Early Childhood Programs Blog

Far off Places!- Forest Dreamers Monday/Wednesday

May 5, 2019 -

Duck Pond or Tent?!?

As we approach May, our Forest Dreamers have a good knowledge of Irvine’s property and map reading! The weather was cool and overcast so we presented two choices to the children and allowed them to cast THEIR vote! Today, we offered the duck pond and the tent. Each child grabbed some sticks and made their choice. The TENT is was.

We set off down the meadow, past the barn, and over a stream. The children enjoyed checking out scat, the bird houses, and they even discovered a praying mantis egg sack. We are constantly on the lookout for caterpillars since the butterflies are starting to show up at Irvine! Today, we found a black caterpillar with brown stripes. We think is is a giant leopard moth!

Imagine our surprise when we arrived at the tent and it was destroyed! Everyone was so disappointed by this discovery. We were able to huddle in a section and read a story. This reminded me of when my kids built tents in the basement.

Great Find!

Since we were feeling a little discouraged, we decided to walk back a new way and check out a different section of the stream.  This section rarely gets explored because the trails were rerouted and because most people don’t make it back this far. We quickly discovered a bridge that challenged everyone’s balance as they scooted across. One Forest Dreamer decided she wanted to “fish” off the bridge. She grabbed her pole and threw it in! Others choose to splash around and cool off! I think we will definitely be coming back!

Hawk Meadow and “Marshy Mansion”

Taking advantage of another overcast day, we set off for the opposite corner of Irvine. As we climbed the rocky road, we were overwhelmed by the floral scent. Looking around, we noticed invasive plants: honeysuckle and autumn olive. The children were excited when we reminded them that these were the same autumn olives that they had enjoyed the berries from in the fall. We had a quick lesson about pollination and fruit!

We made it to the boardwalk crossing into the Bauer property when everyone decided it was time for a snack.  The children picked up nearby maple seeds and released the “helicopters” to the wetlands below. Amazed by the changes in the wetlands, we spent time some time enjoying the surrounding forest.  We spent some time looking for poison ivy. We identify this plant each class with hopes that they will begin to recognize it on their own!

As we traversed the back meadows, we instantly noticed that the grasses has not been cut! This led to MANY dog ticks on the children. As we followed the trail between two willow vernal ponds, we were excited to find tadpoles! Lots and lots of tadpoles! In fact, we were able to gently pick them up. One of my favorites parts about being outside with kids is listening to their laughs and giggles…we heard lots these today.