It’s happening right before your eyes! The magic of new life being created is all around us in spring. It’s a virtual bee hive of activity at the farm, so we looked up close at how flowering plants and insects work together to create the next generation. Ask your child for their view of how pollination works using names of parts of the flower we learned today. HINT: think about our homemade model. Pollinating is sticky business and pretty complex, but your child should have a general sense that pollen is moved from Anther to Stigma and joins with egg cells to make seeds (Coles notes version). Use nature journals as a guide and see if your child knows the role of the male and female parts of the flower. Do flowers really have eggs cells? WOW!!!
We all love flowers but we didn’t really understand the true wonder that they are. Are many trees also flowering right now? Which ones (willow, pear, maple…)? Ask about our flower hike and how we created a wildflower band around our wrists. What guided us in knowing if we could pick a flower or not? (indigenous knowledge to take only what is in abundance) Why is this important to remember (flowers are needed to create seeds)? You will see our wildflower creations coming home next week.
What is this plant and why would we not pick it?
Along the tree friend trail we stopped at some familiar nest spots to see if new life had burst forth just like the pollen flowers. Tiny, naked chicks seem so vulnerable. Have your child describe the chicks and what they think will happen before we see them again (more feathers, dangers, feeding). Life cycles are something we love to witness and weave together; bees pollinate …plants make seeds...bird eat seeds to raise chicks.; all things are connected.
Our spot for snack at Pine Haven was perfectly timed. We were all hungry and had the chance to listen to a fascinating story about eggs. An Egg is Quiet by Aston & Long is one of a series which brings revelations about everyday things to people of all ages. These books are so worth another read, slowly, with time to look at the wonder of eggs big and small around the world.
We make choices at nature school and today we used blind voting. See if you can get a description of this process and what they chose for an activity. You will either hear more about nest building creations or nest finding explorations. Side trips sometimes bring us to unexpected places.
Sit spot is going to be one of our new daily routines. Chat about how your child might choose a good spot to be solo and enjoy some time to reflect. Maybe they can tell you what they noticed or thought about during this quiet alone time. Why is sit spot time important for all of us?
Lunch and wander was filled with cooperation, new companions and muscle work. See what your child was up to! Did they choose lunch or play first? Some had to be reminded to eat as the water was brimming with life and garlic mustard needed pulling. We are seeing new friendships blossoming just like the flowers, check out this soapy clap at the wash station.
Or a challenging climb with friends up white pine.
A new sketch will be in your child’s book. Homework for all is to colour the dandelion so it looks real. We will be learning more about this versatile plant next week.
What can't you ask for, is super exciting, and requires you to be very still? CAMOFLAUGE! I'm sure you'll hear about the strategies to avoid detection.
Acorn thinks throwing his hat in the opposite direction he travels will throw Coyote off his scent. Ooops, it ended up in the willow tree!
Hiking back we met up with the horses who were ready for carrots. What horse did your child give their treat to?
Back at the farm it was journal time. Walk through the parts of the flower, you can even play with this new vocabulary so it becomes familiar. Anther, like Antler - sticks out and is a male part like the buck. We are building nature literacy and opening new doors for curious children to walk through. Future scientists maybe?
Your younger child may have made a craft that they would love to share with you. This bee prop can be used on walks to move through the pollination process.
We loved meeting our new nature mentor in training (Laynee/Badger), who is at UWO in the faculty of education. She adds some nice spark to our group and carries heavy loads with ease. We always rely on Daisy (Kim) to put on her seasoned teacher hat and steer us in the right direction. Daisy knows when we need a change or break, and loves to find any of our missing things like hats and sunglasses. Enjoy taking time to review this big learning day in detail to help your child verbalize what they saw and heard at nature school.
Stay cool until next week Forest Friends:)