What a wild week it has been at the Nature Preschool at Irvine. The students set out looking for signs of spring! Some days this week were easier than others! Wednesday we were taking jackets off we were so warm, but by Friday the snow came back for one last hurrah… we hope! What changes happen outdoors to show us spring is on its way? Outside all our senses were at work while we searched for clues! On the trails we stopped to investigate buds that we saw popping up on branches all around us! Other times we stopped to take a listen to the woods, which seemed to be coming back to life. We heard woodpeckers, chickadees, red-winged blackbirds, and more! One class took a hike to the murky wetlands to release a yellow spotted salamander! The children were excited to hear spring peepers, small chorus frogs, that have come out of hibernation! Another class found two different types of caterpillars while exploring in the meadow, a woolly bear caterpillar and a giant leopard moth caterpillar!
We explored the different types of songs and calls that birds make during spring! While listening the children made remarkable comparisons! “That one kind of sounds like an ambulance.” “I hear a whistle!” “That one is more like a beep sound.” To extend the learning we played a game where each child was given an egg shaker filled with various materials. They took turns shaking, while listening carefully to the different sounds, to find their “mate” with the same call! What fun! On the trails many of the classes worked together moving big logs and long branches to make a giant birds nest! In the meadow we took tennis ball “eggs” and built nests for them from meadow grasses and twigs and the children sat on them just like a good mama and/or papa bird!
The returning snow on Friday covered the forest in a majestic blanket of white. The children enjoyed gently shaking bushes and trees branches and laughed as the snow plopped on their heads! It was perfect snowball packing snow! The Woodpeckers made giant snow bugs! The Hawks rolled enormous snowballs down the meadow until they were bigger than their teachers! We appreciated the fun that came with our last big snow, but we are still looking ahead to spring! Sunshine, warm breezes and a green forest are within reach!