first week of school! We took time to be familiar in a new place, explore playing with new friends, and practiced a new routine. We planted some fall seeds, and have been enjoying watering the garden and harvesting ripe tomatoes, pears and grapes. We made pear butter on Friday and will be having pear fruit leather and homemade raisins this week at snack.
We have been talking about squirrels and will continue to do so this week. We talked about how squirrels use their tails for balance and we practiced wearing a tail and balancing. We tried jumping in squirrel tracks. We talked about their homes, called dreys, and built one as a class. We practiced climbing and seeing the world like a squirrel does, and we made several different crafts with acorns. Keep an eye out for squirrels at home and enjoy observing their activities together!
This week we will see our first rain on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday! We will be going to the park and playing outside much of the day, so please come prepared for the day with rubber boots, rain pants or rain suit, rain coat, and appropriate layers underneath as well as extra dry clothes.
See below some friends getting cozy in the drey.