Our last Tuesday of winter preschool!

This was a week of celebration and fun (even more than usual)!

Note: Thanks again to Emily Rose for most of these photos!

On Tuesday, the Nuthatches started off by looking at a picture of a goose in a book. It was hard to think about geese without getting goofy! But Nora and Emily called the Nuthatches to a secret meeting while Ian went off to set up an activity and everyone focused their energy. It was time to say goodbye to our beloved instructor Ian Statema.  During the meeting, the Nuthatches brainstormed some ways that we could send Ian off and show him how much we appreciated having him as an instructor. We decided we could give him some air hugs and air kisses, sing the Birdie Song (taught to us by Ian), gather firewood as a gift to him, and share gratitudes about the time we spent with him. We planned to do all this at closing circle. But it had to stay a secret! The Nuthatches sealed their lips. 

As we set off to camp, the Nuthatches noticed a mysterious pile of wood shavings on the ground. Then we saw another one up ahead. And another! It was a trail–could it be leading us somewhere? The Nuthatches looked carefully to figure it out. We followed the trail over the stream and off the main path, leading us to camp via a shortcut. We decided to pick up some of the shavings to give to Ian!

Once we got to camp, we took a look into the sap bucket. It was heavy and full–of ice! Some of the Nuthatches spotted some bugs in there too. As we looked at the sap, we could hear a sharp beat made by two sticks. The noise was coming from Ian, who was waiting for us in the field. Behind him were four structures made of sticks leading together. Ian explained that these were the guardians, and he challenged us to use throwing sticks to knock them down, and then we could see what the guardians were guarding. The Nuthatches took turns hurling the throwing sticks towards the guardians, and waited patiently for somebody to knock them down. Finally, it happened! When we looked behind the guardians, we found a basket of firewood and a teapot full of hemlock needles! Just what we needed for some delicious tea. 


The Nuthatches led the way in collecting firewood for our slunch fire. Ian worked to set up a tripod, where he hung the teapot with water and hemlock needles. Soon the fire was roaring and the tea was bubbling. Emily read the book “How Chipmunk Got His Stripes,” by Joseph Bruchac and James Bruchac, illustrated by Jose Aruego and Ariane Dewey. She used a squeaky voice for Chipmunk (or Brown Squirrel, as he starts out), and a gruff voice for Bear. The Nuthatches loved it so much that they asked her to read it again! After slunch we sipped some delicious hemlock tea with honey. 

Then it was time for some free play! The Nuthatches climbed on a balancing log and slid down a tree like a fire pole! They ran in the field like dragons! They made faces and gave great guffaws! And then we all came together for closing circle, where we sang the Birdie Song for Ian, gave gratitude for him, and did some air hugs. We closed out our circle by doing the sneaky clap, which Ian taught us and is always a hit. Thanks Ian for being with us this winter! We’ll see you aroung 4-H acres on Thursdays. 

Nuthatch families, thanks for reading! We’ll see you in the spring!

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.