The morning of April 16, we had a temperature as low as 21 degree in some places in Celo. Many flowering trees and bushes needed special care to fight this hursh course of nature. When we walked to Peggy and Clark's garden, Barb said, "Look at those icicle trees!". Children first didn't realize what she meant, but as we got closer their eyes became very big. "Icicles in spring time? Can we eat them?", Opal said. Peggy explained that Clark started a sprinkler at 2 or 3 o'clock in the morning to insulate the maple trees with ice. One tree got so heavy with ice that it needed a support even. Pictures taken by Polly.
Mari is helping Annelise learn how to cross 'the bridge' on her own by holding on to the branch. Annelise seemed quite proud once she realized she could 'do it by myself'- her new favorite thing to say.
Theo spent a lot of time exploring the creek's water, rocks, and floating leaves with a stick.
Matias caught me taking a picture during our Easter egg hunt on our hike today and decided to make a silly face:)
Pictures and words by Rachel
What a wonderful visit we had at the Sheep farm! Farmer Ben showed us 10 yews, their lambs, a friendly donkey named Lulu, and colorful chickens. These sheep are raised for meat production and not for wool. When Ben explained frankly that the only way we can have meat to eat is to raise the animals for meat. Children agreed with him and said "yum!". Cosmo uttered "she has udders!" and "Udders make milk" when we entered the space with a yew and three days old lambs. The children were calm and respectful to the animals, and I wonder if it is because we have a regular visit with guinea pigs. We enjoyed the walk through the wooded path to and from the farm and enjoyed the sunny picnic snack. When we left the farm, David said "... But we didn't get to see Naomi". (Ben and Cedar's daughter Naomi was at preschool a few years ago.) We were so thankful to Ben and Cedar for letting us come and meet the animals. Ben and Cedar run Goldfinch Garden and provide lots of fresh vegetable to the South Toe community.
On Friday, March 7, preschool children were visited by two sweet kitty cats. We have been experiencing how touching animals are not only fun but have calming effect to people. Well, kitty cats visit were little bit different from guinea pigs visit. The kitties were very curious and would not sit very still. It turned into "chase the kitties" game (and teachers playing "chase the children"). Some of the children watched a kitty use the litter box. We enjoyed making the kitty toys for them to play with (turned out that kitties were more interested in exploring preschool than chasing the toys we made). Thank you Rachel and Annelise for bringing the kitties to the fun Show and Tell! Let's try it again!?
What a fun spring field trip to Appalachian Therapeutic Riding Center! Children learned to brush a horse using a few different types of brushes. I noticed that even though they were so excited, once they stood next to the horse, they were so focused, and became calm and peaceful. The horse's name was Midnight. After children brushed Midnight, we watched Midnight do tricks. There were cones, bars, and a barrel placed on the ground, and Miika led Midnight to walk through the obstacles. Then Miika asked children to do what Midnight did. The children took it very seriously and performed very well(They each had a pretend horse while doing this). We also learned what horses ate (grain, hay, apples). They each wore a helmet and rode on a wooden horse (very cool with some recycled materials). We went to a classroom and we sang songs about horses and did some activities related to horse with a volunteer, Kristin. We went on a nice walk to see other horses in the pasture. ATRC has 8 horses altogether. The weather was so beautiful and everyone had a wonderful time. It is basically David's second home, so while other children were being exposed to new things, he wrote "I love mom" on a sandy ground. More pictures!
Spring is getting closer! We found frog eggs at Bethany's Garden on Feb. 26. We have heard frogs making interesting sounds 5 days before that. According to last year's note (2013), frog eggs were found on Jan. 31. And a year before that in 2012, first frog eggs were found on Feb. 7. Anyway, the children were so excited! We gently tore a small cluster and too it back to the preschool. Frog eggs were then placed in a bowl of water for us to observe. On Feb 28, instead of a black round body inside the jelly like cell, it was elongated and made a U shape. Children observed the difference in shape. On March 4, children saw that they were wiggling and trying to come out of the jelly like eggs. Before we left for a walk, one of them had finally come out of the egg! We sang happy birthday to the tadpole. Now we have to start getting fresh algae for them to eat! We found that it is very hard to count tadpoles because they wiggle and move around the bowl now. There are about 20 of them, I think!
Children love snow! The impressive snow from yesterday is still here, and children are having the best time. Opal and Cosmo were back and forth being inside the igloo and underneath the slide structure. They were visiting "houses". Theodore enjoyed walking on the shoveled path back and forth. He picked up a stick and used it to poke the pile of snow on a stump. Ginger was with Polly who was straightening the preschool for the end of the week, so there were only three children. Three can be a tricky number sometime, but the environment invites them to be playful and friendly to each other (there is plenty of snow and we don't have to take turns playing in the snow!) Opal came to give pushes when Theodore was in the swing set. She started to play "Got ya" game with Theo. He smiled and showed his cute dimple on his cheek.
Old Man Winter must have had a fun play day with Big Chief North Wind! We had an 8 inches of snow on Thursday morning. Mari skied to preschool and took pictures of the playground. Cosmo and Mari had a special time playing in the snow. Cosmo wanted to build an igloo, so we used a big plastic container to make blocks to make igloo walls. Cosmo said, "It takes a lot of work to build an igloo". It was so different to be in the playground when you can't even find a path! While we were digging the snow to make blocks, we found many buried objects in the snow- shovel, ball, scoop etc. It was like a treasure hunt. Cosmo wanted himself to be buried and be dug out like a treasure too. We made snow angles and imagined that they would fly to say hello to friends who could not come to preschool because of the snow. Cosmo also wanted the angels to fly to "Na-na" (his grandmother).
We are excited that Barb Perrin started to volunteer on Wednesdays at the Children's Garden. Her calm and relaxing manners have been appreciated by children. She reads stories to children and helps us with getting dressed and going for a walk, but the funnest part of having Barb is that she brings Guinea Pigs for the children to pet. Barb brings out Guinea Pigs during a circle time. After a few visit, children learned to be more gentle and not to be afraid of them, and Guinea Pigs learned to be more relaxed and friendly with children too. On the third visit, Guinea Pigs ate apples right off children's hands, AND pooped on the floor! Vera said "Mari, quick! Go get the scat book!" so we compared the color, the size and the shape with other animal scats. We listened to the sounds when Guinea Pigs crunch the apple pieces. We also learned that Guinea Pigs has three fingers on the front feet and four on the back feet! We are looking forward to learning more about Guinea Pigs. Thank you so much Barb for the opportunities for us to look closely to fuzzy friends!
When I woke up in the morning, I think the temperature said -7F. By 10:45am, it was 22F. We bundled up and we went for a walk. The powdery snow made a beautiful frosting over Polly's hat and her hair. Opal said "On the way to preschool, we saw a snowplow". David traced a foot print of a small dog (?) checking the creek on the bridge on Joyce and Gil's drive way. It looked like the dog jumped off from the bridge to the bank to drink water. We traced a bigger dog (?) walking the same direction where we were going by Sandy Field. Mattias noticed a rhythmical sounds of snow chain on a Blossom Oil Company truck going down the hwy 80s. We met a mail deliverer and Sam and Anne talking a walk. They told us that Pete Seeger passed away the night before. We sang "Turn Turn Turn" song together.
Our walk to Peggy's Garden takes place on Fridays. Children love to run down the big hill down to Peggy's cabin and walk on the stumps. I tell them that we have to be quiet as a mouse to go around the house because baby Opal might be sleeping. Children enjoy visiting a statue at the base of the huge oak tree that spreads limbs wide in the front yard. I tell them to put their palm together to greet the statue. One preschooler calls the statue "princess". Then we go to feed the ducks in the small pond. The ducks are so happy when children feed them left over sandwich pieces. Sorry we could not get the pictures of ducks. (while trying to do so, we had a little girl trying to swim with the ducks!)
Preschool went to AMS Fall Festival on October 16th. We had a wonderful walk through the woods, field, and over hand-built bridges to get to AMS. When we got there it was almost our snack time, so we joined the biscuit making activities. Children measured, stirred, added and mixed all the ingredients. David rolled the dough and everyone helped cut into round shape. Julia and Opal moved the dough very carefully into the cookie sheet to bake. While it was baking, we ground some wheat into flour. Cosmo and Mattias especially enjoyed turning the handle to grind the wheat. Needless to say, we had a tasty snacktime. Brad brought us a warm fresh apple cider that was just pressed to go with our snack! We then made felted "pumpkins" with Kristen. Children felt fluffy wool turn into felted ball (or almost) by rolling them in their hands and putting them into soapy water.
Children was invited to dig Jerusalem Artichoke with Kevin. Kevin put good effort to make this activity child friendly. "We are going to dig for a treasure!" He and Micah helped children use an adult sized fork. David and Vera especially enjoyed finding interesting shaped edible tubers! They didn't want to stop!
We went to see chickens and turkeys. We climbed up on gravel mountain. We sampled garden mint. Then, we rode on a hayride! Up the hill and down, we enjoyed watching the autumn scenery. Vera told everyone that she is going to be a princess for Halloween. Then we went to look for pumpkins that were hiding on the trail back to soccer field where met the parents. We had fun comparing each others' pumpkins, hiding them again in the leaves, and making pumpkin heads! It was such a fun morning! Thank you Arthur Morgan School for this wonderful event!
We had a lovely walk to Becky's Garden. Becky came out to say hello to children as usual. She always has interesting stories to tell us, or informs us with names of certain plants. This day, she showed us a plant (common name "money plant" that went to seeds. She showed us how to peel layers to get to the seeds. There is a separating sheet it looks like a silvery full moon. She told us the scientific name is "lunaria". Vera especially enjoyed finding the moon, and she kept the seeds for planting.
The brown horse "cowboy" came running to say hello to us. We brought apple and pear cores left from our snack time to feed the hourses (white one is not pictured). Julia, Cosmo, and Vera enjoyed feeding them. Mari helped their hand to shape like a "plate" and she put apple core on the "plate". They giggled as cowboy licked off the food from their hands. Other children enjoyed watching.
On the way back, we walked by Fuller's house. Children played peek-a-boo with each other. Cosmo and Mattias loves to play "riding on a bus", at the base of a big trees. Vera has a favorite tree to climb. We checked out many mushrooms along the way.
We are having beautiful fall days. On Tuesdays, we have been taking a small basket to pick up "fall treasures". There are so many beautiful fall leaves. We see red berries,fresh acorns, and purple asters. We have been tasting watercress at Tibbit's Garden. We have been carrying a small mirror to see the underside of mushrooms. Today Julia said, "let's see if this mushroom has gills or pores".
Children wear rain pants in nearly every walk to protect clothes from dampness. We had real rain and children were so happy to jump over puddles and make "Harvest Soup" in a sandbox from rain water.
We had a fun walk in the snow. Micah has been volunteering during his spring break, and he pointed out a few animal tracks in the snow for the children to see. Micah used to come to preschool when he was three so he remembers the fun outdoor time. David made a big snow ball, Vera made snow angels, and Emmet found an ice from the pipe that normally has a small stream of water coming into the pond.
On January 31, we found frog eggs (we think), at the Tibbit's pond. We carefully scooped one cluster out to bring back to preschool. They looked so clear and beautiful. Since then, round black bodies in the eggs have started to elongate and some of them are moving their tail. We are excited to watch the stages of this development. Peek in if you are interested!
January 9th 2013 . When we got to Meema and Peepa"s pond today, it was all frozen! The first few children just stood there in gaze. Normally, we see a trickle of water going into the pond from a black pipe, but today there was a chunk of ice formed in interesting shape. Emmet threw a stick which slid across the pond. David was determined to pokie machine break the ice, so we asked Meema if we could throw a big rock. It made a big sound and crushed through the ice. Other children threw pieces of ice over the pond.
We have been enjoying seeing the abundance of mushrooms on our slots online walk. Some of the older children learned to use the mirror to check out the underside of the cap. Here we are checking to see if this one has gills or pores.