October’s Littlest Learners Nature Notes

The littlest learners have welcomed fall with open arms! The leaves have been falling more and more. They have become a large crunchy, crinkly, warm carpet in our classroom. The fresh fallen leaves are almost like a new toy to the students. Some endless creations and games can be made! Some of the littlest learner’s favorite things to do with leaves are create giant leaf piles to jump into, make natural art out of the colorful leaves, pretend the leaves are money, and even stick them onto sticks to create wands, cat toys, or instruments. As the leaves fall, they not only cover the ground, but lots of hidden wildlife that relies on the protection and coverage fall leaves bring. Some friends enjoy digging in the leaves to see what hidden treasures or wildlife they may find. We have discovered quite a few woolly worms (Woolley bear caterpillars) that are all black. There is an old wive’s tale that says if you find a woolly worm in the fall that has more black fur than brown fur, you will have a long harsh winter. If the woolly worm has more brown than black fur, it will be a mild winter. Only time will tell if this prediction is correct!

As the leaves fall, it is so much fun for the littlest learners to collect the leaves and try and find which trees they fell from. It is an exciting way to learn what trees are growing around our classroom and almost like a scavenger hunt created by nature! Our class has even started using the leaves as a calming technique. Find a leaf and trace it with your finger, count how many points there are on each leaf, and even make nature art with leaves. This can help us focus on the moment we are in and allow us to get back in control of our bodies or in control of our emotions.

We are noticing how far we can see due to the lack of leaves in the tree tops. From our platform, we can see the schoolyard and down into the chicken field. Noise seems to travel better without obstacles obstructing the sound waves. The sounds of other classes learning and playing fill our ears when we sit quietly. There are fewer insects buzzing around, which reminds us that winter is coming. We see squirrels and birds scurrying around to gather enough food to last through the winter. The squirrels seem so rushed that they hardly notice us as we play and learn. The once lush and green forest is now full of red, gold, orange, and brown leaves. Soon our forest will be bare, with just evergreens showing off their dark green needles.

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