Week One with the Nuthatches!

Week One with the Nuthatches!

Our Fall season has been off to a wonderful start and we are happy to share our first Chickadee recap with you! Following are a few stories and pictures from the Nuthatch flock. Enjoy! 

Dear Nuthatch Families,

We are so grateful to have begun this adventure of learning and growing alongside your children this fall! We want to share this journey with you, so here is a taste of what we’ve been up to, from our nest to yours…

Preschoolers spread out with their lunches after a morning of focused, hands-on activity. 

These first two days at preschool have found the Nuthatches stepping into a beautiful place that is new to many of us — the Ash Grove — and asking how we can make it a home. Part of this has been social; we’ve been learning each other’s names and what brings us joy and gratitude (trees, twirling, family, and dancing – to name a few!)… And then there is the natural space around us: at snack time on Thursday, we asked the preschoolers how they would like to care for and shape our nest. The first projects they got excited about were adding to the basic structure of a lean-to shelter in camp (thanks Jed and Sean for putting this up!) — tying limbs together with goldenrod, making deer fur pillows and other furniture — and working as a family of squirrels to add nuts and leaves to our “fall sensory pit” with the awareness that winter is gradually on its way. Several children began measuring everything they could find in the shelter using bark measuring tapes. A few others began a different building project: fairy homes! 

Children working on furnishing and beautifying the shelter. 

We also learned a new song called “Good Morning Dear Earth.” The lyrics are below so you can sing it too! Maybe your child can teach you the movements to this song. 
Good morning dear Earth, good morning dear sun 
Good morning to the animals and the flowers, everyone 
Good morning to the busy bees and birds in the trees 
Good morning to you and good morning to me 
A Nuthatch with the fairy houses she and others have begun building. 

Upside-down nuthatches (ask your children!),

Elisabeth and Mira


Preschool Spaces Now Available!

Preschool Spaces Now Available!

We have had an incredible outpouring of requests and in response we have expanded our preschool to offer two groups this Fall.

At the moment we have several spaces available all four days for 4-and 5-year-olds and two spots on Monday and Wednesday for three-year-olds. Interested parents can call our office for more information or fill out our registration form and we will be in touch.

We are available for in-person tours this week and orientation is Sunday, September 13th. This summer we confirmed that our added COVID-related safety precautions didn’t deter our campers from sinking deeply into the experience and having a great time, we expect preschool will be the same and can’t wait to get started.

The Fall semester begins September 16, 2020 

About Ithaca forest preschool

Welcome to Our Wooded World!

With some curiosity, exploration and guidance the seeds of connection can grow, rooting us to our natural surroundings and forming kinship with the Earth. The social-emotional skills that children learn here are among the most important skills they need for school and for life. Our curriculum prepares children for kindergarten and beyond!

Program Hours

Monday through Friday, 9am-12pm.
NEW! Friday single or add-on day, 9am-12pm.

Ithaca Forest Preschool is a community of learners. The group bonds through shared challenges and experiences, and from getting to know each other for a whole school year or more. At this age, consistency is important. For these reasons, five days for a full year is our standard and most discounted, option. If you are hesitant to enroll for this option, please feel free to contact us to discuss it.

If five days a week for the full school year isn’t right for your family, we offer two day (M/W/F or Tu/Th) enrollment. Enrollment on a trimester-basis is available if space allows.

Program Location

4-H Acres 418 Lower Creek Road, Ithaca, 14850 

    Enrollment Requirements

    • Children are eligible to enroll if they will be 3 by September 1st and will not reach the age of 6 before January 1st.
    • Children must be out of diapers and needing only minimal assistance with toileting.
    • Because we learn in an outdoor classroom without walls, children must be able to stay with the group and follow instructions most of the time.

    Week One with the Chickadees!

    Week One with the Chickadees!

    Our Fall season has been off to a wonderful start and we are happy to share our first Chickadee recap with you! Following are a few stories and pictures from the Chickadee flock. Enjoy! 

    Dear Chickadee Families,
    We can’t believe that our first two days of preschool are already behind us, but what a fun first two days they were! On Monday we gathered in the log circle near the red oak tree and Maddy taught us the Welcome Song. The lyrics are below so you can sing it at home!


    Welcome, welcome everyone
    Come join the circle let’s have some fun
    I’m so excited to start our day 
    We’re gonna run around and sing and play 
    Traveling over meadow and creek 
    Let’s walk through the woods and hear the creatures speak 
    I think it’s time to begin our day…
    I’m ready to explore now anyway! 

    Chickadees playing on the Climbing Hill with Hannah. 

    We traveled down to Trillium Camp, stopping along the way to pick up special sticks, stones, leaves, and other objects that caught our eyes. The children put their treasures on the nature table and noticed a basket made of smooth white pine bark and a nest made of mud and dried grass. The Chickadees were exploring Trillium Camp when they came across a large slug. The children described what it looked like (“grey skin with black spots”) and watched as it started to move slowly across the dead leaves, leaving a shiny trail of slime in its wake. 

    A child touching a leopard slug!

    On Tuesday, Sarah asked the Chickadees to help her solve a mystery! She played these two sounds (play the first audio clip called “song” and the third named “calls”) and asked the children if they had heard them before. “It’s a bird,” one child said. “A chickadee,” said another. Hannah showed the group a picture of a black-capped chickadee from a field guide and explained that the little, but brave, bird with black feathers on its head is what our flock is named after!  During snack, the Chickadees heard some rustling in the leaves behind the woodbox. Everyone sat very still as a small animal with white stripes ran toward the climbing logs and sat staring at us — it was Chippy the Chipmunk! The children practiced fox-walking, walking very quietly like a fox, to see how close they could get to Chippy without scaring them away. Do you think we’ll see Chippy in Trillium Camp again this week? 

    Children building a tower of wood cookies. 

    We had a wonderful first week with your children and are so appreciative of their wonder and curiosity for the world around them. We can’t wait for the adventures the Earth has in store for us this fall!

    Slugs and chipmunks,

    Sarah, Maddy & Hannah

    Office Location:
    Cornell Cooperative Extension, 615 Willow Ave., Ithaca, NY 14850
    607-272-2292 | email Us

    Preschool Location:
    4-H Acres, 418 Lower Creek Rd., Ithaca, NY 14850

    Ithaca Forest Preschool is a nature immersion program for children ages 3-5. Our program is run in cooperation with Primitive Pursuits, a project of Cornell Cooperative Extension.