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At Buddings, the natural world is our biggest inspiration, and on Tuesdays, Denet is leading our favourite class!
Our forest pen-pal, Polly the Fairy, has been sending us letters, describing the changes and beauty of the autumn, and her preparations for the long, cold winter to come…
Tuesdays from 1 – 4pm
This season, on Tuesdays we have been having so much fun at our Nature Club. We have been learning so much about how to take care of our planet and why this is important. We’ve been learning a lot about what happens during the fall!
We’ve learned about what happens to trees and animals during fall. Why do trees lose their leaves? Why do some trees never lose them? How are these trees called? Why do some animals leave when it’s starting to get cold? and so many other questions.
On Tuesday October 20th, Polly sent us a tiny letter letting us know that she’s not sad anymore and that she’s actually enjoying this new season. She explained that not all of the animals migrate to different places and that some do stay and that made her very happy.
Polly told us she met a new friend. He is an owl called “Benny the Barrel owl”. Benny told Polly that all of his friends stay in British Columbia. Polly sent us a photo of Benny and we learned a little bit more about this beautiful animal.
We decided to make owls made up from pine cones which we have collected on one of our field trips. Children loved creating their own owls. We made adult owls and baby owls, of course. We loved our owls so much that we decided to make them a house at Buddings and placed it in our Nature Club space. To learn how fall happens and a little bit more about the seasons; we’ve also been using different books that explain it in a fun way what can we find and what can we do during fall season.
Soon the fall season will be over soon and our programs at Buddings will be talking about different winter celebrations around the world starting in December. Polly the fairy sent us one of her last letters today. But before she says: ”see you later!” we still have one more Tuesday at our Big Kids Nature Club before she hibernates.
Well done big kids! See you next Tuesday.
Fall brings pumpkins, and of course, a celebration teachers at Buddings love: Halloween!
We’ve been learning a lot about fall and a big part of fall is of course dressing up during Halloween and carving pumpkins. Children have been talking a lot about it and how their costumes are going to look. So, I thought the pumpkin topic was perfect for this week.
Last Tuesday we learned lots about this fruit and we even carved one up. When we sat for Big Kids Club we received a letter from Polly the fairy saying she had placed a pumpkin somewhere around Buddings, but forgot where she left it! So we went on a pumpkin hunt. We were looking for it until one of the children said “It’s right here!” It was right under the art sink. We all start singing “We found the pumpkin, we found the pumpkin..” They were really excited.
We went back to Big Kids Club and sat on a floor and sang a song called: “Five little pumpkins” and of course danced it out a couple times. After that, we read two books to learn more about pumpkins and how to carve one.
When it was time to carve the pumpkin I had some very special helpers. Some of the children weren’t so convinced about pulling the seeds out but in the end they all gave it a try by using a spoon. Some children like Emily decided to use their hand and didn’t care about getting their hands a bit sticky.
These are some of the things we learned about pumpkins:
- When to plant the seeds? Seeds need to be planted during spring time by making little hills in the soil and placing two or three seeds in each hill.
- How long can pumpkin vines grow? They can grow as long as 9 meters.
- We make moats around pumpkin hills but, why? Moats help the soil stay wet. Wet soil is good for the seeds. It keeps them from drying out.
- During summer yellow flowers appear and bees spread pollen from one flower to another. Female flowers have a bump and it will grow to be a pumpkin one day.
- Pumpkins take about one hundred days to grow. The biggest pumpkin can gain up to 25 pounds in a day.
- During fall season cool air and short days tell the pumpkins to stop growing. Their skin turns orange (most of the time) and the leaves turn yellow. It’s harvest time!
- Most ripe pumpkins are orange, but some kinds are green, white, blue, or red.
- All pumpkins are green when they first begin to grow.
It was a fun way to learn about pumpkins. See you all on our next Tuesday for more nature adventures!
Every Tuesday will be all about fairies, gnomes and exploring fall season! Our Big Kids’ Nature Club has been going really good. Our first adventure was to Charleston Park which is located very near to Buddings. Our nature explorers of the day were: Valentina, Gaby, Daniela and Avalon.
Before starting Big Kids’ Club we found a letter outside Buddings from a fairy called Polly introducing herself. It was a very nice surprise because we saw the letter just before the field trip began. The girls were so excited they even made a fairy song for Polly the fairy. We looked for her everywhere as well, but couldn’t find her.
When we got to the park we realized some of the trees’ leaves were changing colors and starting to fall. We talked about what can we see around us that it’s changing and of course collected lots of nature treasures which we used later on for our nature art class.
Polly the fairy told us she needed a better house to keep her warm during this fall season so we decided to built a house for her and made a small habitat with plants and things she would like . She told us in one of the letters she’s been getting a bit sad now that some of her friends have left to warmer places and we, of course, read some books which explained us what happens to some of the animals during fall.
She’s been writing the children letters every Tuesday and children have been learning everything about fall with her help. They get really excited when they find a letter from her and everyone wants to open it.
Last Wednesday was Earth Day, a time for reflection on how our daily choices affect our home, planet Earth. When things get busy it’s easy for this day to come and go without much thought, I know I have missed many a Earth days in the past. This year, I had the pleasure of celebrating Earth Day with the inquisitive preschoolers at Buddings.
I reflected on what we might do that would be meaningful to kids of this age group filling them with a sense of respect for their planet.
It seems like a big concept…a world of finite resources that we humans need to take care of to ensure future generations can enjoy clean air, clean water, and a clean environment. So how do we get our children to care about the environment? Here are a few suggestions:
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At Buddings, we’ve found that having characters that guide us on our explorations makes everything more fun and interesting.
For our nature program, our friend Stinky the Frog shares his knowledge with the kids, and a lot of funny stories too!
Kids seem to be a lot more engaged and connected when Stinky shares lessons about protecting the environment… he shares with them how garbage in the pond affects the frogs and the kids are immediately concerned.
But you don’t need a puppet to tell a story….if you see a bird come up with a story about it with your child. Make up a name for the animal, think about the family they might have and then go from there. Talking in generalities about protecting the environment for all the animals is much less meaningful to a young child than protecting the pond that their friend Ella the duck lives in.
Watch Things Grow
Planting seeds with young children is an amazing experience for them….the connection between a seed growing into a plant, the science of what a plant needs to grow and be healthy, the nurturing of the plant…all these are beautiful lessons and hands-on experiences that young children will be amazed by.
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Again this seems like a big concept for preschoolers. Surprisingly, kids pick up on the fact that garbage does not belong in nature at quite a young age. Recently, on our trip to Pacific Spirit Park, we noticed a bunch of coffee cups thrown on the grass behind the bus stop. The kids were appalled:
“That’s so dirty! Why did they throw that there?” It’s not a big leap from here to discussing how garbage can be harmful to animals.
As far as reusing items…preschoolers are experts at this. Our bin of egg cartons, kleenex boxes, and water bottles is often the most exciting part of our art area, and it leads to some very creative 3D art projects. Tin cans become drums, old chopsticks become magic wands….it doesn’t take much for a young child to find a new creative use for an item. As adults we can model this too by storing small toys or food items in lidded containers or by using newspaper to line your compost bucket.
Recycling is another activity that kids love to help with. Preschoolers are more than capable to sort items and help throw them in the proper bins and bags. Adding a little lesson to this already fun task is not a stretch, rather it makes the task meaningful.
“When we reuse and recycle things, we make less garbage. This means that animals and plants will have clean places to grow!” Most kids love animals, so connecting how animals are affected by garbage is an easy way to get them to care.
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The smell of flowers, the sounds of a rock splooshing into the pond, the feeling of sand in between your fingers and toes, the sight of a spider spinning a web, the sweet taste of berries picked fresh off the blackberry bush; nature provides amazing experiences for all our senses. In Vancouver we are blessed to have parks all around us! Notice trees and how they change through the seasons, pick up leaves, watch slugs and squirrels…there is so much for a curious young mind to explore outside
Taking kids out in natural environments is the best way for them to develop those feelings of love and respect for nature that will last a lifetime.