More November News

Starting the 2021 Blog!

Hello and welcome to the 2021 kindergarten class. A few pictures from this week:

Summer is Here

What a year! In many ways, the woods was what kept us all sane during this pandemic. It was where we could play the most freely, be the most comfortable with mask breaks, and of course discover all of the surprises that each new season brings. Without the woods, it would have been much harder for all of the kids to connect with each other the way that they did. We have an incredibly tight kindergarten community, which makes it hard to say goodbye. This year will be one that none of us will ever forget!

Slide to see how our class picture taking went… Eventually everyone looked at the camera! Here’s to a fabulous year together! (Not pictured: Aubrey)

Please take your families and friends to our outdoor classroom this summer and enjoy it together. You can tell your kids that they can add to the forts or build new ones, but please do not take any down. We can all be stewards: if you see anything concerning or a mess, take care of it the best you can. Let me know if there is anything big. (And invasive plant experts, if you see honeysuckle or rosa multiflora, which I know is out there, feel free to get rid of it any way you would like! You know who you are!)

Have a great summer everyone!

Maybe we Just Love May

We have been having so much fun in the woods this May, almost too much fun to take pictures! We have had rain, hot sun, blustery wind, and everything in between. One day we took a long hike on the Red Rose Preserve Trails. We have continued studying trees and small plants as everything turns green. On the rainy day, we looked under logs for salamanders and found about five– and even Mrs. Johnson held one! And our writing is getting easier and easier to read. Check it out!

Happy Cooks in the Kitchen!

We had an amazing Woods Wednesday today– with a “squeaky bird” that we all heard at Sit Spots (aka, a woodpecker!); a very involved tree study with botanists measuring, inspecting, and collecting; and another delicious picnic lunch. But I’ll highlight our new play kitchen which we took full advantage of today! We absolutely loved it. An especial hit were chocolate chip cookies (also known as pine cones). Everyone tried them and everyone loved them.

Thank you families who donated old and used kitchen supplies! We got a lot and we are all set.

And a HUGE thank you to Corban’s dad, Andy, for building our beautiful kitchen. And to his mom, Beth, for helping haul it out to the woods. And to Cameron’s mom, Caitlin, for the stainless steel sinks from the Restore. We appreciate your hard work so much!!

Forest Journals

This week, we moved to Woods Wednesdays which fits better with our new spring schedule. This means that we now have time for a favorite forest routine– Forest Journals! This year’s forest kids have never done them before, but they are well-seasoned writers who took to the idea quickly.

Spring Chickens

When I say, “Off you go!” to the kindergarteners and they rush off down the hill into the ravine, I can’t help but think of my flock of chickens who rush out the door of their coop when I let them out in the morning. And then both, within 30 seconds, are deeply immersed in play and work of their own choosing. It’s especially true in the early spring, when every kind of tool and toy has been unlocked from the forest floor. Leaves, sticks, mud, rocks– all these “loose parts” immediately begin to move from place to place as kids begin to play.

For example, today: Aubrey was checking out the huge piles of pine cone scraps left after squirrels eat (aka “squirrel snacks”); Rowan found a six foot long, straight pole; Sadie and Corban high-tailed it for the big log and began weaving their way up the streambed, exploring; Caleb and Elliott dove into an imaginary game (which I later found out was a combination of Minecraft, Transformers, and Star Wars); Fred and Cameron found swords; Xander went back to work on a fort; and Emilia, Peregrine, and Gabe checked on their dam and began moving rocks “to get the water even higher.” Amazing.

Muddy March

Rowan and Elliott show how we were very careful to replace all of the logs back where we found them after we looked underneath.
And Mrs. Johnson looked especially slick in her waxed leather hat. The teachers wanted to stay out as much as the kids on this wet, warm March day. We are in the groove with Forest Days and are loving them each week!

Frosty February Fun

Here are some highlights from February Forest Fridays! First, check out our super cool shades and sun hats for eating snack in the heat of the hoop house. We continue to observe the greenhouse effect there and discuss the different conditions we encounter. Last week, the sun was melting ice on the plastic and we watched water running down the walls outside!

And welcome to Our Small Ocean, or Lake Bowdoinham, as Mr. Lajoie calls it, aka the blacktop at recess. The kindergarteners had a great time exploring in the water, mining for ice chunks, smashing ice, and building with ice. Each day we eagerly study it upon arrival at school, watch how it changes throughout the day, and predict what will happen to it next. Will it freeze or stay open? Will it grow with more snow melting or will it evaporate in the sun? We love studying ice!

And in the kindergarteners’ own words: