Week 2 Chickadees: Signs of Spring and Bird Wings

Week 2 Chickadees: Signs of Spring and Bird Wings

This week the Chickadees experienced all kinds of weather — warm sunshine, blue skies and even snow!

MONDAY

“Chickadee-dee-dee-dee” went the Chickadee flock on Monday morning in Opening Circle. The children showed Ian, a winter Nuthatch instructor who was joining us for the day, how well they can mimic a chickadee alarm call. Ian surprised them with a call of his own that sounded like this (click on the first recording). He explained that this is a call male chickadees make to tell everyone where their space is. The children practiced making this call and then flew to their backpacks and headed down to Trillium Camp.

“What’s growing?” the children were asked while stopped at the top of the bridge. The Chickadees pointed to sprouting tree buds, green moss on the roof of the pavilion and some plants starting to grow in our forest garden. After hanging up backpacks it was time for the Daily Check. While some children helped record the temperature and the color of the sky, others went on an epic hunt for worms! While looking under almost every log and rock in camp, the Chickadees found a lot of worms but they also found a sleepy salamander!

At slunch time, the flock gathered in the log circle and did a tick scan, looking over their clothes for a small arachnid with 8 legs. When the tick scan was complete and everyone had taken at least one sip of water, the children learned they had unlocked a story — a story about a group of wild children who lived in a magical forest! Strange things happen in this forest and one day while eating some food in their camp, the wild children suddenly turned into small birds with black feathers on their heads, white feathers on their cheeks and gray wings — “a black-capped chickadee!” the preschoolers yelled. The wild children, who were now chickadees, realized that they could speak bird language and fly! They flew through the air while practicing their calls and songs and they enjoyed seeing their forested home from a new perspective. But then, a sudden gust of wind came rushing through the trees! The small birds took shelter on the branches of a big white pine tree and waited for the wind to pass. After it had, they flew out into the brilliant early spring day again. But here came another gust of wind! The chickadees rushed back to the white pine and waited again. This happened several more times and the chickadees realized it was like they were playing hide-and-go-seek with the wind! After playing a few more rounds of that, they grew hungry and flew back down to their camp to finish the food they had been eating before they turned into chickadees. To their surprise, their food (which had consisted of “cheese sticks, crackers, cookies and oranges”) had turned into seeds, insects and berries! The chickadees didn’t mind! They gobbled them up and then…found themselves as wild children once again!

Like the wild children, the preschoolers transformed into chickadees after slunch and had to hide from the wind! Ian, who had turned into a strong wind storm, walked through camp while the chickadees searched for places they’d find shelter from the powerful gusts (behind trees, on the other side of the woodbox, behind the pavilion).

The day is done, the day is done! The chickadees turned back into children and gathered in the log circle where Peter played a song on his guitar and they played along with their own instruments.

 

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TUESDAY

The Chickadee flock was excited to welcome Rey on Tuesday! Rey will be joining us on Tuesdays and Thursdays this spring and will also be here for summer camp. During arrival, the children got to meet her while helping create a shared work of art. A long piece of paper was laid across one of the picnic tables with markers, crayons and animal track stamps around it.

All-In Chickadees! The flock flew to the morning circle where they learned a new song called “The Chickadee Song” by Annie Nixon.

Chickadee, chickadee-dee-dee 

Sing with me 

Sing with me, me, me 

Sitting on the branch of a big pine tree 

Calling out to the morning there’s a chickadee!

The children sang this song while flapping their arms like wings and then flew to the red oak tree to gather their backpacks and head down to camp. Once in Trillium Camp, the Chickadees got an idea! They walked together to a part of their camp called “Trillium North” and hid behind some large logs. When everyone was hidden they gave a loud “chickadee-dee-dee” call and waited. They did it again and again and suddenly Rey found them! She had been back in the main part of camp and used the “chickadee-dee-dee” call to find us! Afterwards, the children showed her the horsey log and spent some time bouncing and traveling to far away lands.

After slunch and hearing the tale of the wild children who turned into chickadees again, the flock spent the rest of their day playing in the creek and enjoying the warm sun!

 

WEDNESDAY

On Wednesday the Chickadees welcomed another special person — Edie! The children were so excited to see Edie and had so much fun playing imaginative child-led games with her during arrival (there was a cyclone coming and they had to escape it!). The Chickadees discovered that they had a mystery to solve when they arrived in Opening Circle! Sarah played this sound (click on the first recording) while the children listened and shared their guesses. Next, they saw a picture of a small bird that makes the sound they had just heard. Like the black-capped chickadee, this bird also has black feathers on the top of its head. The children correctly guessed this bird is a white-breasted nuthatch! While practicing the nuthatch call, the children noticed that it sounds a lot like laughter! The next time the Chickadees see the Nuthatches, we’ll have to say hello to them using their call!

For those of you that don’t know, Nora is a magical storyteller. She paints amazing pictures with her words and captures the attention of children and instructors alike when she tells stories! At slunch on Wednesday, Nora told us the Greek tale of Narcissus and how, after falling in love with his reflection, he was turned into a daffodil (we had spotted some daffodils on Tuesday which prompted the telling of this story). The children quietly listened and really enjoyed when they got to participate in the story, especially when they got to shout “ECHO!”

Some rain came our way towards the end of the day, but that didn’t stop the Chickadees from playing in the creek and making a big pot of “soup!” When it was time to share our gratitudes from the day, Nora asked the children to spell “R-A-I-N” after each person shared and together we shouted “rain!”

 

 

 

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THURSDAY

And then that rain turned into snow! The Chickadees were greeted by a thin layer of fluffy, white snow on Thursday morning. Underneath that wet snow was squishy, slippery mud! The flock spent the morning making snowballs and using them to make faces on trees. Rey was helping some children color on another large piece of paper and showed them how you can rub snow on the markers to make colorful snow — it was so cool!

When the children arrived in Trillium Camp, some helped Sarah with the Daily Check (we recorded a big change in temperature!) and others climbed up and down the Climbing Hill with Eli and Rey. After slunch, many children were feeling cold so the flock decided to get head inside of the rest of the day. The transition from warm, spring sunshine to winter-like weather was challenging for the children and instructors!

While the Chickadees love to be outside, they still had a lot of fun indoors! After taking off of their muddy outer layers, the children read books, colored and played hide-and-go-seek. It was an exciting ending to our second week of the spring. While it was nice to see some snow again, we are hoping for warmer weather when we come back from the break!

 

Thank you so much for reading! We hope you have a great spring break and we’ll see you soon!

Week 2 Nuthatches, Monday and Wednesday

Week 2 Nuthatches, Monday and Wednesday

This week, we embodied how nuthatches live, had lots of fun and tapped into our senses!

We had a lot of energy this week that allowed us to play and learn as nuthatch birds might in the wild! We also had a special guest and tapped into lots of creativity and nature sensing skills.

On Monday, the Nuthatches gathered under cloudy skies in windy and chilly weather. Jamie brought out the weather chart and had some help from the Nuthatches to record the look of sky, chance of rain, and temperature. Afterwards, we gathered in opening circle. Nora showed us how to sing the Chickadee flock’s song and Jamie facilitated a conversation on our bird of the week: nuthatches!

We talked about their white, black, and blue/gray colors and their bird call, which some of us thought sounded like a unique little bird laugh. The Nuthatches also found it interesting how the birds are often seen upside down, searching for seeds and insects – something we may try to imitate in the future!

When we got to camp, we directed our excited energy into playing a life-size nest making game. The Nuthatches showed creativity in the materials and locations of the nests and worked together as teams. Afterwards, the Nuthatches visited the other nests and shared feedback about what they liked and noticed about the nests.

After slunch, with the sun coming out, we went to meet a surprise guest in the front field. The Nuthatches were excited to see that it was Elisabeth from the fall session! Elisabeth was thoughtful and brought a “bird food” snack of seeds and dried fruit for all the hungry Nuthatches! Naturally, everyone started to peck at their food in true nuthatch fashion. We finished our day listening to Elisabeth tell a story about a nuthatch and a friendly turtle that shared a message that one can always be safe and secure within themselves, no matter their environment.

On Wednesday morning, the Nuthatches gathered to find that Nani had a stink bug on her hand! We observed the bug and the Nuthatches looked at the bug’s characteristics and where they get their name from. A couple Nuthatches also noticed some wild garlic mustard growing, an exciting sign of spring! With permission and supervision, they tasted some while practicing sustainable harvesting.

In morning circle, Nora initiated a conversation and land acknowledgement of the traditional lands of the Gayogo̱hó꞉nǫ, the indigenous peoples of this region. We hope to continue land acknowledgements and explore together what it means to be good stewards of the land. The Nuthatches helped finish opening circle by teaching Jamie the “birdie song,” which is definitely one of their favorites!

When we got to camp, Nora invited the Nuthatches to play a game called “Hawks and Nuthatches.” The Nuthatches used their sensory awareness to evade hawks, a role the instructors played, while looking for pinecones to bring back to their nests. The Nuthatches sure are fast and clever and the hawks definitely got their workout for the day.

 

At slunch, Nora built us a nice fire while Nani offered help to any Nuthatches needing an extra hand. Jamie read the book “No Two Alike,” by Keith Baker that everyone seemed to enjoy.

The Nuthatches ended the day playing a game called “otter steals fish.” The Nuthatches got really creative while using sensory techniques like fox-walking and owl-eyes to play the game. We ended the day with gratitude and learned a new song about doing a tick scan! One of the Nuthatches even led the rest of the flock in how to do a proper tick scan.

Week 2 Nuthatches, Tuesday and Thursday: Settling In and Branching Out

Week 2 Nuthatches, Tuesday and Thursday: Settling In and Branching Out

Welcome to the second week of Spring, Nuthatch families!

This week the Nuthatches started to get comfortable with the spring: mud, water, and new friends were highlights!

Note: Big thanks again to Emily Rose and Jamie Eggleston for contributing pictures!

On Tuesday, the Nuthatches got ready for a big trek. The plan was to go to the Beaver Pond! The last time we went there, there was snow on the ground and a chill in the air. This time, the ground was muddy and the sun shone down on us. We played foxtail at arrival, and some of the Nuthatches turned into backpacks! At circle, the Nuthatches reminded each other of the Three Respects: respect yourself, respect others, and respect the earth. We decided that on the way out, it was important to stay with the group. Jamie said we could think of it like a sandwich: the instructors were “bread”, at the front and back, and the kids were the filling! Our sandwich had lots of cheese in it. 

 On the way out to the Beaver Pond, the Nuthatches had to be alert for some warnings. When the instructors yelled “Flash Flood!” everybody had to try to get off the ground to avoid the imaginary water. When they heard “Camouflage!” they had to hide in the forest. When they heard “T-rex walk!” they had to walk as quietly as they could as if they were a predator stalking its prey. The Nuthatches did a great job reacting to the warnings, and they used their five senses to make observations too. We found lots of beautiful clear puddles that we couldn’t resist stomping in. There was a newt floating silently in one! We also saw big birds soaring above us: a bald eagle and a red-tailed hawk!

At the Beaver Pond, there was a clearing with a shelter where we could have lunch. We set down our packs and were quickly drawn to the water, where we climbed walked along the dam, looked for snails, made splashes with sticks, and even collected some cattails. It was so peaceful and beautiful out there at the crystal clear water. Then we sat down to a yummy lunch in the clearing, and trekked back to the front field in high spirits. 

On Thursday, Mother Nature had played an April Fool’s joke on us: there was snow on the ground and in the branches! But the Nuthatches weren’t deterred. We played in the snow and made some big snowballs, which we rolled all the way out to camp with us. It was a good workout. We stopped by the creek to use our five senses to observe the landscape. Then we set our packs down in camp and ran out to the field for a rousing game of Hawks and Nuthatches! The Nuthatches tried to find as many pinecones as they could while avoiding the Hawks. When a Nuthatch got tagged, the Hawk asked a nature question. Some of the wonderful questions we came up with were: 

How does bark get on trees? How does dirt get underground? Where do humans come from? Why do people cut down trees? Why are leaves so thin and strong? Where do trees come from? What makes good packing snow? Why is snow so fluffy sometimes? 

Then we noticed that some of the Nuthatches had disappeared! Where could they have gone? We decided we had to track them to find out. We opened our eyes and ears: there was a soft drumming sound coming from the forest, and also some high-pitched calls. The first sound was a ruffed grouse! The second sound was the rest of our group! We followed the tracks and the sound until we found them, hiding under a white pine tree. Everybody at preschool sure is sneaky! We all came back to camp as a group, and Jamie showed us how to start a fire using flint and steel. Emily read the book “Penguin and Pinecone” by Salina Moon and we told some silly knock-knock jokes. Then it was time to head back to the field. 

Have a lovely spring break, Nuthatch families! We’ll see you in a week.

Week 1 Chickadees: Hello Spring!

Week 1 Chickadees: Hello Spring!

This week we welcomed spring, warmer weather and new and returning Chickadees! 

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MONDAY

The Chickadees were greeted by a warm and blue-skied morning on their first day of the spring session! During arrival, they ran in the front field, found deer scat here and there and noted how they were wearing fewer layers, all while finding the muddiest puddles to play in. They gathered in the log circle and welcomed a new chickadee to their flock and sang the “Welcome Song” to learn everyone’s names.

Welcome everybody, we’re so glad to see you 

Welcome everybody, we’re so thankful for you 

After singing the part above once, the Chickadees replaced the word “everybody” with each child’s name. They made music by clapping their hands, stomping their feet and tapping sticks against the log while waiting for it to be their turn to add their name into the song. Afterwards it was time to get their backpacks on and wait at the top of the trail leading to Trillium Camp. Let’s count to see how many Chickadees we have today! They counted together “1, 2, 3, 4, 5…10!”

The flock flew down the path and stopped at the trail cam, anxious to see what it had captured over the weekend. We scrolled through the photos but didn’t see any new ones of the groundhog or other animals that may have walked by. We’ll have to check again next time! The Chickadees stopped at the top of the bridge and instead of being asked “what’s changed?,” which they had been asked all Fall and Winter, they were asked “what’s growing?” Some children noticed tiny tree buds while others spotted bright, green moss. They also noticed something peculiar “growing” on top of the woodbox.

The children walked down the bridge, hung up their backpacks and went to investigate the strange white paper that was laying on top of the woodbox. Sarah joined them and explained that this was the “Daily Check.” The Daily Check includes 6 categories — the date, the temperature, a rain gauge measurement, creek depth, what the sky looks like and sightings. Sarah explained that several children would be picked each day to complete different parts of the Daily Check, but for the first day they’d do it all together. In the temperature square, they colored in light blue to represent “cold.” Next, they had to find a place to put the rain gauge and settled on a flat spot behind the Peace Log. Let’s go check the creek! The children walked to the edge of the creek and watched as Sarah showed them the large rock they’d placed their measuring stick next to each day. The creek was at “yellow.” Then they needed to record what the sky looked like. They all looked up and yelled “blue!” Last but not least was “sightings” and the children decided to draw something bright green they had noticed while stopped at the top of the bridge earlier — moss!

It’s slunch time, it’s slunch time 

It’s time to eat our slunch 

It’s slunch time, it’s slunch time 

It’s time to munch and slunch! 

The children washed their hands and sat in the log circle with their food and water. In order to “unlock” the day’s story, the children had to do a “tick scan.” The instructors role-modeled looking overtop their clothes and feeling in their hair for ticks. Some of the children shared stories of times they had found ticks on them and the instructors explained that if ticks bite us they can sometimes make us sick, so it’s important to look for them. They did a great job unlocking the story and spent slunch listening about the time the Peace Superheroes (Fine Words Fox, Peaceful Porcupine, Feel Better Butterfly, Unity Unicorn and Shadowtail) found mysterious pieces of birch bark in their home in the forest, all with the letter “r” written on them. Together the Peace Superheroes learned from a helpful chickadee that the r’s stand for the special “three r’s of the forest” — Respect yourself, Respect each other and Respect the Earth.

After packing up their food and backpacks, the Chickadees split up into a wandering group and a creek-splashing group. They gathered together for the end of the day which was marked by singing “The Day is Done Song.”

The day is done, the day is done 

Thank you for the day 

Let’s pack our bags 

And give air hugs 

And say thanks for the day 

All the pots, pans and buckets were put away while some children used brooms to sweep the pavilion. When it was time for closing circle, they met in the log circle in Trillium Camp and learned a new song called “The Kindness and Respects Song” that talked about the “three r’s” from the story they heard at slunch.

We show kindness to ourselves 

We show kindness to each other 

We show kindness to the Earth here at school 

(Repeat twice) 

We show respect to ourselves 

We show respect to each other 

We show respect to the Earth here at school 

(Repeat twice) 

They each played instruments while singing along and put them away when it was time for gratitude. Each child was asked to share (if they wanted to) something from the day they were grateful for. After each person had the opportunity to share, the children yelled “spring!” The children were grateful for all kinds of things — playing in the creek, the sun, playing with family members and food. The Chickadees put on their backpacks and flew together from Trillium Camp to the front field to end a great beginning to the start of spring!

TUESDAY

During arrival, the Chickadees had the options of playing Foxtail — a fun game where one person tucks a orange bandana in their pocket and runs around while the others try to grab it — and coloring a picture of chipmunks waking up from their long winter’s rest and decorating with animal track stamps. The Foxtail players ran into the log circle and called “All-In” to let the others know it was time for them to come to opening circle. The Chickadees flew to the circle, had a seat and sang “The Welcome Song” from the day before and welcomed back a Chickadee who had been with us in the Fall!

Down to camp they went after stopping at the trail cam (still no new photos) and at the top of the bridge (more green moss). They completed the Daily Check while others checked the sap bucket and saw that it was close to overflowing! The rest of the Chickadees played on the climbing hill, by the creek and on the horsey log.

Time for slunch! The children washed their hands, grabbed their backpacks and did a tick scan all before listening to Nora’s magical tale about Sylvia the Spring Fairy and her friend Jewelweed, who we’ll see growing by the creek soon!

The Chickadees enjoyed another warm day and spent the rest of the afternoon playing in the creek and making “magic potions” and “soup.”

 

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WEDNESDAY

Wednesday sure was a rainy day! The Chickadees arrived in rain gear, ready to jump in every puddle they could find — which they did! There were puddles here and puddles there and mud, lots of mud. The children played in puddles and made mud balls while waiting for everyone to arrive. In opening circle, the Chickadees continued to practice learning everyone’s names but this time they also got to share their favorite animal! After each person said their name and favorite animal, the children moved like that animal. So if someone said “cheetah” then everyone ran fast like a cheetah. The Chickadees had fun doing this and the instructors enjoyed hearing what animals they like!

During Wednesday’s Daily Check, the Chickadees noticed that the creek was deeper — it had moved from yellow to blue! Even though it was raining, the rain gauge had very little water. They made predictions about how much water would be in the rain gauge the next day. The flock spent their rainy day listening to a story about Peaceful Porcupine and enjoying all the wonderful things that rainy days bring: mud, puddles and worms!

THURSDAY

The sky cleared and the sun came out for a gorgeous and warm Thursday at Ithaca Forest Preschool! During arrival, the children met Barbara Ann, a Primitive Pursuits instructor who was spending the day with the Chickadees. She brought supplies to make face paint: charcoal and rock paint and willow branches for paintbrushes. Together Barbara Ann and the children painted their faces to look like different animals and also drew designs on their hands.

All-In to the log circle! In Opening Circle, Barbara Ann asked the children to share their names and move their bodies to show how they were feeling and to then move their bodies for how they wanted to feel. The Chickadees jumped, spun and stomped their feet — it was lots of fun! Once in Trillium Camp, the children did some more face painting, the Daily Check (we had 0.2 inches in the rain gauge!) and took a peek in the sap bucket (today it was empty!).When it was time for slunch and the flock was doing their tick scan, Barbara Ann found a small tick on her shirt! She walked around the circle to show the children what they’re looking for when we do tick scans. Afterwards the Chickadees played a game where they each had to think of an animal but keep it a secret. An instructor then said something about different kinds of animals (if your animal can swim, for example). If what was said was true about the animal they picked, then they took a sip of water. At the end, the children excitedly shared their animals: cheetahs, cats, kangaroos! 

After everyone had packed up, the Chickadees worked together to carry buckets over to the creek, which they filled with water and then carried over to the pavilion. On the count of three, the children poured the water over the pavilion and used brooms and brushes to help scrub away all of the dirt and mud — spring cleaning in Trillium Camp! The instructors are so thankful for all of the help — thank you Chickadees!

 

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Thank you for reading our first blog of the spring! See you back here next week!

Week 1 Nuthatches: Warm Welcomes

Week 1 Nuthatches: Warm Welcomes

Welcome, Spring! Welcome, Nuthatches and Nuthatch families! 

This week the Nuthatches embraced the new season and some new faces with joy and enthusiasm. We met lead instructor Jamie Eggleston, assistant instructor Edie McRoberts, and two new students. We played name games to introduce ourselves!

Note: thanks to all the Nuthatch instructors (Jamie Eggleston, Emily Rose, and Ariadne Filothei Vazenios) for contributing photos for this week’s post!

On Monday, the Nuthatches went over our community guidelines, the Three Respects: Respect yourself, respect others, and respect the Earth. We shared our names, and our favorite plant. Some favorite plants were skunk cabbage, maple trees, and sunflowers. As the weather gets warmer, we’ll be looking out for green buds on our plant friends! We’ll also be using our senses to observe changes in the temperature, precipitation, and sky. Jamie led us in using colors to express our observations about the weather on our weather chart. 

When we arrived in camp on Monday, the Nuthatches were bursting with energy. We showed our new Nuthatch and Jamie our favorite parts of camp: the sap tree, the shelter, the firepit, the seesaw, and more. The Nuthatches even helped Jamie draw a map with charcoal from the fire! Then we sat down to slunch around a warm fire that Edie built. Nora enlisted the Nuthatches to help her tell the story of the Peace Superheroes, which is an important story about animals with different problem-solving skills. We began by telling about Fine Words Fox, who helps people to use fine words in speaking about their feelings; Feel-better Butterfly, who cheers people up by painting his wings; and Shadowtail, who helps the animals by carrying them through the forest on her back. This story was originated by Melissa Blake, the co-founder of Ithaca Forest Preschool. 

On Tuesday, the Nuthatches started off the day playing “What time is it, Fine Words Fox?” in the front field. When the answer was “Lunchtime!” we ran very fast back to the starting line! During circle we played the name game super fast! Once we got out to camp, it was time to play “Seasons are Changing” in the big field. The Nuthatches were so good at escaping the taggers, and came up with some great questions to ask, such as “Does your animal fly?” and “Does your animal have claws?” Then we went on a search for Emily, our instructor who’d wandered off in search of firewood. We got a little off-track in our search, but we finally found her because she made crow calls through the brush. At slunch, Emily read two wonderful books to us: “Tico and the Golden Wings” by Leo Lionni, and “Bugs are Insects” by Anne Rockwell. We closed out the day by sharing gratitude and dancing!

Wednesday was a celebration of mud and rain! The front field was full of chocolate-colored puddles that the Nuthatches splashed in. At morning circle, Astrid led us in the song “Oh the Seasons Change”. We used our five senses to see, hear, touch, smell and taste the rain as it fell gently down on us. And we played the tickling game with white pine needles! We even found a dragon egg and put it in a dragon cave in a tree. Once we got to camp, the Nuthatches noticed that the Peace Stones were missing! Jamie showed us a map that had some clues to find them, and we set off to search. Finally we found all of them and returned them to the peace log, which is a special place a person can go if they’re feeling upset. Jamie made a fire to warm us up at slunch, and Nora continued the story of the Peace Superheroes to include Peaceful Porcupine, who reminds us to take a deep breath when we’re angry or frustrated. Astrid sat under an umbrella and read some clever and silly poems from the book “Soup for Breakfast” by Calef Brown. 

On Thursday the Nuthatches frolicked in the sunshine all day. We went over creek guidelines, and then trekked over to the creek, where there was a new bridge! While we were there we saw so many interesting things: two dark-eyed juncos playing, skunk cabbage popping up everywhere even in the water, a beautiful fossil, and even a crayfish that seemed to be wounded. The Nuthatches gently helped the crayfish get to a safe place to heal. We also saw a tick crawling around–we took a good look and then brought it to the water to drown. Nuthatch families, make sure to do a thorough tick check every day after program! We all shared a gratitude for the creek and the fun we had there. Then it was time for slunch, where Nora told the Peace Superheroes story again and Emily read a book about frogs! Jamie and Nora also made a special snack: popcorn, with salt and honey! What a nice way to end the first week of spring preschool. 

Week 10 Chickadees, Tuesday: Migrating Geese!

Week 10 Chickadees, Tuesday: Migrating Geese!

Our last Tuesday of the winter session included an epic wander, a very silly story and lots of geese honking. The day was so busy that Sarah didn’t take any photos!

TUESDAY 

The Chickadees played in the front field on a cloudy Tuesday morning. While walking around, they noticed numerous piles of deer scat and ran from each pile they found shouting “scat!” The children contemplated if this scat was fresh or old and noticed that some of the piles were different colors. Was some of this scat buried underneath all of that snow we had? 

The flock wandered over to “Tamarack Island” and collected sticks that had fallen from the trees for firewood. They noticed that many of these sticks had tiny pinecones attached to them! There was so much to see on this tiny island and the Chickadees spent some time exploring here when they suddenly noticed a narrow path leading to a place they had never been to before. Let’s go check it out! 

They walked together down the path until it opened up to a small camp with a fire circle and a shelter. Many of the Chickadees believed this shelter was Sasquatches’ home! They even found some large footprints they were convinced belonged to the mysterious creature. The flock didn’t stop here long because just beyond the trees they could see an open field that looked fun to run in, and that’s exactly what they did!

After running through the field and finding some special sticks, the children noticed another trail — the Chickadees sure are an adventurous bunch! Together they explored the camp that the path led them to and even found a white pine tree with two, slightly separated trunks that the children could walk between. They took turns doing this and then found another special white pine tree that had low branches which they could hold on to. When Eli asked the flock if they’d like to come back here in the spring, they shouted YES!

It was time to head back to the front field where we left our backpacks but how should we get there? The children stood near the creek and contemplated how they could cross without getting wet. They pointed out some logs and rocks they could step on and proceeded to cross the creek. The Chickadees found so many cool things while they walked downstream — partially frozen sticks, pieces of ice, crunchy mud, puddles of water. After our creek wander, the Chickadees had to climb a tall hill to get back to the trail. They used their hands and sticks to make it to the top and some exclaimed “I did it!” when they reached the top.

The children grabbed their packs and flew down the trail to Trillium Camp like a flock of geese. They played in camp before slunch while Eli built a fire and Sarah helped some children change their socks and boots, which had gotten wet in the creek. When it was time to eat, the Chickadees gathered in the log circle and listened to one of Eli’s famous three word stories. To do this, Eli asked the flock for three words and he used those words to tell a story called “The Cookie Supreme.” While Sarah missed part of this story, she could hear lots of laughter coming from the log circle so it must have been pretty funny!

After singing “The Day is Done,” cleaning up camp and packing up their bags, it was time for Closing Circle. The flock sang some of their favorite songs from the fall and winter (“Jingle Bells” was one of them!) and then shared some gratitude for the day. After each person said what they were grateful for, the children “honked” like geese in agreement; this was really silly and something we’ll continue doing in the spring. We said goodbye to Trillium Camp and walked together back to the red oak tree — another special ending to a fun winter day!

 

Thank you so much for reading our posts this winter! We’ll see you in spring!

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Cornell Cooperative Extension, 615 Willow Ave., Ithaca, NY 14850
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Preschool Location: 
4-H Acres, 418 Lower Creek Rd., Ithaca, NY 14850


Ithaca Forest Preschool is a program of Cornell Cooperative Extension of Tompkins County and is run by Primitive Pursuits, a 4-H Program.