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

Week 19; Bower Park

Tuesday January 21, 2020
Waning Crescent Moon

Oh!  What a rainy day adventure we had today!  It was absolutely pouring out!  Luckily we were all dressed up in our rain pants, rain coats, and rain boots!  We began by having morning circle and snack beneath some Redwood trees (hoping they would provide some shelter from the rain). After that we went on a wander, with different children taking turns leading the way.  After a while we sat together in a circle under some young Redwoods, where we did a storytelling game.  For this activity, I began telling a story about some dragons who were experiencing their first winter rains.  They sky was dark with thick rain clouds, and the clouds poured down so much rain that the young dragons could no longer breathe fire!  We then passed the story around the circle, with each child taking a turn to add to the dragon's adventures.  The dragons tried and failed several times to reach the sun and ask him to dry up the rain clouds.  They tried so hard and for so long, that soon winter was over and spring arrived to grant the dragons' wish!  Following the story we continued our wander, and finally, soggy and cold, we decided it was time to head back to school and get toasty!

Week 18; Oz Farm

Friday January 10, 2020
Last Quarter Moon

Typically for the PCCS Forest program, we visit Oz Farm for 6 weeks in the autumn and 6 weeks in the spring.  Today however we had the special honor of visiting Oz Farm during the winter!  We had our morning circle in the Redwood Grove, taking special notice of changes that have happened on the landscape since our last visit.  Some of the things the children noticed were the changes in the weather (now it's cold and rainy!) and the apple trees (there are no apples or leaves on them anymore!). After circle and snack we went on a wander around the farm to gather beautiful treasures for a project the students are working on in art class.  We gathered mosses, leaves, and walnut shells, and had a wonderful time exploring the farm using our "mouse eyes."  It's going to be so much fun to return in the spring and see what new changes have occurred!

Week 16; Ms. Audrey's Cabin

Tuesday December 17, 2019
Waning Gibbous Moon
Today we had a very special adventure indeed!  The kindergarteners had earned 10 stars in class, and chose to trade in those stars for a forest day adventure at my cabin!  Plus, my dogs- Indigo and Arlo- joined us for the fun!  We started by parking in my driveway and getting the very happy doggo's.  It was such a treat to have the dogs join us on our wander.  Both the dogs and the kids were overjoyed to get to play together!  Our pack then trekked down the dirt road toward the Point Arena creek.  When we got down there, we moved further into the woods.  The children loved following the creek; seeing small trickling waterfalls and deep pools of water along the way.  We also saw lots of different kinds of mushrooms.  Some were delicious oyster mushrooms, which unfortunately were growing way up on the Alder tree's, well out of our reach.  We then settled into a cozy little clearing in the woods, where the children worked on making faerie houses and building boats which were then set afloat upon the creek.  After a fun time playing in the woods, we began our walk back to the cabin.  Along the way, the children were challeneged to notice the different kinds of berries that were growing along the path.  We found signs of huckleberries, blackberries, thimbleberries, and (my favorite) salmonberries!  Back at the top of the road, the kiddo's got to have a special peek inside my cabin.  They were especially excited to meet the fishes.  It was a really fun day, and we might come back again in the late spring to notice what has changed since today, and see if there are any berries to munch!

Week 15; Manchester Dunes

Tuesday December 10, 2019
Waxing Gibbous Moon 
"Everything was my favorite part!" shouted a very enthusiastic kindergartner as we shared our highlights of the day on the drive home.  And indeed today was amazingly fun!  We began by trekking out to the "rolling down dunes" where we came together for circle and learned a new song.  After circle and snack we went off to play in the dunes, making sand angels and rolling down the dunes in the soft sand.  After a short while we broke into 2 groups; one group stayed where they were with Ms. Lili and worked together to build a magnificent city of sand.  The other group took off with me (Ms. Audrey) on a wandering adventure to explore and seek out treasures.  We found some cool bones hidden among the lumps of tall grasses, including a small jaw bone.  We then meandered our way to the beach where we found some beautiful shells and pieces of driftwood.  
And then!  ... Out in the ocean, and so close to the shore, we saw a pod of dolphins swimming in the same direction we were walking!  It was REALLY exciting!  There were about 5 dolphins in the pod (the same number of children we had in our pod!) and we sang them a song to let them know how happy we were to see them.  Leaving the beach and dolphins was especially hard, but eventually we said goodbye and moved into a game of quietly stalking the other group.  And as we crawled ever so quietly on our bellies... the other group was moving ever so quietly to stalk up on us!  We finally met each other on either side of a grass clump, where we jumped up and scared each other!  We then played the "Teacher Monster game" as we chased each other along the trail and back to the van.  It was a truly delightful adventure day!

Week 13; Hearn Gulch

Tuesday, November 12, 2019
Full Moon

Today our adventure was at a new location; Hearn Gulch!  And this adventure was special for another reason too... We had the great privilege of celebrating the 6th birthday of a very dear forest kindergartner! 
When we arrived the tide was coming in, so we took the time to talk about ocean safety before beginning morning circle.  The tide kept moving in as we sang our songs until the ocean reached her high mark and then began her retreat as we finished our songs and transitioned into snack.  It was a really cool thing to see!  After snack the kiddo's took off to play, and boy did they get creative!  One group of kids worked together to make a magic potion.  They used leaves, little flowers, grass and seaweed, then stirred it together before adding little rocks.  The resulting potion was thick, mucky, and oh-so-smooshy!
Meanwhile, another group of kids worked hard to construct a "wave blocker."  This was used to prevent the waves from getting too high and washing out the beach and all the sand.  We also saw some garbage stuck high up on the cliffs.  We tried to knock it down using sticks and stones, but unfortunately the trash was too high to reach, and it was not safe to climb up the cliff side to collect it.  Hopefully soon someone will find a way to reach it and throw it away before it ends up in the ocean.  I am really proud of these kids for their concern about the trash and creative ways to retrieve it!

Week 12; Gualala Art Center

Tuesday November 5, 2019
Waxing Gibbous Moon

Today the Forest Kinder's got to go exploring in a new location; the Gualala Arts Center.  We didn't go into the art center though, instead the students found a path and followed it into a beautiful redwood forest.  At each fork in the trail, the children circled up and decided together which way to go.  Soon, we found ourselves standing beside the Gualala River.  We slid down the soft, silty bank and immediately found a wing sitting in the dry part of the river bed!  The wing was very dark brown, almost black, and the smaller feathers on the upper side of the wings had a light brown tip.  Very interesting clues, and the children had a couple different guesses about who this wing may have belonged to.  

After investigating the wing we found a beautiful spot to hold morning circle by the river bank.  There we talked about how different the location looked from when the kindergarten class went last year, when the very spot we were sitting in was covered in deep water!  It's going to be really fun to start tracking the changes that happen at this spot each time we visit!  The children did a lot of tracking during this adventure; following hoof prints and noticing the large amounts of feathers and bones that were scattered along the edge of the trail.  We even found a pig hoof!  Our theory is that we had stumbled upon the feeding grounds of a large predator.  I wonder what we will find next time we visit?

Week 10; Oz Farm

Tuesday October 22, 2019
Waning Crescent Moon

Today we had our last visit to Oz Farm for the autumn season.  We had to make the most of it!  We began, as usual, by having our morning circle in the Redwoods.  The students did a short sense meditation during morning circle, noticing the bird songs, the scent of the earth, air, and the farm, and observing the beauty of the land around us.  After circle we had snack, and then spent some time playing in the Redwood Grove.  After a nice run around beneath the giant Redwoods, we decided to visit the river.  The day was clear with blue skies, so it was nice to be out in the sun, although too cold to play in the water.  Still, the children were quick to kick off their shoes and peel off their socks, and had a lovely time playing on the river bank, catching bugs and creating mud sculptures.

week 9; Stornetta Lands

Friday October 18
Waning Gibbous Moon

Today we had a lovely adventure at the Stornetta Lands, and this time we explored further than ever!  We began by walking along the trail that was mapped out by the children at the beginning of the year.  Along the way we stopped for morning circle, and about half way through our circle, someone came walking along the trail with 2 big barking dogs!  It was a perfect opportunity to discuss how to stay safe around unfamiliar dogs, and the children did an excellent job giving the dogs space and keeping themselves calm and safe.  After circle we moved further down the trail, where we found a large grove of cypress trees.  The perfect spot for a game of hide and seek!  We had so much fun playing there!  
Following the games, we went even further down the path, all the way to where the trail overlooks the ocean.  The waves were huge and strong!  The children sat very still and quiet on the trail, listening to the waves crashing on the rocks, and silently pointing out waves that were especially big.  It was a lovely scene and very hard to leave!  The children had the option of which path to take back to the car, and they chose to go the long way.  We walked so much!  It was wonderful!

Week 9; Oz Farm

Tuesday October 15, 2019
Waning Gibbous Moon
When we arrived at Oz Farm this morning, we noticed something was very different.  Can you guess what it was?  
As we walked toward the Redwood Grove, the students observed how dark it looked under the trees.  Indeed the sky herself was overcast and gray, and all of us were wearing our cozy warm sweaters.  All of a sudden, we could really feel that Fall is here!  Some children even asked that we not visit the river, for fear that the water had frozen!
Bravely, the children went into the dark woods, and it wasn't so scary after all!  We found a beautiful spot to hold morning circle, and the children learned a new song to call in the rains.  We spent a good deal of time in the Redwoods, playing chase games, hide and seek, and searching for bugs.  The children found so many amazing insects, including a large and surprisingly friendly cricket (whom we suspect may in fact be a wandering clump!)  We also visited our good friend, the Grandmother Walnut, and spent some time climbing her branches before heading back to school for lunch.

Week 8; Manchester Dunes

Friday October 11, 2019
Waxing Gibbous Moon

Today we had an epic adventure at the Manchester Dunes!  Circle was off to a very slow start, with forgotten water bottles, lost shoes, and very wiggly children.  Eventually though, we were able to come together, sing our songs, and share gratitude before sitting together for snack time.
After snack, the children had a delightful time playing on the sand dunes.  We didn't even make it all the way to the beach!  Instead, we spent the morning searching for treasures in the grasses, rolling down the soft sandy hills, and making sand angels.  It was a truly lovely day!

Week 7; Moat Creek

Friday October 4
Waxing Crescent moon

Today we went to Moat Creek and visited our friend the Tunnel Tree.  Unfortunately the tunnel had closed up since the time of the Forest Kinders' last visit.  Fortunately, these kiddo's were more than up to the challenge, and quick as a cricket that tunnel was re-opened and ready for play!  We had a lot of fun up there, and as much as we wanted to stay and keep playing, something else was calling us... For when we look out over the ocean, we saw that the tide was low.  Really, really low.  We simply had to walk down to the beach and explore!  This was the lowest tide I've ever seen at Moat Creek, and we were able to scramble (ever so carefully!) over the rocks and around the bend, where we were able to access parts of the beach none of us had ever been to before!  We saw sea anemones, fish, and crabs.  We collected shells and nibbled on edible seaweeds.  Some students found one of those weird animals that looks like a cross between a foot and a giant slug, and we could tell he was still alive from his movement so we carefully picked him up, put him back in the ocean, and wished him well on his journey.  It was a wonderful day!

Week 6; Oz Farm

Tuesday September 24, 2019 Waning Crescent Moon
Today we had a special Equinox celebration at Oz Farm.  After morning circle and snack we walked around the farm, gathering beautiful things from the earth, such as stones, apples, flowers, and leaves.  We then took these to a stump in the Redwood Grove and made an equinox alter as a thank you to the land for holding us, and a welcoming of the new season.  When the alter was complete we played some more in the Redwood Grove, and then moved on to the river because oh boy was it hot!  The kiddo's couldn't wait to dip their feet in the cool water and sink their hands into the thick mud.  Time flies by extra fast at Oz Farm, and before we knew it, it was time to walk back to the cars.  Along the way the children camouflaged themselves among the willows, pretending to be trees so that the teacher monster wouldn't eat them up for lunch!

Week 5; Oz Farm

Tuesday September 17, 2019
Waning Gibbous Moon

Today the Forest Kinder students had their first adventure to Oz Farm!  We had such an amazing time!  When we first arrived, we were greeted by our new friend Abby, who joined us for morning circle in the Redwoods.  We sang songs and danced together, and then Abby shared with us some rules about playing on the farm, such as only munching on apples that have already fallen to the earth (and only sometimes,) and making sure that when we play, we are outside of the garden beds.  After making these agreements, the children went off to play in the trees.  There were tree stumps that reminded us of stages, and we also played a short game of hide and seek.  We had snack in the Redwood Grove, and then meandered down to the river, munching blackberries as we went (Abby said we are free to enjoy the blackberries.  Yumm!!)
On the way to the river we were being chased by a mighty unicorn!  Despite this danger, the children were mindful to draw arrows in the mud on the trail so we could find our way back to the van after our adventure.  Once at the river, we took off our shoes, rolled up our pants, and jumped into the cold water.  The students had a wonderful time catching frogs and bugs, climbing trees, and drawing in the sand with sticks.  And just like that, it was time to head back to school.  How did that happen so fast!?  We put our shoes and socks back on, headed back to the trail, and played monster chase games all the way back to the car.

Week 4: Manchester Dunes

Tuesday, September 10, 2019
Waxing Gibbous Moon

Today the forest kinders had their first visit to the Manchester Dunes.  The adventure was off to a great start when we spotted a garter snake at the trail head!  The path to the beach was a long one, and we paused half way on the trail to have morning circle.  After circle we trekked the rest of the way to the beach.  The waves were strong and the tide was coming in, so we stayed close to the dunes and played in the driftwood shelters.  The children had such a wonderful time playing in the huts, building them up, and searching the landscape for treasures.  We found So Many feathers!!  Then the question came up of who even builds these driftwood huts?  Whenever we arrive, the huts are there just waiting for us to play in them!  Does anyone have any clues?  We are so curious! 

Week 3: Moat Creek

Tuesday September 3, 2019
Waning crescent moon

Today the children had the great fortune of visiting the Moat Creek beach during an amazingly low tide!  We had circle in the sand, and then played in the driftwood until snack.  After snack some of the children went on an adventure with Ms. Lili, exploring tide pools and looking for treasures.  They saw small fish swimming in the tide pools, pretty shells, lots of sea snails, and found another large dead crab.  We spent some time climbing on rocks, and building new driftwood shelters.  The day was sunny and breezy, and the time flew by so fast!  Soon it was time to gather our belongings, say thank you to the ocean, and drive back to the school for lunch.

Week 2: Stornetta Lands

Friday August 30, 2019
New Moon

Today the children had a special assignment; complete a partially drawn map of the Stornetta Lands to help us find our way to Huckleberry Heaven!  The map showed us where to begin, and how to get to Huckleberry Heaven, but there were no other landmarks anywhere on the map.  The children's job was to draw in the landmarks we saw along the way, so that next time we go there, we can look for the landmarks so that we know we are going the right way.  All the children were excited to add something to the map, and we ended up naming nearly all the trees from City Hall to Huckleberry Heaven!  Some of the landmarks spotted and mapped by the kids were the Ghost Forest, the Bone Tree, the Spooky Forest, and the Dragon Tree (ready for Halloween anyone?).

As we worked on drawing these landmarks, we could tell by looking at the map that we were getting closer and closer to Huckleberry Heaven.   Soon we saw our first clue; a lone Huckleberry bush.  This was incredibly exciting and the children all ran to the bush, eager to collect huckleberries.  We then kept walking and saw another lone bush, then another one, and another, and soon we were surrounded by So Many huckleberry bushes!!  The children were amazing by the abundance of berries.  As we gathered, we talked about the generosity of huckleberry bushes, and of all the different creatures who are fed by this very special plant.  We spent the rest of the afternoon there, gathering berries, painting our faces with berry juice, playing, and having so much fun!

Week 2: Voorhees

Tuesday August 27, 2019
Waning Crescent Moon

Today we had quite the adventure visiting the Garcia River at Voorhees!  We began by slipping our way down the hill to the Redwood grove for morning circle.  After songs and check in we played and climbed for a short while before coming back together for snack.  Following snack, we put on our backpacks and wandered down the river to explore.  We were searching for frogs, lizards, and fishes.  Frogs there were a plenty!  We stopped at several shallow spots along the river and to catch the cute little amphibians.  The children did an excellent job holding the frogs gently and then mindfully releasing them back into the river.  We also saw different types of water bugs, fishes, and even a big crayfish!  On our wander we also found an extra huge tangle of blackberry brambles, and it was FULL of fat juicy berries!  You know we just had to stop for a second snack!  Blackberry stained, sun-kissed, and damp from playing the river, we said thank you and goodbye to the land and made our way back to school.

Week 1: Schooners Gulch

Friday, August 23, 2019
Last Quarter Moon

What a glorious day for our first Forest adventure of the new school year!  The tide was low, the sun was out, and the children were full of energy and enthusiasm!  We arrived at the beach and held morning circle, with new songs and a check in about protocol and rules for our time together outdoors.  Soon after our little learners were zooming around the beach, eager to show us the treasure they had found; the perfectly in tact body of a large dungeness crab!  Each child had a turn examining the crab; noticing the shell, legs, and claws.  After snack we adventured further down the beach, checking out tide pools, climbing on rocks, and playing tag with the gentle waves.  Following this trek, we returned to our base camp where the children spent the rest of the afternoon making sand castles, building and playing in driftwood huts, and drawing pictures in the sand with fingers and sticks.  The children did an especially wonderful job working together to problem solve, and to build upon the existing driftwood huts.  Altogether, it was a delightful day!

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.