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:

Unlike the trees who shed their leaves as the seasons changes, the Seeds added more comfy layers. For many Seeds, this is their first preschool-like program, and I can happily report that we are forming those much needs bonds and connections to one another that make the program a safe and fun place to learn. I loved watching their personalities flourish in our natural environment! The children get to be themselves: active, imaginative, creative and communicative, within the classroom boundaries and guidelines we established together. The guidelines we worked on as a group are a foundational understanding in any early years program, but especially in ours. The less time we educators spent directing, the more time for kids to play and explore! I believe that is the core of our program. When we collected snails, worms, leaves and mosses of various sizes and shapes, the Seeds excitedly shared what they know about these organisms with each other. As they shared their interests and understanding, they built pride and confidence. As the Seeds learn from one another, I can’t help but wonder, “Who’s really the teachers here?” 😉

Themes from October:

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. 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. We spent the majority of the month in our “Maple Grove” classroom, and each day we arrived we could see the trees becoming barer and barer. 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!

Beautiful leaves inviting Seeds to explore one morning at the pavilion

Beautiful leaves inviting Seeds to explore one morning at the pavilion

 

Building nests with leaves

Building nests with leaves

 

Leaves + Playdough = great sensory activity

Leaves + Playdough = great sensory activity

 

Running through the leaves and kicking them up into the air

Running through the leaves and kicking them up into the air

 

Taking a rest in the leaves

Taking a rest in the leaves

 

Leaf cards for matching

Leaf cards for matching

 

Leaf as canvas - painting our own colours

Leaf as canvas – painting our own colours

 

Mini leaf discovery

Mini leaf discovery

 

Leaves for our house

Leaves for our house

Working together to fix the square

After a passerby unknowingly kicked this design, the children worked together to fix it

Leaf art

Leaf art

 

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 and Kona demonstrated how they work together

Paul and Kona demonstrated how they work together

Meeting Kona - a very happy dog!

Meeting Kona – a very happy dog!

Saying thank you to Paul for visiting us - the children's hands were guided into Paul's for shaking

Saying thank you to Paul for visiting us – the children’s hands were guided into Paul’s for shaking

Without even telling his partner, Torin tests being guided while not being able to see

Without even telling his partner, Torin tests being guided while not being able to see

Using only the sense of touch, the children tried to guess what kind of vegetable was in the bag.

Using only the sense of touch, the children tried to guess what kind of vegetable was in the bag.

In the second half of the month we did a lot of work around patterns, both in creating patterns as well as in noticing patterns in our classroom. Patterns are a great numeracy activity and recognizing patterns is an important skill for future math learning! The children also started to take a really close look at the things they found in our classroom, bringing discoveries to everyone’s attention and sharing with the class.

Pattern making

Rock, leaf, rock, leaf, rock, leaf…. pattern making with beautiful manipulatives

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Pinecones, rocks and leaves of all shapes, sizes and colours were displayed to invite children to make a pattern sequence

Comparing a snail to our spiral book

Torin recognized that the shell of the snail he found matched the spiral pattern of a book we had

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Although not strictly a pattern, these sticks were placed using another math concept – smallest to largest

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Muffin tins helped us with grouping leaves by similar attributes – sometimes colour, sometimes shape, sometimes size

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Taking a close look at a tiny insect on the pinecone

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Finnigan discovered these “hitchhikers” and shared the discovery with the class

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We brought the tins to the classroom so children could bring their discoveries to the tarp for all to investigate

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Small animals like this worm generate a lot of interest from peers. The social lessons learned regarding sharing, turn taking, respect for living creatures, respect for each other are a natural part of each encounter

Making friends and relaxing in the sunshine with a little red mushroom

The small red mushroom seen between the Nova and Kaya held the two girls attention for a long time. They really enjoyed relating in the sun and discussing the attributes of the mushroom

 

This month we also passed a milestone – our first field trip! We had a great morning at the Puntledge River Hatchery, and enjoyed visiting the woods nearby as well.

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We were treated to many salmon at the hatchery! The underwater viewing room allowed us to see so many fish up close – so many colours, and many different sizes.

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We discovered some salmon eggs along our self-guided tour

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A happy group!

Because of the children’s growth in their ability to get ready to “hit the trail” in the mornings, we were able to explore further from the Pavilion, bringing us to a new classroom – one with running water! The children have grown closer and are quick to offer help to each other. It won’t be long before the children don’t remember a time when they didn’t know each other!

Caring for one another sometimes looks like opening and closing the lids of our snack containers.

Caring for one another sometimes looks like opening and closing the lids of our snack containers.

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New climbing challenges in our new classroom

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This “squirrel” was cozy in his home for most of our play time. There were other squirrels that came and went, but Fin really loved being there.

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One of the best features of our new classroom is the running water!

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Many buckets of water were hauled by many people to create a waterfall

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Offering a helping hand to a friend on a steep climb

Finally, the month ended with Hallowe’en – 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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Wax resist spider webs were almost like magic – revealing a picture where there wasn’t one before because we drew with white crayons on white paper

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Face painting in the forest – this happy dog has his tongue out

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A green cat

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Mixing our items into the witches cauldron. After reading “Room on the Broom” everyone was invited to find something to add to the pot. Then the witch handed out “bones” to add to the swamp water.

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The result was a bubbling, steaming concoction. We discovered that although it appeared to be boiling, the liquid was actually cold by touching the outside of the bowl.

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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