Thursday, June 3, 2010

Mother Nature Provocations

By Sara Rocio Raeesi-Gujani


Wow! Where the time has gone? How much have we done since the last blog entry?
We have certainly been busy laughing, singing, playing, exploring, walking and talking in the woods, investigating and discussing weather changes, and questioning why we have summer in spring. We definitely have been enjoying the hot weather and are well prepared for it with hats, sun block, bug-spray, net jackets, and mosquitoes-nets.
We are definitely ready for an insect safari!

June’s Pedagogical theme: ALL ABOUT INSECTS

The children have started to investigate bugs and mosquitoes. They have been very interested in looking at them through the magnifying glass, counting how many legs they have, and inquiring about how fast or slowly they move and why? What kind of food they eat? Where do they live? And how do they grow? We will attempt to answer these questions in our June explorations.
We will investigate the fabulous life and world of insects. We will study early insects and fossils, insects babies (all shapes and sizes), the grasshopper family, the dragonflies, the walking sticks, the flies, the beetles, the true bugs, the “social insects” (ants, bees and wasps, and the termites), moths and butterflies, and many others. We will expand the concept of metamorphosis, and will discuss the relationship among insects and plants and insects and humans. We will be using Mother Nature’s gifts such leaves, sticks, and rocks to recreate dragonflies, butterflies, and ladybugs. We will be catching some insects and will recreate insect scavenger hunts, and insect parades. We will “boogie-woogie” with bugs and puzzles, arts, crafts, reading aloud, rhyming, and will have some riddle fun.
Please join the children and me for a successful insect safari! Parents are welcome to share talents, resources, and ideas. Please discuss and expand the fabulous life of insects with the children. Good luck!

May’s Pedagogical theme: THE ENCHANTED FOREST

Wow! Everything is growing and changing. Spring has sprung and May is in full bloom!
The children have been inquiring about Mother Nature’s transformations. Why do the apple trees have flowers instead of apples? How it is possible that some flowers will become fruits? How do caterpillars become butterflies? Where are the forest baby animals? Why do the baby frogs have tails? Are moths butterflies? This month we will investigate the Forest Preschool magical transformations.
We will explore the following changes: from babyhood to adulthood, from seed to plant, from flower to fruit, from caterpillar to butterfly, and from tadpole to frog. We are deconstructing the meaning of growing, changing, and transformation with games such a new version of “camouflage!!”, “hide and seek”, “I was a ... and now I am...”, and “mother nature calls” where all of us will transform magically into a tree, the fire, the wind, a red squirrel, a flower, rocket ships, fire engines, ferries, and even cocoons, and magic frogs.
The children will be introduced to the concept of metamorphosis. We will investigate and act out how caterpillars build their cocoons and become butterflies and how tadpoles lose their tails. We will search for butterflies and their habitats and attempt to observe tadpoles and to catch some frogs. There will be plenty of activities such art, creative movement, finger games, reading aloud, flower identification, and much more magic and wonder in the enchanted forest.
Please join me and the children for a wonderful spring bloom to honour Mother Nature’s gifts. Parents are welcome to share talents, resources, and ideas. I am inviting you to discuss and expand these themes at home with your offspring. Happy spring!! I will see you soon in the woods.

April’s Pedagogical theme: SPRING IS IN THE AIR

Wow! Where the time has gone? To share with you: Scientists have confirmed that 2010 had only eleven months, three hundred and thirty five days, less minutes and seconds so our calendar will jump from March to June. Great!! Oh! Well, the end of the Mayan calendar is approaching and I guess we are time-less! Hurrah! Are you ready for the big bang? Yes, I am listening for it, too. I hope you had a happy April fool’s day!!!
The forest was full of jokes, wonder, and laughter on April the first. We joked about anything possible you can imagine. While taking a joke break, seriously, we were reviewing the days of the week, the months of the year and talking about the weather and seasons.
The children were chanting: “There are four seasons a year! There are four seasons a year; Winter, Summer, Fall, and Winter”.
I did ask: “What about spring? Where is spring?”
ET said, “In the air!”
All chanted: “Spring is in the air! Spring is in the air!!” [All of us burst out in laughter again]
Seriously, the children concluded Spring is only in the air because it is very cold, the snow has melted, nothing has grown yet, the birds are singing, the woodpecker is building, and geese are migrating, making a V in the air.
March explorations evolved from spring weather provocations. By looking high up in the sky we discovered various types of clouds: fluffy (cumulus) can be found in any part of the atmosphere, dark (cumulonimbus) will bring thunderstorms, blankets (stratus) are flat and really look like blankets, and wispy (cirrus) are thin and very high.
We explored and searched habitats underneath logs, fallen trees, rocks, and underground. We found a variety of insects, spiders, and scaly creatures with more legs that we can count, and celebrated Earth Day with the game: Can you spy garbage in the forest?
April was full of fun activities: bird sounds and wood pecker mapping, building nests, floating boats and fixing the old rocket ship by the creek, spring bug safari, chalk and coal art, rock climbing, and wild flower and tree identification. We tasted maple sap, practiced our fire building and stick carving skills, we sang, laughed, told stories, shared what the Easter bunny brought to us, roasted apples, pears, and marshmallows, and snuggled together as the fire warmed us from the cold April weather. We planted seeds and the children were introduced to the concept of photosynthesis and the elements necessary for plant grow: seeds, soil, water, and sun. Happy planting and growing!