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


“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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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!



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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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!

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.