Friday, September 25, 2015

Day 4

Newton School Forest Kindergarten - September 23, 2015

This week the kindergarteners learned about deer and used their “deer ears” to explore sounds. They heard a book about a mother deer and a fawn and shared what they knew about deer. They matched objects by the noises they made and heard far away by making their ears into deer ears. They collected seeds in the tall grass of the upper field with a scoop net and on their clothing then looked to see what seeds (and creatures) they’d caught. They also saw a snake and found spiders and egg sacs. They used teamwork to plan and move heavy logs down a hill and from one end of the soccer field to the other in preparation for bringing them into the woods to use for seating.

On our new seats, the class learned about deer ears.
They measured how far they could hear using their human ears
and then using their deer ears. They heard a longer distance
with deer ears. 
During free play, some children pretended they were deer
 hiding in the woods so a person couldn't see them.
Some children used nets to collect seeds in the field.
A deer played in the field.
We found an egg sac in the field.
We observed a black and yellow garden spider in the field.
In small groups the children planned how to move the seat logs
down a hill and from one side of the grass to the other, to get
near the woods where they will be used for seating.
After discussing their plans small groups sent their logs down the hill.
They worked together to get their logs to the other side of the grass.
They tried new methods to move their logs.
Eventually the logs made it to the end.
Great teamwork kindergarteners!
Later the children reflected on Forest Day in drawings and words.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Day 3

Newton School Forest Kindergarten - September 17, 2015

Even before we move into our outdoor classroom space, we are building some core routines of our forest kindergarten. The routines we've begun so far include: a sensory activity to enter our outdoor space, an academic focus, a book or story, group activity, free play in the woods, eating together, ending our time outdoors with everyone saying a thought about the day, and reflecting afterwards in drawings and words.
Each week there is a sensory activity as children enter the outdoor space.
This spreads the line out to allow children space, gives a focus, and helps us
enter the outdoor space thoughtfully. Today they used Owl Eyes to spot
 unnatural items on the path. They counted these items as a group.
Each week there is a book or story. Today it was All About Owls. 
Each week there is a group activity. Today it was Owl and Mice.
In this game one owl tries to catch several mice as they sneak up
and steal food near the owl. If the owl spots movement, it catches
the mice. We had sneaky mice, and our owl went hungry today!
Each week there is time for free play in the woods.
Here they are pretending they are owls and mice.
Each week we eat together. Today we ate snack and lunch outdoors.
The children invited a slug to lunch (on stick, front right).
Each week we end our outdoor time by sharing a thought about the day.
In a circle, each holds the talking rock and answers a question, such as
"What was something that surprised you today?"
Each week we reflect on our forest day later. The children work
together to draw about the day. Now a teacher writes children's
thoughts and quotes, and later they will do this themselves. 

We will continue to build our routines and add more learning routines.

A lot of the learning in forest kindergarten arises as children explore outdoor spaces,
 find things to explore further, and navigate social situations as they play together.
Owl Eyes helped demonstrate how large our eyes would be if we were owls.
They were also fun to play with and became part of several games.
The children look closely at a slug on a stick. While children choose
their free play activities, adults are there to help explore further.
gathering natural items for a game with friends
sharing a collection of natural items with friends

Finding interesting things and looking closely is part of learning...

After learning that owls sometimes nest in tree cavities, the children searched for and found a tree cavity they thought owls would like. They enjoyed taking photos of the tree.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Day 2

Newton School Forest Kindergarten - September 10, 2015

We talked about raccoons and their sense of touch, using “Raccoon Hands” to feel things outdoors. We heard a story called Raccoons and Ripe Corn. We picked up objects, felt them, and described how they felt. We found natural objects and sorted them into groups, including by type, by color, and by size. Later we used the same objects for an activity where each felt an object in a bag and guessed what it was. Some of those natural objects were returned to nature and some came indoors for further observation and play. Within the activities they practiced counting, recognizing numbers, and ordering numbers. The students also ate snack outdoors and played in the woods. They found a salamander, frog, bug, and several slugs, which were observed, touched (gently), and some even measured. Later they reflected on their day through drawing.

walking to the big tree meeting spot,
collecting objects to touch and describe
finding objects in the woods
Each student found the number of objects written on a card.
In small groups, they sorted them:
by type,

by color,

and by size.

playing with friends

exploring rocks in the water
hanging out in the woods
Can you spot the frog?

Here it is:

holding a small friend carefully
measuring to see which slug is longest
a rock that colors!
two friends trying to corner that bug
careful inspection of that bug
walking like raccoons
Forest Day ends with each holding the talking rock,
 sharing something that excited him or her today!
group reflections on Forest Day in drawings and words

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Day 1

Newton School Forest Kindergarten - September 3, 2015

the kindergarten class with "the big, huge, giant stick"