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

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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!


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 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!


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!

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.