So far this fall we have been focusing on getting to know each other, establishing ground rules and noticing all the abundance that this time of year has to offer! One of our first harvesting activities was to make sun tea with sumac, goldenrod, and white pine needles. It was delicious and the kids loved learning about the plants and the process of making the tea. The next week we roasted apples over the fire. Every time we build a fire the kids love it. They help gather fire wood and wispies to start the fires. They sing the fire sing with us to get it going:


Burn fire, burn
Stoke your inner fire
Let the smoke inside you rise
Blow that flame to life
We tell lots of stories at “slunch time”. Some days they ask for more and more stories.  One day last week all the kids listened intently for 45 minutes to several stories! 
One of the stories we have told is the peace superhero story. This story was inspired by the  Hodinöhsö:ni’ peace make story and features  Fine Words Fox, Feel Better Butterfly, Peaceful Porcupine, Unity Unicorn, and Shadow tail (the helper squirrel). We have peace stones that the peace superheros left at camp for us to use to help us resolve conflict. The kids love the peace superheroes. 

Of course we have played a lot of running games, and a lot of fun imagination games in the sandbox and creek. We have found many toads, had visits from chipmunks, and caught crayfish in the creek.

 This past week we met the shagbark hickory tree and learned to identify it and it’s nuts.  We also smashed hickory nuts in our large smasher then boiled them in a gallon of water over the fire.  After straining out the nut meat and shells, we enjoyed our hickory nut milk. On a wonder to meet Grandmother Hickory the kids asked why this tree had a name.  We talked about how much bigger this tree is than all the other hickory trees around and how the seeds that grew the smaller trees had likely come from the Grandmother tree. We then measured around her trunk and found it took one instructor and three children holding hands to reach around her trunk. This spurred all the children to start measuring around the other hickory trees and deciding who was mom, brother, baby, etc.

We have also been singing the I thank the earth song a lot:

I thank the earth for feeding my body
I thank the sun for warming my bones
I thank the trees for the air that I breathe, and
I thank the water for nourishing my soul

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.