October was a peaceful month of settling in and group play for the Explorers! October was ushered in with the second full moon of our school year, the Hunter Moon. The Hunter moon is named for the time of the year when our ancestors would hunt and stock up in preparation for the coming winter. Nowadays, we don’t have to do quite as much to get ready for winter, but the changes the Explorers noticed in our classroom and across the Farmstead certainly give us plenty of opportunities to prepare and get us excited for the changing seasons!
The month started out warm and dry. Leaves started changing early this month, and it was an exciting part of our forest classroom for us to observe throughout the month! Every day we noticed more and more leaves falling. We loved how beautiful the trees looked in the sun during our morning stump circle discussions and how the yellows and reds glowed like fire in the afternoon sun. The kids play a game where you get to make a wish if you catch a leaf as it’s falling, making the windy October days super fun and filled with kids squealing! Fall leaves also provided lots of teaching tools as we finished up our Plants unit. We used green leaves at the beginning of the month to create chlorophyll art projects, gathered fallen leaves to press for future projects and to help us identify trees in our classroom, and also expanded our understanding of symmetry and fractions by looking at the shape of leaves! By the end of the month, trails that were cleared of leaves in the morning were covered again by the afternoon, and the tarp roof of our classroom was constantly showered with freshly fallen leaves. And, even though there are new leaves falling every minute, the kids noticed that there were still many, many more left on the trees.
October stayed very dry this year, and the kids noticed that our nature space is starting to be dusty and that the dead fallen trees are really easy to break apart. We still saw lots of animal friends over the month! We spotted several Eastern Fence Lizards perfectly camouflaged on fallen logs, another Eastern Box Turtle, and more of our favorite red toads around our space. We watched busy woodpeckers (Downy and Red-Bellied) ready themselves for the cold weather, and a chipmunk friend returned several days to the same hole in a tree!
Warm days turned cooler as the month went on, giving the Explorers a chance to prepare for the colder weather with our clothes and gear. The big temperature swings during transition seasons like Fall and Spring remind us how important layers are and being prepared for all kinds of weather since things can change dramatically from drop-off to pick-up. We practiced gearing up and down and making sure we had everything we needed for the day before hiking into our classroom. The Explorers also love that our view is changing from our forest classroom and that we can see the Littlest Learners and the schoolyard better now with the leaves down. We’ve started a new unit on Animals and are excited to see how the plants and animals we share our space with continue to change over the coming months!