Archives for posts with tag: trees

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:

IMG_5011 IMG_5012 IMG_5015

 

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!

IMG_5021 IMG_5023 IMG_5025

It was a fabulous day!!!

Get em outside!!!

SW

We finished our lesson on spiders and headed into the woods.  The weather was lovely and the time was right for a stroll.  Our preschool kids and parents wandered through the woods looking for spider webs.  They were lucky enough to have keen eyes and spot a few small spiders in their webs.  Teeny tiny things!  One of the moms found a daddy long legs  (which is actually not a spider) .  Clover let it crawl all over her jacket.  It seemed to really love her and did not want to let go.  The kids gathered around the parents stood back.  hahahah!  (well some of them)

It was a great hike but the best part of the whole hike was when we approached this fallen tree.  The kids were drawn to it like a magnet!  Their need to climb was almost instinctual.  So amazing.  With their parents help they climbed, crawled and sat upon the tree.  I just had to stand back and watch the parents do what was needed for their kids.  I was very proud of them.  Of the parents that is!!!  They were not imposing their adult scare tactics, which we as parents are so good at….. “be careful, that’s too high, you might get hurt!!”  I didn’t hear or feel the fear, instead what I saw was this:

 

IMG_4655 IMG_4653 IMG_4652 IMG_4650

IMG_4659

Pure fun!!!  It was hard to tear them away from the tree but we had to head back!!!!  I loved spending this valuable time in the woods with these families.  I truly feel like I have the best job in the world.  Keep up the good work parents and climb away!!!  It ‘s great for you and your kids!

Peace,

Sue

Hi all!  Another great day with the Natural Patterns group of  1st – 3rd graders.  We talked about Earth Manners.  What is that you say?  Well the kids generated the following list after I read the story,  “Just a Dream” by Chris Van Allsburg.  About a boy who does not really care about the environment,  throws trash on the ground, doesn’t recycle and is just plain self involved.  It was a long story but this gang of kids were mesmerized by the boy’s adventure into dreamland…  not such a great dream of the future.  It’s worth a read and discussion.

So here is there list, written with the help of Emma:

IMG_4493

 

I have to say I was very impressed.  Prior to the reading of the book each child prepared a leaf cutout by coloring their own design on it.   They attached strings to the leaves which will be tied to the  sticks they  collected . (Stay tuned for finished project in two weeks)

Today our hike was centered on finding one stick each for their earth manners piece.  Let’s just say it wasn’t easy to choose just one!!  We chatted about staying on the trail until we got to a great stick place where there was no poison ivy around.  The selection began.  It was fun to watch them wandering about trying to find a stick that was just right for their own project.  When it was time to head back I noticed that Emma and Rylie chose to take along a second large stick… actually it was a branch!!!  It was so funny watching them lug this with the intention of using it as our “class branch” (have to give Indigo the credit for naming it!) I love  when the kids bond together and make something for the “class.”  It means they are thinking of the group as a whole and are motivated to do something for their group.

It all comes from within them ~

 

Here they are with the “class stick”

IMG_4486

 

Next class we will put the project all together, by painting the sticks from which we will  hang our leaves and manners.

I smile when I think of them.. eager kids just wanting to have fun.  It should be this way for all kids, at least for some of their day.. 🙂

Get them outside….  please

Peace

Slackline is a practice in balance that typically uses nylon or polyester webbing tensioned between two anchor points. Many people suggest slacklining is distinct from tightrope walking in that the line is not held rigidly taut (although it is still under some tension); it is instead dynamic, stretching and bouncing like a long and narrow trampoline. The line’s tension can be adjusted to suit the user and different types of webbing can be used to achieve a variety of feats. The line itself is usually flat, due to the nature of webbing, thus keeping one’s footing from rolling as would be the case with an ordinary rope. The dynamic nature of the line allows for tricks and stunts. Slacklining has quickly become popular due to its simplicity and versatility and its ability to be practiced in a variety of environments. Those who participate in slacklining are often called “slackers”.article-0-1838F8D600000578-574_964x494

Yes, this summer we have all become beginner slack liners.  Every time the kids see it they ask, “What is that?”  I say slack line…  they say, “tightrope?”  nope it’s not a tight rope…

It is addicting and not one kid has rejected the idea of trying it. All you need is two trees and a slack line kit (I bought ours through Amazon – Gibbon Fun Line)

It is not easy by any means but I feel for kids it is a great opportunity to take risks and develop a trust in themselves. (Adults too!)  A priceless opportunity.  I am trying to get past 4 steps without the overhead (cheat) line  🙂

Here are some of our slackers… more power to them!!!!

IMG_3531 IMG_3163 IMG_3162 IMG_3160

Look forward to more slack lining in the Fall!!!

Couldn’t help but write about something that occurred last week while I was teaching my class.  Image

I was working with my Kindergarten gang in the garden and field.  When we finished, the moms, dads and siblings hung around as they sometimes do.  Today it was extra special because Emma, who is in my older Natural Patterns class, chose to create this amazing structure from the recently cut wildflower fields.    

She was busy as a bee creating what looked like a teepee shaped shelter complete with an entrance.  

All of this came from within her!   How amazing to take the initiative and focus on creating a piece of natural art!  She was so proud and  protective of it.  I was in awe.

It reminded me of the work of Patrick Dougherty, an artist who creates amazing sculptures by bending sticks.  Sounds simple, but when you look at his work you can’t help but want to climb inside and take it all in.  I did have opportunity to see one of his pieces in California years ago along with my daughter.  There is something so primitive and earthly about them.  

Check it out!

Image

 

When it is was finally time to go she reluctantly walked away knowing that it would never look the same but she hoped that the next time she returned it would still be there. 

Being outside gives us all the opportunity to look at what is around us.  For some it inspires art, poetry or just peace.  Whatever it is take some time to BE out there and perhaps you’ll walk away with more than you came with.  I know that Emma did!

Thank you Emma for making my day! 

 

Image

 

 

Check out :  http://www.stickwork.net/featured/  for more about Patrick Dougherty   

Peace

 

Image

Today was a glorious day for taking a look at some of our trees at Avalon.  Most notably the Black Walnut and the Hickory Tree!

Both produce these interesting multilayered nuts. But most of all they are exciting to SMASH open.  That’s exactly what we did.  Each of my enthusiatic outdoor-kids were ready to take a turn breaking open these nuts.  How do those squirrels do it????

We tasted the black walnut which Shannon said had a strawberry flavor in it!!  They were yummy.   These odd looking nuts are hidden undercover on the trees inside these lime colored looking fruits.  When they are ready, they drop to the ground and proceed to rot and turn black.  Before you can get to the nutty insides you have to peel away a messy dirty layer…..  yuck…  then there is the treasure!

But first how do we get to the inside.  Well luckily Miss Sue did some research beforehand and she brought the wrench for holding the nut (also to protect her hands from getting smashed) and a hammer.   Before long they were cracked open!   Everyone was eager to try it.

We were less successful with the hickory nuts, of which are all over the place but dried out inside… what a disappointment. But lot’s of fun to collect!

IMG_1353

We continued our walk along the wildflower fields which are slowly turning brown… with seeds all ready to fall to the ground for next year’s blooms.  The milkweed plants are in their glory with all of their pods popping open to reveal the amazing layers of seeds attached to little “wish” machines which will help the seeds float away to their new homes!

IMG_1349

Amazing milkweed, amazing smile!

Happy Trails

Sue