We spent the morning in the woods on Friday. After a summer of heavy rains, our fort was certainly worse for wear. After removing all of the fallen logs and sorting them by size, we were ready to rebuild.
I put up the first few large logs, building the base, but after that, the children took charge of collecting sticks and deciding on placement. A few of the larger logs were farther from our construction. Team work was required to move these behemoths through the undergrowth.
One of the largest logs provided us with an addition, almost doubling the size of the design. While we built, the children used their forest journals for the first time. Many drew our new fort.
Once the children deemed the building complete, a few chose to add small details to decorate the inside. Flowers were added as well as a phone. Some of the leaves were swept away revealing a carpet of soft moss inside.
Brr… Yesterday it was 2 degrees with a wind child of -10. This morning it was 40 degrees. We took advantage of the much warmer temperatures and headed outside. Although it began to rain, we still enjoyed sledding for the first time this year. The children also became very curious about a large section of the field that had iced over. They decided it made the perfect skating rink.
Yesterday was our first official Forest Four Day. Kindergarten and Pre-Kindergarten spent about two hours exploring our Northbound Trail. The undergrowth sprouted up beyond our knees over the summer, leading to a lovely, wild excursion.
Our car is coming along. In fact today it was suggested that it should be a camper instead since we are “making” such a long trip. Since I’m pretty sure I won’t be able to stay awake for the whole drive to Florida, I thought it would be good to train some fellow navigators. This atlas we’ve been looking over is way too complicated. We decided to start with something a bit simpler.
We began with Map My Neighboorhood by Jennifer Boothroyd. In this book, we learn how to draw our own maps. We begin with a list of the places we would like to include and work from there.
Our first attempt was made out on the Northbound Trail. The children used a large notebook, scissors, paper scraps, and glue sticks to create the areas they felt were important. This map was made together.
The most difficult parts were deciding what to include and choosing a size for each piece. Scale might be a bit beyond us at this point, but the practice with position in space was valuable.
Our next mapmaking enterprise took place in the classroom. Each child created their own map. I set up the paper first with the locations of the doors and windows marked. When placing the paper in front of the children, I made sure that their paper was oriented so that the doors and windows were aligned with the room. The children had many different takes on what was important to include on their classroom map. None of you will be surprised to hear that the loft was almost always the first furniture added.
Today, our students traveled to the City Campus to meet Jason Chin, an author/illustrator of non-fiction pictures books. He read his book Gravity and talked about how he came up with the idea for the story and how it evolved over time. We also got a chance to see him do a quick drawing of some of the items from the book. After we spent some time with our visiting author, the Pre-K students got to meet up with their city counterparts for some exploring of their playground and playing with old and new friends.
This week, our class got a little too close the pond than our protective Daddy Goose would have liked and he quickly let us know to find another way around with a perfectly-timed hiss or two. The students handled it well and slowly backed away to give the goose some extra space. Once we were a safe distance away, I explained that the geese have recently laid eggs on the island in the pond and are now very protective of their home and their growing babies. I continued by saying that the geese don’t know that we won’t hurt their babies and sometimes they get upset when we get too close to the pond. Then, one of our youngest students looked at me as said,
“Yeah and the goose probably doesn’t know that this is Winchester Thurston and we ‘think also of the comforts and the rights of others’ so we would never hurt their babies.”
Proof that caring for others and nature go hand in hand!
Today was a Forest Four day, and what perfect weather we had for it! Last Forest Four day we decided that it was time to move our Fairy House (the stick lean-to) to a new location. With this in mind, we headed out on the trail today with moving on our mind.
Above is an image of the old hide-away. The children spent over 30 minutes moving all of these sticks to the new location. I apologize for not having any photos of the massive undertaking. I, too, was busy hauling logs of all sizes.
Our new fairy house is much bigger and has the potential for many rooms. The children began playing in it before it had even been completed. We are looking forward to future child directed renovations.
This morning’s weather proved to be little finicky as it rained on and off for over an hour but that didn’t deter our youngest explorers. We prepared ourselves with boots and raincoats and then embarked on the great outdoors to enjoy the unseasonably warm day. It wasn’t long before a student noticed a small worm making his way up the side of boulder. We theorized about how he was able to hang on to the rock without any arms or legs. We studied how his body would shrink and then stretch as he so effortlessly moved across the rock once he reached the top. Then, before we knew it, there were two worms crawling across the rock. One student proclaimed that there were so many worms out because it was raining and worms love water. The students took turns gently touching the worm and then squealing with joy. It always amazes me what wonderment can be found on what might seem like a dreary day.
It was a blustery, wintry, picture perfect Forest Fours day today! Not only was there enough snow to finally go sled riding, but it was also great packing snow. We had giant snow balls and snow-people galore and many discussion about where the fairies go for the winter. We couldn’t have asked for a more perfect morning. I think it’s safe to say that our little snow bunnies quite thoroughly enjoyed themselves.