Hand-in-Hand October News

Musings from the educators…

What I noticed this month by Alix:

October was a fun month. The children had all settled into the routines of forest preschool, and gotten more comfortable with one another, allowing them to delve deeper into their play, their observations and their ponderings. Their ability to collect themselves and prepare to set off in the morning is remarkable, and they are quick to help one another with all kinds of things – getting backpacks on, climbing, opening snack containers – they have grown into a close community, and it is wonderful to watch! I’ve noticed how observant the children are, and have enjoyed hearing them point out their discoveries with excited exclamations to the rest of the class. I wonder what discoveries you hear about at home? I’m looking forward to seeing what November brings us, and where our adventures will lead us. 

What I noticed this month by Heather:

What a joy to watch as the trees shake off their leaves and settle into their roots, and our Roots layer up and settle into their routines. As Alix noted above, the group is working together to make the daily routines smoother and safer. This is important not only because group cohesion is a foundational understanding in any early years program, but especially in ours. The less time the educators spend directing, the more time spent freely exploring our natural environment! I’ve noticed that when children are given responsibility and basic guidelines that they agree on and have some agency over, suddenly they have space to be themselves. The Roots have varied interests and backgrounds. Some kids will spend most of the day climbing the creek bank over and over again, mastering the steps and roots to use to lever themselves up. Others will immerse themselves in imaginative play: echoing the habits of home, like taking care of a baby sibling. Often, the children would share their excitement over the discovery of a new mushroom, slug, snail, fern, or remnants of the neighbourhood that once existed where we play. Its during these discoveries and the discussions that follow them that I really see how the children are opening up their senses to deepen their understanding of the this place and each other.

Themes from October:

EVIDENCE OF AUTUMN
Having become comfortable with the structure of our day – the routines, expectations and personalities of one another – this month our focus shifted from safety and settled on the glory that was autumn around us. We extended our mushroom exploration into noticing particular details of different ones as they popped up. Leaves were everywhere and we took advantage of their abundance to play and work with them. We built with them, made art with them, created patterns with them, and just generally had fun with them. At the Maple Grove and the Creek Bed we noticed the trees becoming barer and barer, and the creek filling with water! This observation and absorption of the seasons is one of the benefits of outdoor education – we lived the fall, experienced it in an up-close and personal way – this season is now a part of your child’s world knowledge!

To help us understand the changing months, Alix used a visual representation of all the months and all the children's birthdays laid out so we can watch as the Earth moves around the sun. This way, we can make associations with the seasons, months and each other's growing older!

To help us understand the changing months, Alix used a visual representation of all the months and all the children’s birthdays laid out so we can watch as the Earth moves around the sun. This way, we can make associations with the seasons, months and each other’s growing older!

 

Checking out our spore print results

Checking out our spore print results

 

Looking low and looking high to find things on which to spy. Binoculars and magnifying glasses help us discover more!

Looking low and looking high to find things on which to spy. Binoculars and magnifying glasses help us discover more!

 

We did a observation activity where the children sat beside a mushroom and then came back to their journals and they drew them and the educators scribed their descriptions for them.

We did a observation activity where the children sat beside a mushroom and then came back to their journals and they drew them and the educators scribed their descriptions for them.

 

I was impressed how many of the children's drawings resembled the mushrooms they were sitting near.

I was impressed how many of the children’s drawings resembled the mushrooms they were sitting near.

 

Deliah noted that these mushrooms 'blended' with the leaves around them, making them hard to see at first.

Deliah noted that these mushrooms ‘blended’ with the leaves around them, making them hard to see at first.

 

Look at them all! It's a slug feast!

Look at them all! It’s a slug feast!

 

Compressing and gathering leaves in buckets

Compressing and gathering leaves in buckets

 

Leaves can be a great building material too!

Leaves can be a great building material too!

 

Stirring the pot. Rocks and gravel of all sizes are great for playing in!

Stirring the pot. Rocks and gravel of all sizes are great for playing in!

 

Wearing red and painting red with our own natural material paintbrushes.

Wearing red and painting red with our own natural material paintbrushes.

 

Aloe made a paintbrush out of grass. Looks good!

Aloe made a paintbrush out of grass. Looks good!

 

Trying to catch leaves - will it bring you luck?

Trying to catch leaves – will it bring you luck?

 

Careful cutting of a chanterelle mushroom.

Careful cutting of a chanterelle mushroom.

 

So many different kinds!

So many different kinds!

Take a closer look, what makes them different and the same? What parts of a mushroom can we name?

Take a closer look, what makes them different and the same? What parts of a mushroom can we name?

Logs are great building materials too! Here, Dawson is puzzling out how to make his logs stand up.

Logs are great building materials too! Here, Dawson is puzzling out how to make his logs stand up.

 

Placing and glueing leaves with thoughtfulness. This also turned into a counting activity, how many leaves can fit on the paper?

Placing and glueing leaves with thoughtfulness. This also turned into a counting activity, how many leaves can fit on the paper?

 

Sometimes we use tools like buckets, carabiners and rope with our natural materials to see what we can do. Here, leaves were being passed along down the rope to someone at the bottom.

Sometimes we use tools like buckets, carabiners and rope with our natural materials to see what we can do. Here, leaves were being passed along down the rope to someone at the bottom.

 

Fishing is as simple as sticks, water and leaves.

Fishing is as simple as sticks, water and leaves.

 

The discovery of water in our creek was very exciting! Here Kieran has spotted it before we reach our site

The discovery of water in our creek was very exciting! Here Kieran has spotted it before we reach our site

 

Patterns with leaves - could be by colour shape size or with other materials.

Patterns with leaves – could be by colour shape size or with other materials.

 

Brown, green, yellow, brown, green, yellow .. A three part repeating pattern recognition activity!

Brown, green, yellow, brown, green, yellow .. A three part repeating pattern recognition activity!

SENSES
Another theme we explored in the first half of October was the senses. Fueled by a visit from special guests Paul and his guide dog Kona, we explored all five of our senses in a hands-on way, giving the children insight into how they glean knowledge about the world around them. Putting sensations of touch into words was a great literacy activity, and hearing children describe what they could feel but not see was very interesting.

Paul shared with us how he and Kona the guide dog make their way day to day, and Caila, Juniper's mom, read to us from their book on Kona's life and job!

Paul shared with us how he and Kona the guide dog make their way day to day, and Caila, Juniper’s mom, read to us from their book on Kona’s life and job!

 

We were guided to Paul's hand so we could shake it, and got and up close look at the book!

We were guided to Paul’s hand so we could shake it, and got and up close look at the book!

 

To better help us understand what it means to be blind, and to encourage us to use our sense of touch we did an activity where we had to guess what was in the bag using only touch!

To better help us understand what it means to be blind, and to encourage us to use our sense of touch we did an activity where we had to guess what was in the bag using only touch!

Could it be a zucchini? It was! How did Juniper guess it!

Could it be a zucchini? It was! How did Juniper guess it!

Delilah has just shared in smelling Aloe's suggestion. The yarrow plant Aloe is holding had a lovely smell!

Delilah has just shared in smelling Aloe’s suggestion. The yarrow plant Aloe is holding had a lovely smell!

CONSTRUCTION AND TEAM WORK
There were many projects undertaken in October! We made two forts with sticks and leaves, one in the Maple Grove and another near the fish hatchery, we constructed ‘ziplines’ to pass materials back and forth on, we made fires and puddles and waterfalls using water and more! There’s been increased communication and team work amongst the Roots, and I look forward to seeing what they can accomplish together as the year goes on and we understand what were working with even better!

This fort had a roof by the end of this day. As the days went on, we built it even bigger! There first day we played here, the kids wanted to make sure everyone fit inside, and in this picture they are calling James to come join them.

This fort had a roof by the end of this day. As the days went on, we built it even bigger! There first day we played here, the kids wanted to make sure everyone fit inside, and in this picture they are calling James to come join them.

 

Sometimes team work means saying 'red light, yellow light, green light' or just 'go'!

Sometimes team work means saying ‘red light, yellow light, green light’ or just ‘go’!

 

In this picture Kieran is helping Dawson's bucket slide more easily down the rope by increasing the steepness of the angle.

In this picture Kieran is helping Dawson’s bucket slide more easily down the rope by increasing the steepness of the angle.

 

Dawson checked in with James - James slipped down the slope, for fun, and was okay!

Dawson checked in with James – James slipped down the slope, for fun, and was okay!

To cross the creek safely we needed to make space between each and move slowly. This photo perfectly shows how adept we are getting at controlling our bodies!

To cross the creek safely we needed to make space between each and move slowly. This photo perfectly shows how adept we are getting at controlling our bodies!

Trying a few times to make the stick fit, stay and be safe when building this shelter was a new challenge. Juniper is questioning her initial spot, and reconsidering the integrity of the fort itself!

Trying a few times to make the stick fit, stay and be safe when building this shelter was a new challenge. Juniper is questioning her initial spot, and reconsidering the integrity of the fort itself!

 

Playing hide and seek amidst the trees, listening carefully each other's words and hiding together or individually!

Playing hide and seek amidst the trees, listening carefully each other’s words and hiding together or individually!

Everyone is working so hard!

Everyone is working hard to get the wagon up this hill!

 

Fitting in 'the hole', working on being careful for each other as they slid down the side and in!

Fitting in ‘the hole’, working on being careful for each other as they slid down the side and in!

Here’s a great example of teamwork, fun and construction demonstrated in this video of Torin and Theo sliding a bucket of mail to each other:

 

FIELD TRIP TO THE PUNTLEDGE RIVER FISH HATCHERY
Thanks to the wonderful folks at the fish hatchery in Courtenay, we did a self guided tour and learned about how the fish hatchery helps assist the salmon life cycle and ensure there are plenty of fry and found salmon come spring time. We got to get up close and personal with some of the jobs at the hatchery too – looks like a fun job working with all those fish! But stinky!

Using water colours to fill in our sockeye salmon picture.

Using water colours to fill in our sockeye salmon picture.

We led up to our field trip with some some salmon painting.

We led up to our field trip with some some salmon painting.

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Sharing excitement and observations of the salmon

Sharing excitement and observations of the salmon

 

In this bucket are the eggs from three females - the variance in colour was surprising

In this bucket are the eggs from three females – the variance in colour was surprising

 

What else eats salmon... ROAR!

What else eats salmon… ROAR!

 

Holding a large male coho for us to see.

Holding a large male coho for us to see.

 

Watching eggs being removed from a female salmon

Watching eggs being removed from a female salmon

BIRTHDAYS AND HALLOWEEN!
We had a few special events this month, 3 birthdays and Halloween! We acknowledge each other’s passage of time and trips around the sun on birthdays. We had fun celebrating on the last day of October with face painting and witch’s brew. We hope you all had a great night of trick-or-treating!

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Kieran turning four, he’s sharing with Dawson a photo of himself as he was growing up.

 

Delilah celebrated her birthday with us on our field trip day!

Delilah celebrated her birthday with us on our field trip day!

James is blowing out the sun as we sing him happy birthday on our last day in October!

James is blowing out the sun as we sing him happy birthday on our last day in October!

Alix showing the class how to make crayon resist spiderwebs - colour with white and it shows up like invisible ink!

Alix showing the class how to make crayon resist spiderwebs – colour with white and it shows up like invisible ink!

Making spider webs and other designs using dark dark black paint.

Making spider webs and other designs using dark dark black paint.

A bear cub joined us in the forest!

A bear cub joined us in the forest!

 

Based on the magic potion in 'Room on the Broom we concocted our own potion in a cauldron. Here is everyone throwing in their bones!

Based on the magic potion in ‘Room on the Broom we concocted our own potion in a cauldron. Here is everyone throwing in their bones!

A cheetah watches as a witch stirs the cauldron!

A cheetah watches as a witch stirs the cauldron!

We hope that some of these stories made it to your house via your child as well! We love to hear what your child is telling you at home, so feel free to share! Please, never hesitate to contact us (individually or jointly) with questions, concerns or comments you may have – we love open communication!

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