Early Childhood Programs Blog

Forest Explorers Week 5

October 29, 2016 - Earth Friends

This week Ms. Colleen subbed for Ms. Paula and showed us lots of awesome things!

We had an opening circle and introduced ourselves to Ms. Colleen before heading to the meadow for some exploration. After some time for wandering, Ms. Colleen led us to a spot in the meadow with a dead fox!

While some people get freaked out by dead animals, they are useful for having a more intimate experience with an animal we may not get close to while living. A big part of mentoring is asking questions rather than simply giving answers. The great thing is, even as parents or community members, you can ask great questions without knowing the answers yourselves! The best questions to ask are always what you are personally passionate or curious about, or what you think will draw out the curiosity of your child. Some questions asked included: How many toes does it have? Does it have the same amount on the front and back feet? How do you think it died? How long has it been dead?

After spending some time with the fox, we played a game involving predators and prey! We set up 3 bases where the prey was safe and a large cache of balls to represent food and water. The prey had to get all of the balls back to their bases without getting tagged frozen by the predator! Everyone had a lot of fun and we played several rounds.

We then headed into the woods and checked out Poison Ivy (Toxicodendron radicans) as well as Orange Jewelweed (Impatiens capensis). Jewelweed is a great plant to learn because it can help heal and prevent Poison Ivy rash! When you hold the underside of the leaves underwater they turn shiny silver! A good way to identify it is looking for the bumps on the stems.

Once in the woods we had some freeplay/exploration time. I love watching kids play in the woods when there are no instructions. Some of the things that naturally occurred included tree climbing, tree balancing, imaginative play, building with natural materials, and checking out the red-backed salamanders (Plethodon cinereus) that Ms. Colleen helped us find! We even found both color variants, the red striped one and the darker one known as lead backed!

We had a great week and are super grateful to Ms. Colleen for showing us such cool stuff!