October’s Littlest Learners Nature Notes

It was our second full month of the school year and it was much more settled in and connected to each other, to our spaces, and our rhythms. One of our repeating rhythms is Moon Club (which is from Wilderchild) and guides us through the phases of the moon, their emotional/ reflective/ growth attributes as well as sharing the moon’s names all in a joyfully educational way.  During the new moon, we do moondalas and talk about the emotional theme; which for us was rebuilding during our Beaver moon. During the first quarter moon, we share a full moon story and a good deed/ random act of kindness to try and complete and for the full moon, we celebrate with a craft or more involved themed activity. It is during the last quarter moon that we go on our phenology walk, do our sit/spots, and take time to connect, reflect changes in our classroom while wondering what is yet to come. 

During the Littlest Learners’ last phenology walk they made a lot of observations about the leaves in our forest.  While they had predicted that all the leaves would be off the trees and on the forest floor, that hasn’t happened yet and they noticed that it seemed that more leaves were on the trees than the forest floor.  One student was shocked when they came to this realization as so many leaves fell on our classroom roof it had gone from clear to black and took a lot of work to clear. They noted on rainy days the leaves can be very slippery on top of the mud and that they also make a great addition to the mud ball factory and play they established.  Back in our forest classroom, we are near what they call out here as ‘peak leaf season’. The reds of the Dogwoods and maples are radiant mixed with the bright yellow of the Tulip trees – our colors are at or nearing their peak display and we are trying to soak up all the joy and aww.

 

The Littlest Learners made some predictions about the changes we will witness and endure in our forest during the next cycle of the moon.  More cold days, not just mornings.  All leaves on the ground or at least brown.  A couple think we will see snow!  That we will see more squirrels.  Excited to see what is to come!  

 

This month we have seen warm, hot summer-like days, cold all day long winter days, and a number of days that start COLD and end HOT!  It is a wild weather time and allows us many opportunities to learn about layers and embrace the changing of the seasons that are afoot.  We observed a lot of different mushrooms and fungi; white, bright orange, brownish, and grey.  It is a great time of year to be learning about decomposers!  We did wrap up our Harvest unit partway through October switching into our Nature Detective – Animals unit which will take us all the way to our December break.  So far we have started to assess and engage them in conversations to see what they know about animals and tools of a nature detective.  During our mind map they came up with terms and ideas such as; mammals, herbivores, amphibians, carnivorous, they are living and need homes, they eat food and are food, magnifying glasses, scales, books, rulers, and so much more.  It is exciting to learn that they know so much about the topic and are excited about the unit.  I have seen it come out in their play already – they are looking for animals everywhere, they are examining things deeper and one group even played leaf detectives to see if they could find the trees the leaves came from and return them to it!

 

The very last of the Mexican sunflowers and zinnias are blooming while most other flowers are getting ready for the cold winter and are dying back, and the Littlest Learners have noticed the lack of new life in their Nature Notes. We did observe a crawdad in the creek at the start of October as well as bugs under the logs of pine play.  The yellow jackets are still abundant around when we are eating and everyone knows and is looking forward to our first few hard frosts as that will be the last time we see them until summer!

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