In the classroom, we have been learning about animal tracks. This week we set off for a nature walk in 'the forest' to see if we could find any tracks made by the animals that live there. We found so many wonderful tracks! There were some mice tracks that led to a decaying and almost hollow log. Could mice be living there right now? We found rabbit tracks made by the rabbits that we frequently see hopping around in our vegetable garden. We also found squirrel tracks. We searched for deer tracks but did not find any this time. It was so calm and quiet when we were surrounded by the trees in the woods. The children had so much fun exploring and could have stayed in the forest forever.
We have a woodpecker that frequents our property. He has been pecking holes in one of our pine trees. We found fresh shavings around the tree but did not see him during our nature walk. He did show up at school the following afternoon and many of the children were able to see and hear him pecking away.
The snow most days this week was powdery as the weather was so cold. One day, the weather warmed up and the powdery snow turned into packing snow! All of us, teachers and children, got busy making snowmen. It was great fun and wonderful exercise. Here are some of the snowmen we made.
We, like Maria Montessori, believe that the child under six should have many intimate and direct experiences in nature, not merely a knowledge of it. Early outdoor experiences establish a relationship to the natural world for life. The children at our school are fortunate to be immersed in the natural world daily ~ from our natural playround with its towering pine trees, grass, insects, wildlife and vegetable garden, to 'the forest' that we visit often. The joy and delight they experience as they discover their natural world forges a deep attachement and a lasting relationship with our earth.