The biggest change the littlest learners have noticed this month is the distance we can see from our classroom. Very few leaves are left on the trees, allowing us to see almost the whole campus from our hill. The littlest learners have seen the sprouts playing in the chicken field all the way up to the explorers running around on their mountaintop. Having this visibility makes us feel connected to the whole school. The littlest learners noticed that during fall and winter, the trees look shorter and skinnier as if they shrunk. We know that it just appears this way because they lost their leaves! We have seen quite a few deer around campus. It was much harder to spot deer and other wildlife when the vegetation was at its peak in warmer seasons. Something that the littlest learners noticed is how deer can camouflage really well into their forest surrounding even when there is little to no vegetation. We noticed that their fur is similar in color to tree bark! The deer that have been spotted have almost always been in the same area each time. We are curious if they have a nest/bed in that area.
When the leaves first fell from the trees, we noticed that they crunched under our feet. The forest was full of crunchy leaf sounds not only under our feet, but also squirrels, mice, deer, birds, and all of the life that lives on our campus! After some rain and frost, the leaves stopped crunching. Some friends noticed that the leaves were breaking apart into smaller and smaller pieces and soon will break down further into dirt.
The days are getting colder, and we are appreciating the warm sun rays that reach our classroom through the bare forest. We almost feel as if plants are going through photosynthesis, getting our energy from the sun! With the colder weather upon us, we notice many plants dying and not very much flora surrounding us. The littlest learners started using evergreens to make forts and houses. We know that evergreens stay green all year and do not lose their foliage. They make great yearlong homes for friends to play in!
As the evenings approach, the sun is setting earlier and earlier. By the time it is the end of our school day, dusk is approaching, and darkness will soon arrive. When the sun starts to set, we notice the temperature drops, and on some days, we can see our warm breaths in the cool air.
November is when we enter the beaver moon phase. This is the time of year when a beaver, like many animals, prepares their dens for winter. We do this with our homes as well. We turn on our heat, put warmer blankets on our beds, and dress our bodies in warm layers. As the cold weather approached, we could listen to our bodies and add more layers when we felt cold. This is a very important skill we must learn when attending an all-outdoor school. The beaver moon tells us to get ready for the winter season. Harvest your last bit of food from your garden, and store what you can prepare not only your physical home but also your body (your soul’s home) for the cold season approaching. This moon also reminds us to give gratitude for the things we have and for the people, we share our lives with. The littlest learners spend a lot of time talking about things we are grateful for. Each day we shared with friends something we gave thanks for. Lots of friends were grateful for their families, pets, games, toys, and friends. We were also reminded to be grateful for simple things such as food, water, shelter, and of course, love.
We are very excited to enter into the winter season with our bodies warm, our hearts full of love, and our brains growing with knowledge (We also would not mind having some snow to play in)!