Showing posts with label forest. Show all posts
Showing posts with label forest. Show all posts

Oz Farm Week 11

Tuesday October 30, 2018 
Last Quarter Moon
Today we spent another fabulous afternoon with our friends at Oz farm!  Today we were lucky enough to have two moms with us!  We began with morning circle in the Redwoods with our Oz friend Margaret.  It was really a treat to sing our rain song (and dance) with to many people!  Indigo likes to be in the middle of the circle when we sing, which can be a little distracting, so we sent her off to play with her doggy friend Lucy while we finished circle.  We also read another page from our book of magical creatures.  This one is called Stray Sod or Wandering Clump.  They look like little grasshoppers with grasses growing out of their backs, and if you accidentally (or purposefully!) step on one, you can become temporarily lost and disoriented!  The only way to counteract their magic is to wait it out, or turn your clothes inside out.  We looked around the land and saw lots of places where the Wandering Clumps might be sunning themselves, and decided it was best to turn our clothes inside out just in case we accidentally stepped on one!  Then, feeling safe in our newly adjusted sweaters, we went out to play in the woods. 

Hearn Gulch Week 10

Thursday October 25, 2018
Full Moon

Today we visited a new spot on the Coast-side called Hearn Gulch (aka Iverson Rd. Beach aka Honeymoon Cove.)  This is a beautiful little spot with some amazing rock formations.  We began morning circle by noticing that the entire beach was covered in shade.  We were sitting on the north side of the beach, and could see some sun hitting the cliffs beside us.  We made some estimations of how long it would take for the sun to touch the sand, and to touch one of the plants beside us.  It turned out not to take very long at all!  By the end of morning circle, the sun was already touching us as we sat on the sand.  The rest of out time at the beach was so delightful! 

We made sand castles, climbed the cliffs, and
listened to the huge "woosh BOOM!" sounds as the waves crashed against the rocks and made giant white clouds of spray.  It was really amazing!  We played chase games and pretended to be monsters.  Some kids wanted to be buried in the sand, and we had fun piling up the sand around our friends, and shaping the sand into mermaid and whale tail's. 

Oz Farm Week 10

Tuesday October 23, 2018
Full Moon

Today we had another wonderful visit to Oz Farm.  We began by having morning circle under the Redwoods, and noticing how much darker it was than the last time we had circle in this spot.  We have been talking a lot in class about how this is the time of the year when "the veil between the worlds becomes thinner" and the magical creatures come out.  To celebrate this mystical season, we will be reading about one magical creature each day from the book, "Spiderwick's Field Guide to the Fantastical World Around You."  Today we read about The Common House Brownie (and as it turns out, one of our kiddo's has a house infested with them!)  After the story we did a short rain dance before closing circle to play in the forest.  I had brought some walnut shells along to make boats with, but instead the kiddo's lined the shells with Redwood Sorrel to make little beds for the faeries.  They also used feathers to help decorate the faerie houses they made.

Roseman Creek Ranch Week 9

Thursday October 18, 2018
Waxing Gibbous Moon
Today we took a special trip to Roseman Creek Ranch to harvest acorns, explore the farm, and play with puppies!  When we first arrived, we had circle around the fire pit with our host Ms. Katie before moving into the kitchen and learning how to make and can apple sauce.  Each student took a turn stirring the apple sauce as it cooked, then we all sat down and had snack together.  Ms. Katie shared her delicious homemade granola and bright pink apple sauce.  After snack we went for a walk around the property with the dogs and puppy, until we came to a beautiful Oak forest.  When we arrived at the forest, we reviewed what we learned about acorns in class, including how to chose the best acorns to harvest.  Next, each kiddo took a paper bag and began harvesting acorns and acorn caps (for future art projects.)  We also climbed and played in the Oak forest as we harvested. 

Oz Farm Week 9

Tuesday October 16, 2018
First Quarter Moon

Today we had our 3rd visit to Oz Farm.  When we arrived, the first thing we did was circle up next to some beautiful Burgundy amaranth.  During circle, we talked about all the things we wanted to do during the day; like visit the Grandmother Walnut and play in the river.  Then the weather watcher did her job, determining that the weather was sunny and warm.  A perfect day to play in the river!  Next we had our rule keeper remind us of our class rules, and we were ready to begin our adventure!    We began with a romp in the redwoods, where we played an amazing game of hide and seek tag.  

Oz Farm Week 8

Tuesday October 9, 2018
New Moon

Today we had our second visit to Oz Farm.  The kiddo's were excited, and finding a spot for morning circle proved to be quite difficult!  Finally we decided on a nice, damp, grassy spot along side a beautiful flower bed.  After circle we all moved together to the Redwood Grove, where we climbed, explored, and had snack.  On our way to the Redwoods, we had talked about other places where we wanted to play, like at the tossing game, the Grandmother Walnut, and along the river.  The kiddo's were having *so* much fun in the Redwoods that they all decided to stay in the grove to play (with Ms. Wendy), except for F., who went with me to the Grandmother Walnut.  While F. climbed the gorgeous old tree, the rest of the class worked at stacking logs on top of each other, making ladders, and playing house.  After awhile F. and I went back to check on them, just as they were coming to find us!  We stopped to play the tossing game and munch on apples (Thank you Abby!), before moving along to the Grandmother Walnut.  When we got there most of the kids got right to climbing, though some were having a harder time getting up the trunk than others.  Eventually everyone managed to scurry up the tree and had a delightful time climbing in her branches.  D. also quite enjoyed cracking the walnuts open with a rock.  And, because we were having such a wonderful time, the afternoon went by fast and sooner than we knew it, it was already time to leave.  C. became deeply upset that we never made it to the river, and when he was ready, we talked about the choice the kids had made to stay in the Redwoods, that we wont always have time to do all the choices available, and that we will have more opportunities to visit Oz and play near the river.  It was difficult to leave while C. was still processing his feelings, but he did a really good job getting calm and talking through his feelings when we returned.  Good job C!

Oz Farm Week 7

Tuesday October 2, 2018
Waning Gibbous Moon

Today was out first visit to Oz Farm, and what an amazing adventure we had!  Because it was our first time, we spent our morning getting to know the land and the best spots for play and exploration.  Special thanks to our friend Margaret for guiding our explorations, and taking us to the most magical places on the land!  Almost as soon as we got out of the cars the kids found some giant mud puddles, and instantly were jumping and splashing in the newly formed pools.  They were having such a blast playing in the puddles that we ended up having a slow transition into the Redwood grove where we held morning circle.  The Redwoods were enchanting, and we took a moment to close our eyes, get quiet, and just listen to the sounds of the forest.  After our regular morning circle routine I taught the students my favorite water song.  Usually we sing it to call in the rain, but this year the rains came so soon that we sang it to welcome and thank the rain.

Schooner's Gulch Week 6

Thursday September 27, 2018
Waning Gibbous Moon

Today we returned to one of our new favorite spots, Schooner's Gulch!  When we left the school, the land was enveloped in a thick blanket of fog.  When we arrived at Schoonie's though, the fog was only up in the sky and the surrounding landscape was clear.  We had morning circle in the Redwoods, and Ms. Leah told us about Faerie Rings and why the Redwood's make them.  While we were under the Redwood canopy, B. found a really nice stick which she then used to write the letter 'R' in the duff.  Her classmates were so excited by this that they all chose their own writing sticks to take to the beach with them and practice writing letters and sight words (later on we also used our feet to write sight words in the sand!)  Once at the beach we drew, wrote, and dug in the sand and climbed on our favorite cliffs until snack.  Then we went for a walk to the far end of the beach. 

Stornetta Lands Week 6

Tuesday September 25, 2018
Full Moon

Today we returned to the Stornetta Lands on a special mission to locate F.'s missing gray kitty stuffy.  For this adventure though, we walked the opposite way of the usual trail we take.  This way, we would have time to explore those cool spots we always see on our way back to the car and never have time to check out!  The first thing we did was check out a trail we'd never walked down before.  It became rather steep, but somehow we ended up perching along the trail for morning circle.   The fog covered us and the land like a soft, cool blanket, moving and changing form with the wind.  The fog was so thick this morning that we could hear the ocean, but not see her!  As we continued along the trail we struggled to see familiar landmarks through all the fog, and even questioned if we were still on the right trail!  Soon we came to tree that looked really fun to climb, and we stopped to explore and climb.

Stornetta Lands Week 5

Thursday September 20, 2018
Waxing Gibbous Moon

The forest kinders had a very full day today at the Stornetta Lands!  We began by having circle in the cool morning shade under some pine trees.  Because tomorrow is the International Day of Peace, we opened with a conversation about what peace means and why it is something we want to cultivate in our lives.  I then passed out some gathering baskets and explained that we would be creating something special together using beautiful treasures we collected on the lands.  We then split into two groups and began gathering beautiful natural objects, such as pine cones, pine needles, dandelion and thistle flowers.  When possible, we collected items that had already fallen to the ground.  The kinders also did an amazing job of always saying "thank you" to the plants and trees that shared their beauty with us.  C. was especially enthusiastic about collecting natural treasures, and was often quick to point out litter on the trail (which was also collected and taken back to a garbage can.)  We walked slowly, using our "mouse eyes" to look for treasure, until it was time for snack.

Schooners Gulch Week 5

Tuesday September 18, 2018
First Quarter Moon

Oh my goodness, Schooner's Gulch is kindergarten heaven!  The kids had such a great time exploring and playing at this beach that we didn't even have time to get to any of the activities I had planned!  They were so eager to get started that trying to sit down and complete morning circle became quite a challenge!  
The first thing we did after circle was jump right in the creek.  How silly the grown-ups were to think we would be leaving this place dry and sand free!  The kids got right to work building a moat on the side of the creek and channeling the water in fun new ways.  Somehow we managed to break away from this activity to have snack, and as soon as the food got put away the kiddo's got right to work scrambling up the side of cliffs, finding cool caves, and even little "hammocks" carved into the stone which made great beds!  We gazed in awe as huge flocks of brown pelicans soared overhead, played tug-of-war and jumped rope with seaweed, made sand castles, and played keep away with the ocean as her waves tickled our toes in the sand.  It was a perfect sunny day, and having to say goodbye to the beach was hard.  We can't wait to go back!!

Manchester Dunes Week 4

Thursday September 13, 2018
Waxing Crescent Moon

Today the kinders celebrated California Coastal Cleanup day (officially on 9/15) by picking up trash in the dunes and along the beach.  We began the day with a discussion about why it's important to keep our beaches clean.  The children came up with a lot of good reasons why trash shouldn't be at the beach!  For example, to keep the animals safe, to keep the people safe, and to keep the land looking beautiful.  When we arrived at the dunes, the boys decided to put on gloves and join me in the trash pick-up while the girls stayed behind and played in one of the driftwood shelters.  While playing, the girls found a sand flea!  They were very excited about this!  Meanwhile, as the boys and I picked up garbage we also found cool treasures along the way.  They found shells, seaweed, more pieces of an old pirate ship, and ANOTHER driftwood house!  Naturally we had to stop and play in it before continuing on our journey.

Stornetta Lands Week 4

Tuesday September 11, 2018
Waxing Crescent Moon
Today we went on an extra special adventure!  Before taking off, I read the students a special letter from our principal, Sigrid, which said that she really needed huckleberries to bake muffins with, and could we please gather some for her.  Along with the letter was a beautifully drawn yet incomplete treasure map!  The map showed us where to begin, and how to get to Huckleberry Heaven, but there were no other landmarks anywhere on the map!  So part of our assignment on the trail was to look for interesting features on the trail, name them, and add them to the map.  On our way to Huckleberry forest we encountered the Winter Magic Tree, the Dancing Tree, another tree we named Old Man's Beard, and braved our way through the Ghost Forest.  All of this was then added to the map to make the journey easier for fellow travelers!  Finally, we arrived to Huckleberry Heaven, and there were SO many huckleberry bushes!!  We gathered, munched, and played here for a good part of the morning.

Moat Creek Week 3

Thursday September 6, 2018
Waning Crescent Moon
Oooh!  What a foggy adventure we had!  We began by walking up the trail and finding a new spot for morning circle where we talked about the plan for the day and students did their jobs (weather watcher & rule keeper.)  Next we meandered farther down the trail while watching for birds and different colors of plants and flowers.  We stopped when we arrived at our  favorite tree, whom we named "Tunnel Tree."  We spent a lot of time playing around Tunnel Tree and even cleaned up her dead branches.  Then we started collecting moss and lichen to make nests for the faeries and birds.  Some of the moss we saved and pretended was ice cream on top of pine cone-cones!   Around this time there was some conflict with the students, as F. wanted to play, but only with T., and this was causing some hurt feelings with other students.  We took some time to sit together in a circle so everyone could share their feelings, and we could talk about friendship and how to include all our friends when we play.  When everyone felt good again, the play resumed!  The children did an amazing job expressing their feelings and resolving this conflict with just a little bit of adult support.

Manchester Dunes Week 3

Tuesday September 4, 2018
Last Quarter Moon

Today we had a wonderful time at the beach!  We began by taking our shoes off, and finding a nice open spot in the dunes to hold our morning circle.  After circle we walked the rest of the way to the beach, stopping to play as we went.  Once we got to the beach, we played some more!!  Then we took some pencil-sized sticks to practice writing the number '1' and our sight word 'a' in the sand.  We then played some matching and sorting games using found treasures along the shore.  After this was snack, and then a visit to one of our favorite natural structures, the driftwood teeter totter!  This has been a great way to learn about weight and balance.

Manchester Dunes Week 2

Tuesday August 28, 2018
Waning Gibbous Moon

The children had the most wonderful time at the dunes today!  We began our adventure by searching out the perfect spot to hold our morning circle.  C. found a secret little nook behind some trees that was just the right size to hold our circle.  After circle time we trekked down the trail toward the ocean.  B. stopped to take her shoes off, and was absolutely delighted at the feeling of her bare feet on the sand.  It was a very sweet moment!  D. found some cool animal tracks in the sand, and everyone had a guess as to who might have made the tracks.  Were they from a rabbit?  A deer? A puppy? Maybe they were made by a grown up!

Moat Creek Beach Week 1

Thursday August 23, 2018
Waxing Gibbous Moon

Today was our first day of the new Forest Kindergarten program, and what a lovely day it was!  We began by hiking up one of the trails until we came to a little opening on the path.  There we had our morning circle, with a central theme of "hazards."  The children already seemed to know a great deal about many of the hazards, including poison (or guardian) oak, crumbling cliffs, and appropriate ways to play with sticks.

Forest Kindergarten

Our Forest Kindergarten will include 3 days a week in the classroom and the other 2 days learning out in nature! See what our kids have been up to on our new Forest Kindergarten Blog!

Research shows that children who play and learn outdoors are healthier physically and mentally, do better in school, have higher self-esteem, demonstrate good self-discipline, are good problem solvers, and are more cooperative with others.

Forest Kindergarten will be:
  • Place Based: accessing our wonderful coastal ecosystems.
  • Engaging and Student-Guided: nurturing each student's natural wonder and curiosity.
  • Physically Active: developing healthy minds and bodies.
  • Sensory-Rich: inspiring the development of all the senses.

For more information, read our Q & A handout by clicking here.