Saturday, September 25, 2010
This week we had a special treat. The owner of our school, Arthur Stewart, brought several of the animals in from his farm. The children were able to feed and pet goats, ducks, a sheep, a rabbit, and a chicken. The kids were overjoyed! It was a very special day.
The second week of the outdoor classroom ran pretty smoothly aside from the weather not cooperating on Wednesday. My first group was able to have a full work time outside, but then the on and off down pours of rain began. When the sun came out I decided to take another group out just to dig for worms. The kids were loving it, but the rain came out of no where again and we got wet! No one in the group was upset about it. In fact the children were squealing with delight at it. Some of the girls were still talking about it the next day! When you are a kid getting caught in the rain can be one of those simple joys in life.
We did get the big shovels out this week as promised and began our digging work. The kids loved it! We also began sanding our stump. Last week we talked about how the rings on a stump tell the age of the tree. Sanding will make the rings easier to see.
Thursday, September 16, 2010
This week the outdoor classroom was officially open up for the school year. Now that the children have had time to adjust to being at school we have broken them up into their outdoor classroom groups and have started rotating them out into the schoolyard. It is always interesting at first, because the new ones need to learn how to change in and out of their boots, as well as how to line up. I must say they are catching on quite well and have been enjoying working in the yard. We kept it pretty simple this week. Children watered, sanded, dug with hand shovels, and learned to fill the bird feeder. Next week the big shovels come out and everyone is very excited!
One of our themes for the year in our classroom is trees. The children have been learning about the parts of the tree, so I decided to dig up some of the baby maple trees that have made it into my yard thanks to all the maple seeds that spun their way in last spring. I placed them in water with some aqua gems, which are a soil substitute. This way the children could get a good view of the roots. I also found some battered "spinners" a.k.a. maple seeds to show them, as well as an adult maple leaf. It is interesting to observe how the tiny maple tree leaves don't look exactly like an adult maple leaf, but as they get bigger, their leaves look more and more like an adult maple. I was lucky enough to find a sapling with both shapes of leaves to show the kids. In the spring we will have each child find a maple seed in the yard and plant them as well. The kids love when the "spinners" fall off the trees. It will be a joy to watch the children when they make the connection that the "spinners" are seeds and when they are planted or go into the earth naturally we get tiny trees.