Monday, November 30, 2015

The Importance of Child-led Play

Uninterrupted Free-Play encourages creativity and imagination

Uninterrupted Play

Child-led play is when the adult steps back and allows the child(ren) to take a lead in the course of the activity. Rules and communication are made-up as they go. This is when the imagination and creativity become a sharpened tool within the child. Click here to view a valuable website article about nature and child-led play.


Below are a few highlighted phrases that are worth repeating especially for those that feel guilty when they aren't constantly engaged in play with their son or daughter. You're probably doing more harm than good. 

"The more you stand back and enjoy observing their deep play concentration, their independent play ability increases. Babies and children who are allowed uninterrupted play-time are less likely to learn what 'boredom' is-they develop creativity, imagination and a concentration span that they take with the to adulthood."

"As learning allies we honor the space required for this personal learning experience by not interrupting play unless we are invited by the child-in which case we take the passive role-or when we must intervene due to safety issues."

Nature Play Guidelines
The Nature Play Guidelines are easy to follow, helpful guidelines that will help guide any adult wanting to support children at play.
This double page document is designed so that you can it print off for easy reference. 




Weaving

Today we made place mats for Thanksgiving. We discussed color patterns, learned how to weave, and practiced our scissor skills. What we used to think was an easy arts and crafts project can actually be a learning opportunity to reinforce early math skills, fine motor skills and organizational planning. Practicing cutting and weaving at home is a great activity to help your child feel responsible and independent. Just be sure whenever an activity involves scissors and glue, you're right there to help!


New Teepee

As we wrap up our discussions about the Pilgrims, Native Americans and Thanksgiving we came upon a teepee at a local yard sale! This is a great new play area in our school. We love to read books in our private teepee!




Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Animals & Trail Blazing


We began our day with a familiar and favorite book Pancakes! Pancakes! By Eric Carle. We discussed animals from the book that provide food for us (cows-milk, chickens-eggs, etc.) 


Next we sorted new plastic animals into 2 groups-those that provide food for us and those that do not. These animals included dogs, cats, cows, ducks, horses, bear, pigs and more. 

Then we went back into the book to find the ingredients Jack and his mother used to make pancakes. We tested the recipe to see if the ingredients really did work and they were delicious! 

As we cut up the strawberries and other foods, we talked about where they came from. A common answer was "the grocery store". This discussion led into the importance of farming (dairy, beef and vegetable) so the grocery stores can make these foods available to us all in one store.



After snack we took a new path through the woods to explore new territory! As we got further and further into the forest we found more "bridges" or obstacles to cross under. The girls made an observation about their shapes. We saw a dome, a triangle and a square. 






We even discovered MUSHROOMS growing on a tree!



We came to a cold, but inviting river. The girls hiked up their pants and splashed away. Brrr...

Being silly in the woods


On our way back to school we discovered a new location for a fairy house! We'll be sure to come back next week to add more natural items to attract creatures

Other observations and discoveries:
Blue jay overhead
Turkey feather
Many Turkeys' Roosting location

Thursday, October 22, 2015

First Impressions




First Impressions

Today, children discussed how they think and feel about various New Hampshire animals. Our focus was to discuss different people's responses to different animals and to provide accurate information to promote more positive feelings.

One misunderstood creature we learned about today was a snake. Did you know the benefits of a Garter Snake? They are quite welcomed by many gardeners (often mistakenly called a Gardener Snake). They eat insects, frogs, toads and small rodents that may be destructive to your garden, landscape or household. Although we looked real hard, we were unable to find a live snake. 

We will spend the next week or more discussing feeling words regarding certain wildlife species which are generally less liked by people. Coyotes, spiders, bats and snakes elicit fear among individuals, but mostly because they are misunderstood. This activity is designed for children to notice their first reactions to different animals and then to see whether their reaction changes when they learn more about the animal.


Music & Movement: Scary Animals

(Sung to "Farmer in the Dell")

Some animals are pretty
Some animals are cute
Some are so scary you want 
To run away in your boots

Some would say it isn't fair
Just give them one more chance
To prove they're not as scary
As you thought by just one glance

Every animal is here
Because it needs to be
They all have a role to play 
In nature's family

Bats won't try to suck your blood
They'd rather eat some bugs
Frogs don't jump inside your bed
They're outside eating slugs

Animals are afraid of us
More than we're afraid of them
Let us just try and see
If we can all live happily


Home Connections

Family Favorites (and not): Ask family and friends about the animals they like best. Are there any they don't like? Why do they feel the way they do about these animals?

Learn Something New: Visit the library and learn something new about an animal that you or someone in your family thinks is scary or unattractive.



Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Fairy Houses

Autumn Fairy House
Today's theme was all about Fairy Houses! We began our day with our first morning meeting. We sat in circle and learned how to greet one another by name. We sang "Hello World" as we danced in group and then read Fairy Houses by Tracy Kane

Fairyhouses.com describes fairy houses as small structures for the fairies and nature’s friends to visit. Sticks, bark, dry grasses, pebbles, shells, feathers, seaweed, pine cones and nuts are just some of the natural materials that can be used. Ranging from simple to intricate ‘Fairy Mansions’, these whimsical habitats are built by children, families, gardeners and nature lovers reflecting their creativity, joy and pride.
The simple challenge of creating a fairy house offers children a unique activity that encourages them to go outside and connect with the natural world, nurturing care and respect for the environment.

There are a few tips on how to make a fairy house. 
1. Fairy houses can be created in many different natural places like a field, woods, beach or back yard.
2. Try to find a place away from roads or busy areas. Close to the ground is best.
3. You can only use natural materials like dry grasses, pebbles, sticks, shells, feathers and pinecones are just some items.
4. Do not disturb living things like flowers, ferns, moss or leaves still on trees.
5. Try to make you house look so natural its almost hidden.
Visit fairyhouses.com to get connected to Tracy Kane and the wonderful world of Fairy Houses!

Early Literacy Station (Letter Stamps)
After exploring outside we came into play with our school materials. The girls love to see what's hiding in my school buckets. Today we strengthened our fine motor skills by using letter stamps. These stamps are smaller than an inch and require a patient pincer grasp to select a letter, ink it and stamp it on the paper. The girls are also learning how to write their own name. 

Sewing Station


Our next early literacy station took place in the sewing area. We love to sew around animals like giraffes and cats on the Playschool sewing boards. Weaving and sewing is another great activity to help strengthen fine motor skills in preparation for coloring and writing. 

We also enjoyed a fun Lotto game about animal habitats. We described each environment and discussed the animals that live in the arctic, savanna, desert, rain forest, ocean and forest. 

What a wonderful day full of learning! See you Thursday!







Thursday, September 10, 2015

Baking Bread


Today was a bring-an-umbrella-just-in-case kind of day! It was even more delightful when we discovered we all had FROZEN umbrellas. We shared, traded, opened & closed them over and over again. What great friends!

Umbrellas can help us enter the forest
Umbrellas are great on a resting rock


On our way back from our morning hike we found a young snake. It had a black body with gray markings/stripes. It looked like a newborn Northern Water Snake seen here.

These snakes are usually found in habitats such as streams, ponds, swamps and marshes. They often use logs or branches overhanging the water for basking. They are rarely found far from water.
From August to October they can give birth to 20-40 live young. During the winter they hibernate underwater or in holes near the water.

Water snake

Wow! What a discovery!

We came back to camp to make some fresh zucchini bread! After harvesting some overgrown zucchini from the garden we gathered all the ingredients, measured, poured and mixed them all together and voila! We had a nice homemade gift for our families.


While we waited for the bread to bake we had plenty of time to play inside. We love our new puppet theatre!


HEY! What's that outside our window? It's...Turkeys!! They've come to see us! Let's go back outside!



We wrapped up our 1st week of school with some delicious snacks and outdoor social time. Looking forward to our year together girls!

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

1st Day of Preschool

It was a beautiful morning for the 1st day of school! We enjoyed a hike through our woods with lots of discoveries. First we saw a Hairy Woodpecker pecking a dead tree at the edge of the woods. The girls found walking sticks and collected some fallen natural items to bring back to school. 




Here a list of everything the girls found in our backyard:
Hairy Woodpecker
Acorns
Pinecones
Turkey Feather
Red Berries
Dirt
Grass
Holes
Beaver sticks
Fallen Trees
Birch Trees
Maple Tree
Deer Tracks & Scat
Toad
Long rock wall
Blackberry Bushes
Moss
Ferns


Snack Time as we reflect on our morning
Pulling up carrots in the garden


We took a peek in the garden to see what we could find. The girls harvested, carried and washed the carrots, tomatoes and Jack-Be-Little pumpkin. Next we returned inside for a little cool down drink and puppet play. We sang songs like Hokey Pokey, Ring Around the Rosie, London Bridges and Itsy Bitsy Spider. This led us back outside for a more singing and free play on the structure, but it was already time to go home!

Throughout the morning we also had the chance to have a little independent play in the sand station, play structure, as well as inside exploring the nature table and the coloring station.

Our day went by so fast! Thank you for coming to explore with us today. See you next time!






Monday, April 27, 2015

Hello Families!



We're excited you're here! We are continuing to build this blog and all other informational pages located above.

You can view our BROCHURE here. Feel free to call us with your questions (603) 489-9776 or email us at csnaturallearning@gmail.com

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