Archives for posts with tag: exploring with chidlren

Yesterday was a  beautiful fall day.  I was able to hold the class outside.  It felt so wonderful to sit on our squares and talk about fall and what happened to the trees surrounding us.  I asked, “what did the trees look like before they were empty” The preschoolers responses were varied and most of them said there were leaves on the trees.  Most of them said they were colored leaves.  It was hard for them to remember all the way back to the time when the leaves were green.  But finally we got there!  Something so simple that most take for granted.   It truly is an amazing cycle.

It’s great to just sit on the ground an talk about what is all around you. We could hear and see the geese flying, we could hear the pheasants squawking, and of course Owen heard the trains, “double deckers!”  Perhaps one thing a parent can share with their child is just sitting outside and listening.  It doesn’t take up that much time.  Especially now that fall is ending and the leaves are gone… there are so many different sounds available to our ears.  The need for our children to be able to  play outside is gaining more and more importance as we are seeing studies saying the there is a connection between lack of outdoor play in kids and learning issues.   Anyway, I digress to make that statement which is always on my mind.  Preachy Miss, Mrs., Mrs Aunt Sue !!!

Our class went on a leaf hunt and selected some oak leaves (no shortage of those) Each child brought their leaf back to the rock table to make a silhouette painting.  It was challenging but with the help of parents and grandparents they were able to pull it off and boy were they proud! So simple and so fun!

Here are a few pics:

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Then we went for a great hike to the magical evergreen tree!  I love this place.  We also discovered a lot too.  Saw some more pheasants, so beautiful!

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It was a fabulous day!!!

Get em outside!!!

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Well it happens every year.  The sun sets early and our hiking time is cut short…. wait!  No it’s not…. the woods are still out there it’s just ….. well…. DARK!!

There is something that gets me so excited about walking in the woods as the sun sets and the dusk envelopes us.  My Natural Patterns class grade 1-3 set got to go on our first dark hike.

Of course there were some that didn’t realize that by the time we got back it would be dark… but I had some trusty flashlights to guide us!  (Thanks Mae for bringing yours) With the help of Ryan, the best ever 9th grade helper, we set out.

The colors of the fall leaves seem to vibrate as the sun is setting and while it was still a little light Owen decided that he was going to run ahead.  Well that stopped once darkness set in.

It was so fun and a great way to bond with the kids.  I reassured them that I would always be with them and that if they felt scared they could come walk right next to me.  I loved our conversations as we stroll along.

When we got back to the barn in the dark we talked about the leaves we collected but more about how it felt to be in the woods.

The kids told me that at times they were scared. Some were afraid they were going to be taken or that something would “eat ” us.  We talked about darkness, fear of it, bad dreams  and how our imagination can do a lot of things to us.

My hope is that they will feel a little less scared the next time we go out!

The next night I took  my Inspirations class of 4th to 6th graders into the darkness.  I put  two of my most trusted students in the back with two flashlights.  It was their job to make sure that no one got behind them.  They were awesome.  Thanks Aidan and Vincent!   It is an opportunity for all of the kids to be responsible and know that they had to listen for safety’s sake!

They did and thank goodness we didn’t loose anyone… ha ha   🙂   BUT we did get to hear a great horned owl calling out.  At first I don’t think they believed it was really an owl but after standing there we heard it again….  whoo who  whoooo      Awesome!!!!!!

Love my night hikers!!

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Moon!!!

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Night Hikers!

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Well we might not have the anything close to the Himalayas here on Long Island but somehow kids always find something to climb.

Part of my Inspirations class of 4th -6th graders is to show them how inspired people choose different life paths than the norm.   There is more than just going to the mall, watching tv, video games, or social media out there and that a person can make a difference.

Today’s topic was about climbing Mount Everest.  An amazing feat that must be respected.  From all my readings about this amazing place, I have developed the utmost respect for the men, women or children who choses to put themselves basically through hell to get to the top of the earth.  It is inspiring and daunting.  I know that personally I do not have a climb of that magnitude within me, but I can live vicariously through all the stories of the people who have summited or attempted to summit this monster of a mountain.

Basically all of the kids knew what the tallest mountain in the world was, less knew where it was and even fewer knew how tall it is.  But that is okay because the information is out there if they are interested.  I chose to show them a video on You-Tube , “Mount Everest, The Whole Journey”  While Rob does not summit and plans to go just above base camp 3 he certainly gives the kids a great impression of what climbing Everest is like.   I think they were amazed and surprised by what he had to go through.  It’s worth a watch.

Here is the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2_ybcAWTLeE

For our hike I let the kids decide where we would go.  Teaching them that they MUST stop at every intersection and wait for the whole group.  Safety first.  Some kids are fast and have to get there first, others are strollers who like to look around and chat.  I must say the strollers do find the coolest stuff… like Grace who likes to find mushrooms and Finn who was able to find the bright red berries of the  jack in the pulpit flower.  It opens so many pathways for thought… are these things edible? do the animals eat them?  There is also the time to take a look under the logs for insects.  Although they were sparse this time Kenzie managed to find a millipede.

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Good stuff.  These kids love, love, love being in the woods… that means sooooo much.

Get those kids outside!!!!

ps:  I recommended the series of books by Gordon Korman:  Everest Series #1  “The Contest”   Everest Series #2 “The Climb” & Everest Series #3 “The Summit”    good read for kids!!!

 

IMG_1445This beautiful photo was taken by Amelie, one of the hikers in the group!

On our hike to today we had a contest to see who could collect the most nuts.  I called them my nutty bunch!  They have a great deal of energy and it is always a challenge to get them to notice the things around them.  I love that they get to run, but exploring can be part of the adventure too!   After our hike the kids returned to the barn with their stash of nuts to see who was the winner.  Of course we all knew that Matt would be the winner because his pockets were practically hanging down to his knees.  But then something happened…. some of the kids decided to add to Matt’s pile….  so I think then they all decided they were  winners!!  Matt was okay with that and which made me sigh with relief!

Wiggly worm find!

Wiggly worm find!

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Love my nutty bunch…. it was a fun day!!!  xoxox

Week one of camp is complete.  Although we were in the midst of one of summer’s famous heat-waves we made the very best of our adventures.  All of our Kindergarten through Grade three campers came to camp ready to hike and explore.  Image

And explore we did!  First two days were spent collecting bugs.  I was so impressed with all of the campers…. I did not hear one eeeewwww or scream as we found and captured milkweed bugs, caterpillars, long horned beetles, worms, honey bees, and more!!

We spent our first day out in the wildflower fields and the second in the woods.  Marguerite, of the instructors helped the campers understand that bugs are both good and bad.  We had some interesting conversations with these young minds.  

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Hornets nest (abandoned of course!!)

The next two days we spent at the pond.  I loved how all of the campers were so engaged in pond dipping and skimming with nets.  We were lucky enough to have three teenage helpers, Wendy, Julia and Luke, each of whom helped the campers dig deep into the pond and see all the creatures up close that they may have only seen in books.  Frogs, pond skaters, dragon flies, dragon fly nymph, tapeless, turtles, duckweed and more!  I was proud of how adventurous they all were!!!

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Duckweed.  Floating roots.  Penelope said they looked like mini lily pads.

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ImageWhat else is in there??  Ah my little limnologists!

My hope is that each of the campers will return to Avalon with their families and talk about what they saw and also discover that there is still more to be found.  

I was so proud of all of them!

Keep exploring 

Miss Sue

 

“This is the life!” Max yelled as he ran down the trail with the other kids….   I can only smile and feel my heart warm to hear a child experience the joy of being in the great

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outdoors.   It was a simply beautiful day for our first class of Natural Patterns.  An opportunity for K-3rd graders to discover patterns that are always around us.  On this day we talked about trees and the patterns they make against the sky.  There is a wonderful book Sky Tree by Thomas Locker, which shows the same tree throughout the year and the surrounding sky.  The illustrations are so peaceful and done with such loving care.

 Our hike was full of laughter and running and stopping to spin below the trees, which frankly made me dizzy as ever!!!  The kids seemed to have no problem .

It is always so thrilling to see how excited the kids get before our hike.  You would think I was offering them candy!  Nope, no candy just time to be free and learn about respecting our time with Mother Nature.  Yes it is  “the life”.Image

One final word… Juliana said to me, “sometimes when I get up in the morning and I look out the window I see the sky looks pink and purple.”  Way to go Juliana!!!  Keep those eyes open.

When was the last time you saw a beautiful purple morning sky?  I saw one today and thought of Juliana.

Here are some pictures of their inspired tree art!  Until next week…… happy trails!

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