January’s Littlest Learners Nature Notes

The littlest learners noted that January was full of rain! The pitter-patter of rain became a very familiar sound for us during our lessons and mealtime. With so much rainfall, it left our trails muddy and slippery. Since our classroom is up a hill, the littlest learners had to practice their balance and mindfulness each day, we hiked up and down. There is a spot called dirt slide in our classroom. This is a part of the trail that has turned into a slide for the littlest learners. The excess rain made dirt slide extra slippery, and everyone loved sliding down because it went extra fast! It was tricky and took lots of patience to climb up, but it was worth it for the fun it created on the way down.

We also had some very cold and below-freezing temperatures. Ice crystals were a very popular discovery! Ice crystals are called ice needles, and they form from groundwater that seeps out and meets the below-freezing air. The littlest learners had fun collecting these and seeing how many they could find! In the mornings, when we would arrive at school, pots and pans that were filled with water the day before had now become filled with ice! Whenever ice is trapped in a pot, it becomes a fun experiment to try and get it out. Rocks and sticks are used as tools to try and dig out the ice. Some friends even created a ”machine” to get the sun to melt the ice and then allow the melted ice (water) to leave the pot down a tube and into another collection container.

One morning it was so frosty on the ground that we were able to see footprints left behind by birds visiting our schoolyard! Many birds are still present around the farmstead, including songbirds and birds of prey. We have noticed multiple woodpeckers this month looking for insects. It is easier to spot them now that the trees are bare, though sometimes the bareness of our forest creates an echo when they peck. It can be tricky to identify which direction the sound is coming from. Insects became a rare sight this month with all of the rain and cold temperatures. Some friends were able to find roly-poly bugs under rotting logs keeping warm from the cool air. We have seen and heard deer in the distance on our campus.

Every time the sun decided to shine down on us, we were all very thankful for its warmth! When the sun would come out from behind the clouds, it was as if we all froze to absorb as much as we could while it was out. It felt like these moments were rare and special occasions that we did not experience very many of. Some of the littlest learners would pretend they were plants absorbing sunlight through photosynthesis.

The littlest learners are excited and hoping for more sunlight and warmer weather in February. We are hoping it will bring us some more sunny days and (of course) more rainy days for splashing and sliding! No matter the weather we will be ready for lots of exploring, playing, and learning with friends!

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