Like meeting a long time friend after an absence, we greet the trees that will become even more familiar and cherished. Our relationship with trees is deep and elemental. As one child put it, 'trees are why we get to live'. Another added that we make a 'good trade with trees, they give us what we need and we give what they need back to them'. Watch your child's tree literacy blossom over this year of connecting with trees at nature school.
Through rediscovering trees we also connect with new friends through trust and adventure.
Ask your child what trees they landed on as a songbird trying to avoid the circling hawk. What happened as the game progressed and did this make it harder to survive? (hint: paper birch, red pine, horsechestnut, lilac, gingko, tulip).
We learned how to read trail markings on trees to find our way. See if your child can show you how to draw these blazes, maybe using chalk on trees during your next nature walk. This can be turned into a great home scavenger hunt or fun child-lead hike this week.
Mystery Forest is still a favourite spot to visit. Dragonfly read a wonderful book that invites readers into the mind of trees and shows how they sense their world. See if you can find out some of the things trees might see, hear, taste, touch, and smell in the forest.
Grandmother Maple, our old silver centenarian, stands with her clay eyes, hair, and nose but no mouth. Today we imagined her experiences and the expressions that might come when a squirrel chews her bark or fresh rain falls after a period of drought. Tamarack, our clay expert, led us in making our own faces, which will be fired and ready to add when we visit Mystery Forest over and over again. The kids will have fun choosing an expression to suit the day.
It was so great to see Mrs Eastman (Grey Squirrel) back at the library. You may have an application in backpacks to bring back next week so your child can start book shopping! One of our two stories today showed how a child's love for a particular tree can lead to some amazing creativity to save it. Ask for an oral retell of this gem of a tale.
Wander time allows us to creep, roll and discover hidden places. There was a moment when every child was camouflaged in trees, grass or flowers. Get all the stories about this crowd favourite time.
We all have created our own tree field guide which gives us a place to catalogue new knowledge and add some identifying artifacts.
For the final hour our group divided big/little for some deeper tree learning. One group looked at three species of maple and their features (sugar, norway, silver) and added Sugar Maple to their guide. See if you can get some detailed description of how we distinguish this Canadian icon from the others.
Our second group had time with Osprey, learning a new song and delving into the skill of sketching trees. You should have the song and picture in backpacks to spark this conversation.
It was a full day filled with surprises, wonder, happiness, and connection with new friends and old ones. We can't wait to continue this learning journey next week Forest Friends.
Thank you to our team this week, Dragonfly, Big Raccoon, Osprey, Cricket and Tamarack. Your kids are surrounded by amazing nature mentors to guide their path!