May’s Nature Notes

Growth and change were big themes around the Farmstead this month. May is the last month of Littlest Learners for the school year and we have been getting ready for all of the change that we are about to experience. That change and growth have been mirrored in the emergence of new springtime creatures as we get closer to summer.

As the days have gotten longer the Littlest Learners have noticed new types of insects and other invertebrates. The dragonflies and damselflies have been especially popular. Some of the Littlest Learners imagined what it would be like to be a dragonfly. While we never noticed any dragonfly larva in the creek, we did find several stonefly larvae. Dragonfly can live in their larva form for years before maturing into their adult form. We talked about how even though dragonflies don’t need to go to school as we do, they also need time to grow and develop before being ready to move on to the next phase of their lives.

As the plant life has been coming to life, we have been doing a lot of work to maintain our trails in our forest and in our gardens. Many of the Littlest Learners gladly joined in helping us move mulch and spread it around the trails. Some used baskets, some used pots and pans, and others used their hands. They practiced collaboration skills as they worked in pairs or groups of three to spread the ‘lava’ around and made sure it filled in all of the gaps. We talked about how the trails are one way we practice stewardship of the land. When we use the trails and stay out of the wild areas, we are saving that space for nature to grow and flourish. The trails allow us to explore nature while doing as little harm as possible. The Littlest Learners’ involvement in the maintenance of the trails and deep conversations on their purpose has helped many of our students’ understanding of the boundaries and their willingness to respect them.

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