As you know I have been reading a book called ‘ Nature Preschools and Forest Kindergartens. ” I was quite enamored with the concept of outdoor preschools until I read the part about the teacher carrying a bathroom shovel. Yeah.. I draw the line at bathroom shovels. However we can do small things that encompass the ideas that they provoke. This week we are talking about ” animals in the woods .” Although we assume that most children know what ” the woods ” is when you ask what we could find in the woods in Arkansas sometimes you get answers like kangaroos or dinosaurs. Last night I decided that there would be real value , even in this damp cool weather , to take a walk to the wooded area near our home and experience ” the woods” together.
After breakfast we bundled up. We partnered up. We took off for our hike in the woods. We carried a bag with us to collect items from the woods. The children thought it was really funny when I suggested we catch a squirrel for our bag. We gave the children ideas of things to look for like squirrels and other woodland creatures. As we walked we discovered there were some trees that were still green . We learned the term ” evergreen.” We saw squirrels scamper up trees and talked about how their sharp claws help them climb quickly to escape predators. Canyon wondered where the ducks that are usually in our creek are . He said ” Maybe they died..” This week we will take the time to use the internet to find out where the ducks go in the winter. We say small holes in the rock and in the dirt and wondered which animals might live in the holes. Thankfully, we didnt see any snakes. We talked about how snakes have already found a resting place for the winter until spring arrives. We found acorns along the way. We saw a squirrel run with a nut in his mouth and we talked about where he was taking the nut. We looked for ( and found ) squirrel nests in the trees. It was a good walking field trip to a wooded area. It really set the stage for all the learning that will take place this week.
Did you know some trees are tall and straight ?
Some trees are large , round and have huge knot holes that make it very bumpy.
Of course we had hot chocolate to warm up when our walk was over.
While drinking hot chocolate we charted things we saw in the woods.
From our bag we made a wooded area on the table top in the science room and set up a provocation. A provocation is something intentionally placed so that children ” wonder. ” The sign says ” Can you build me a nest ?” and placed next to a squirrel.
When we had our technical assistance visit this week Marcy challenged us to set up more provocations on the science / quiet room . Dallas thought of a great one ! She added a listening tube next to the puppets with a sign that says” what do I sounds like ?” AWESOME !
We read a book called ” Apple Trouble ” about a hedge hog that has an apple drop on his fur and the apple gets stuck. Eventually a goat eats the apple off and the hedgehog can crawl in his den for the winter. To go with the book we added a picture of a porcupine ( maybe.. thats in the hedgehog family ) and forks and paint. The children could use the fork tines to create the prickly fur on the animal.
I had a commercial toy called Woodland Animals School. It has three miniature woodland animal families and small props. Although these are the natural material that I prefer using the children enjoyed playing with them. Tomorrow I will add them to the block center to extend play in that area. These types of toys create more social interaction than anything as the children learn to share, trade, work out differences and role play with the characters.
Adding costumes to our dramatic play area allows the children to ” become ” an animal from the woods.
Another provocation that was set up today was some white playdoh and I added the nuts . The children have been counting nuts and sorting nuts for two weeks. My adding the materials together the children can explore and see what shapes pressing the nuts in the clay will make .
There was so much that we didn’t get to today. It was a full day. I’m still not ready to grab a bathroom shovel and head to the woods but I am one step closer.
I cant wait to see what we are doing tomorrow.
Or maybe I will just crawl into our cozy bears den.