Early Childhood Programs Blog

Forest Explorers Week 2

October 29, 2016 - Earth Friends

For our second week we started off by having a check in circle and then told a collaborative story. Each person gets to go around and say one sentence to further the plot. As you can probably imagine, it gets convoluted and silly pretty quickly. It’s a great way to help each child put their voice in the circle and also pay attention to what has already been said. I like to use a talking piece which can be as simple as a stick or a rock, and tell the children if they are holding it they have the power to speak, and when they are not they have the equally important power to listen!

Afterwards, we headed to the outdoor classroom to the play the game camouflage! Camouflage is similar to hide and go seek except that the seeker is stationary and the hiders have to be able to see the seeker at least some of the time. It’s a really fun game because kids naturally love to hide and it helps them pay attention, be patient, and get to know the place they are hiding. I like to play it in 4 rounds where during the first three they have to try and get closer to the seeker so that on the 4th round the can tag the seeker within 5 seconds!

We then got to inspect each others hiding spots and share tips on what makes someone well hidden before heading to the new property! On the way there we met the plant Perilla (Perilla frutescens) which is edible, smells amazing, and supposedly wards of ticks if you rub it on your body! We also nibbled on some wood sorrel and even found a dead Common buckeye butterfly (Junonia coenia).

Eventually we made it to the Autumn olive patch! Autumn olive (Elaeagnus umbellata) is another asian invasive plant that is well established on the east coast. Luckily for us and other animals, it has very tasty berries that have a long harvesting window. The berries are red when ripe with little silver dots and look like jewels. They are fairly easy to identify by looking at the beautiful silver colored undersides of the leaves. As well, when they are dripping with berries they are pretty hard to miss! While gorging ourselves on berries, a few of the children did some awesome journaling and one made a map with the help of Ms. Beth!

We then headed back to try and make a fire before the day ended! We talked about how all fires need heat, oxgen, and fuel, and how to gather the right sized materials to help the flames catch. Unfortunately, we didn’t have enough time to actually make a successful fire, but we did get some smoke! In the coming weeks we will have to practice again!

Next week, Ms. Paula who works with the Forest Preschool will start working and playing with us too!

See you then!