Today, we introduced the students to a new chapter of Forest Fours by implementing a writing component to our day. Each child received a special journal that travels with us while on the trails. The students are allowed to draw pictures of the games that they are playing, the structures they build, or the specimens they see while out in nature (fungus, birds, rocks, deer, etc.). They also are allowed to collect things like leaves or small pieces of moss and tape them into their journals for safe keeping.
In addition to the journals, we borrowed four Polaroid cameras from Mrs. Weber so that the students can take pictures of items that would be too big to fit in their journals. The pictures are then taped onto a page and the students write about what they observed. The journals will travel with us each time we venture into the woods and the children are allowed to fill their journals to their heart’s content whenever they deem it necessary.
Since it’s inception, our class has used Forest Four days to play in an unstructured setting so that they could explore and create at their will. The addition of the forest journals allows students to extend their learning by giving them the opportunity to write, even while outdoors. Through this activity, the students are practicing skills such as fine motor development, phonemic awareness, self-regulation, observation, categorization, identification, and much more. We look forward to sharing our journal entries with you in the future!
“I took a picture.”
This week, we had the opportunity to introduce the Fairy Tale Trail to the Pre-K students. It is one of our smaller trails, but has been beautifully embellished with a variety of whimsical decorations from the older students. Today, we were able to spend an extended period of time exploring the ins and outs of the Fairy Tale Trail on our Forest Fours day. It didn’t take long before the children made an exciting discovery! Someone had taken three of my painted “Story Stone” houses (that were meant for the small world table) and placed them on the Fairy Tale Trail! They naturally thought that I had placed them there but after learning that I had nothing to do with it, they had decided that fairies must have used their magic to put them on the trail and turn them into fairy houses. Fairy magic is some pretty amazing stuff!
Now, they are commissioning me to make more fairy houses that can live on the trail. After all, winter is coming and every fairy needs a place to live. So don’t be surprised if you show up to school only to find me stealing rocks from the playground or covered in paint in the classroom. It’s messy job but someone’s gotta do it!
There is nothing better than enjoying snack outside on a beautiful fall morning!
Yesterday, we joined together with the city campus Pre-K class for our annual Nature Day. Our nature explorers spent the whole morning playing, exploring, collecting, climbing, and making new friends. We even got to climb on a large tree that had been cut down on our property. The students couldn’t believe how big it was and were so excited when they figured out how to safely climb on top of it. We also spent some time introducing the new nature playground climbing structure to our new friends. We ended our picturesque day with a singalong and a picnic lunch. We are so excited that the students had some unstructured time to get to know one another and we cannot wait to everyone together again!
Taking appointments at your convenience!
This year, we are piloting a new initiative in Pre-K called “Forest Fours”. On each day four in our cycle, we are going to try to head out into the forest as soon as our entire class is present and we’ve completed our morning jobs. It is our hope that with a more extended period of time in nature, our students will have the opportunity to explore the natural world around them in a very authentic way. The students are free to play, explore, learn, and observe on our nature trails that weave around our beautiful campus.
Today we had our first opportunity to test out “Forest Fours” as the students spent almost 2 hours immersed in nature. We ate snack outside, climbed on our climbing trees, scooped up dirt, invented a new car game, played The Three Billy Goats Gruff, searched for walnuts, and learned new ways to care for the plants and trees on the trail. I’d say it was a success!