Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Shake those fall leaves!

Tiny Treks Outdoor Preschool Class enjoyed sitting on a carpet of red maple leaves for circle time today. We sang the "5 Little Pumpkins" song with the fun of counting real baby pumpkins and jumped up and down with our pumpkin shakers to sing "Shake your sillies out". The shakers made lots of noise and made the kids laugh and giggle!
On our trip into the woods today the sun was shining through the turning leaves on the deciduous trees that abound at Keep It Simple Farm.  With the leaves hanging tenuously onto the branches-it only took a quick shake to make them float to the forest floor.  We ran from tree to tree shaking and getting the trees to give up their last leaves.  We learned if a tree has a green trunk it is probably a young tree-and shakable.  A tree without green on the trunk is probably too big to move-even though we all tried really hard!

Thank you to farmer Leon for making a big pile of leaves for us to jump into! We also held the new baby chicks in the office and petted the kittens! What a big day!

PS We have space for 2 children 3-5 years of age for Tiny Treks Outdoor Preschool right now.
Also-registration for winter will begin November 15th for January/February/March 2014.  Please tell your friends about the class!  We hope to offer Monday - Wednesday - Friday in 2014 as well!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Black garden slugs and banana slugs and leopard slugs oh my!

Banana slug with tentacles and a foot!
Teacher Roo took over our outdoor preschool class today because I, Teacher Ann, was home with the flu.   We are thankful to have Teacher Nicki as a back up today.  Teacher Nicki comes to us with a wealth of knowledge inside and outside of the classroom.  As a trained zoologist she has outdoor experience and as an elementary school teacher in England she has classroom experience. I hope to be back in tip-top shape next week!

Today we learned more about slugs.  Slugs have skirts!  Did you know that?  And a foot! and optic tentacles!  There is lots to learn about slugs.  Of course as chance would have it-we couldn't find any slugs on our hike.  We found some very little ones hiding under some leaves but the big black garden slugs  or local  banana slugs or leopard slugs were not to be seen.
Silly Slug book.
.Next week we'll be talking about farms and farm animals.  It will be fun to learn more about what they do at Keep It Simple Farm.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Friendships in Nature

Forging new friendships on the trail.
 This week at Keep It Simple Farm, Tiny Treks was exploring and learning more about the great outdoors. Every child was given their own spray bottle full of water and off we went in search of spider webs to highlight with water.  The kids were able to spot webs quickly after last week's search.  The kids are beginning to forge new friendships and to feel comfortable playing with each other.

It must be autumn-look at those leaves!
We hunted in the woods for spiders but since it was so wet, pretty soon we were finding slugs instead.  We'll learn more about slugs next week-but we were able to investigate how they move.  We even had a slug book to have fun reading!
Tiny Treks strives to teach according to what is happening in the natural world at any time.  When we looked closely at the super tall sunflowers one of the children noticed that the yellow petals were all gone.  Then we observed the smaller sunflowers-one of which had a bumblebee attached to it.  A dead bumblebee in fact.  I wonder if it will still be there next week?

We didn't forget to have fun playing in the hay stacks.  What a cool hideout?  I heard some magical stories playing out inside-while others just enjoyed coming out the back "window!"
What fun in the haystacks!
Rainy Day Slug is a fun book to read.
Who is that on the sunflower?

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Itsy Bitsy and Big Enormous Spiders!

Spraying a sheet web to make it stand out with water.
In the northwest the fall is full of spiders.  There are spider webs across walkways and under plants.  We learned about spiders today at Tiny Treks Outdoor Preschool.  We learned that spiders have 8 legs and two parts to their bodies-the abdomen and cephalathorax.  We sang "Itsy Bitsy Spider" and other funny versions like the "Eentsy Weentsy Spider" (make a tiny spider with the tips of your fingers and a very small, high voice) and the "Big Enormous Spider" (make big motions with your arms and claws for huge spiders with a very loud, low voice.)  Everyone was laughing at our funny songs.
Making new friends on our hike.
After spending some time with the chickens and rabbits at the farm we headed into the forest with sprayers in tow.  We had sprayers to spray water on the spider webs we found.  Putting water on the webs helps to make them easier to see.  Now-you might think this was a lesson on spiders.  Or webs. Or even a lesson on hiking and how to be safe in the woods.  Well, it was all of those but mostly it was a lesson in sharing.
Just having fun spraying!
As  a teacher, I know that preschoolers can have a hard time sharing.  Especially if the preschooler is still in their threes.  So I brought 5 sprayers thinking that there would be enough for every other child.  But 2 of the sprayers I bought were missing the straw part of the sprayer so they weren't going to work.  Quickly this became a lesson in sharing that was a bit more challenging. So I set up a system where after a child had a chance to spray a web I would loudly say "share" and then the sprayer had to go to the next student.  This was a very difficult lesson for some of the kids.  Other children were happy to share and pass along the sprayer. Clearly we will all be working on sharing every week!

We saw some impressive orb webs on our walk and got to watch some big spiders. We also found some sheet webs.  We'll keep looking for spiders and their webs this fall-until it gets too cold for spiders!

See you next Wednesday!

There was even a big web on the hay bales!

Lucky Tiny Treks to have a sunny lunch time!

Friday, September 13, 2013

Tiny Treks Outdoor Preschool Class!

 The first day of Tiny Treks Outdoor Preschool Class was a success!  We had 9 students - ages 3-5 years old.  The kids spontaneously played "bus" on this long log for the longest time.  We sang "Wheels of the bus" while they were on their too!
 During snack time in the woods we read a book all about ducks and ducklings.  Our first theme for the class.  There are 6 Indian Runner Ducks at Keep it Simple that will be fun to observe.
 This cool photo is through the retired aquarium that Keep it Simple has back in the forest.  It used to house stream animals-but hasn't worked for decades.  They hope to turn it into an art piece.  We'll keep an eye on it for you.  Meanwhile-the kids looked through the glass and Teacher Roo took a very interesting photo!
We are looking forward to more excursions and adventures next week.  Please make sure to send enough water for your child in their lunch.  We will supply water for snack.  If it continues to be warm next week-again-just closed toed shoes and long pants please.  Probably short sleeves for shirts so we don't overheat!  (I've never said that before!!)

Please let your friends know about this class.  We will take up to 14 children.  We currently have 4 spaces left.