This past Friday, we welcomed Rory and her mom and little brother for a visit! Rory will be joining our PreK/K group in the Fall. She loved feeding and spending time with the goats. Robin showed us where to find one of the goats' favorite treats, Russian Olive leaves! We clipped a few and brought them over to them for a snack. Thanks so much for visiting, Rory!
We are preparing a little play for our end of year gathering and this week we talked about the role of the actors in a play and that of the narrator. Indi and Finn chose their characters and Robin is keen to narrate. That is all I can give away for now ; )
For Robin's nature lesson, we identified a type of greenbriar known as Catbriar or Wild Sasparilla. We tasted the tendrils and then, the children asked to go back over to the honeysuckle and grape leaves, two favorites from previous Robin lessons. We checked on what's growing in the garden, munching on peas, sorell, kale, chard and lettuce greens along the way. We saved some greens for our green smoothie at the end of the day, adding to it banana, strawberries and oat milk.
As part of our study of patterns in nature, we painted bright colors on one side of a large piece of paper, then folded it in half and pressed it down. When we opened it back up, we saw how the two sides were like a mirror- mirror symmetry. We will continue with these beautiful works of art to make sure everyone gets to participate.
We played with water and trucks and Indi and Finn lay and looked at books under the Juniper tree before rest time.
We are looking forward to our gathering! I'll write a separate email with details.
Have a lovely week 🌦
Our last Friday together had such a feeling of mid- Summer...hot and dusty, not quite enough ripe berries to eat- our songs familiar and comforting, our rhythm slow, our feet bare, our energies in sync.
It was lovely to have Robin with us and he and I made one of our wishes come true- to not only set up the farm stand (usually we set up and go) but to be fully present at the stand, interacting with neighbors and summer visitors on bikes or on foot. We sold eggs, herbs, zucchini, potatoes and our most popular product, True Lemon cucumber water. We brought a campfire songbook along with us and a few snacks and there we were, singing and climbing trees and every time someone passed by, the children would call out “Cucumber water, cucumber water for sale! $1!” It was so much fun : )
When we got back, we tended to our animals, harvested beans from the garden and a few of the children took a bath in the outdoor tub! Esme finally opened her belated birthday gifts and we sang her favorite songs during music.
Thank you to Alma, Olen & Jamie for joining us for the month of July! It is so nice to have new Summer friends, some who will continue with us in the Fall and others who I hope will come back and see us. Now that we are officially on summer break, I'm comforted by the idea that we may all come together again- that children will be welcome here for summers to come, no matter where their journeys take them ✴
This past Friday we gathered for our morning circle and figured out that during the break, we said farewell to February and welcomed the month of March. We are also in the midst of a seasonal shift and as we transition from Winter to Spring, there is so much to plan and look forward to! In parallel with the cyclical nature of the seasons, we are embarking on a new adventure...So,
During snack we looked closely at “The Chicken and the Egg” , a story with simple illustrations and no words to show us what happens when a chicken lays an egg and if that egg stays nice and warm, either under the chicken’s warm body or in an incubator, there is a good chance that after 21 one days or so, a baby chick will hatch!
Robin and I planned it so that the children can collect, candle, anticipate and eventually (and hopefully) be a part of the hatching process in the weeks to come. We visited the chicken coop all together and it just so happens that one of our hens was sitting on two eggs! She was kind enough to allow us to take a peek under her wing and the eggs were still warm. Carefully, we collected these and a few others in a basket and brought them inside where we have a small incubator set up. Each of the children took their turn to gently place an egg inside. Robin and I are excited to have the children be a part of our first hatching attempt! 🥚🐓
We visited the bamboo forest and clipped long branches of bamboo to drag back for a treat for the goats. We did lots of digging and transferring of dirt and water to and fro, played with trucks and painted our paper maché moons.
During lunch we read about where thunder comes from and talked about how the speed of light travels faster than the speed of sound. In this way, we can anticipate the sound of thunder after we see lightning. There was a lot of sharing between us about past storms we had experienced with different perspectives on how thunderstorms make us feel. To be continued..
Hope you are all having a lovely, wild weather week!
I think we were feeling very happy to be all back together this past Friday!
It was fun to have you all arrive and spend time by the deck construction site with the children jumping into the holes and crossing over the little bridge. I’m so pleased to have them see and be part of the process; for them to play there and to watch it be built from the ground up. As much as I possibly can, I want to involve them, so that they may feel a deeper connection to what is going on around them.
We sang our new Spring songs at a new morning circle spot- the children were curious about the boulders out in the field that we removed from the building site and one of them is large and flat and quite perfect for a little meeting place. I will include the words to our new songs below- you may have heard them by now at home.
During snack we read one of my favorite stories, "The Listening Walk" by Paul Showers and then we set out on our own listening and looking walk around the property. Robin and I asked the children to look out for the daffodils that they themselves had planted late last Fall. It was so cute to see them looking all around, the wheels turning as they tried to remember that exact location. Once they did, they pointed out with such confidence which daffodils they felt they had planted : ) We paused to close our eyes along the way, hearing the beautiful calls of Red Winged Blackbirds, Grackles, Cardinals and Robins.
And then it was time to meet Spring! Spring is our first little chick, she hatched on the first day of spring, far ahead of the rest of our chicks who (on Friday) had been in the incubator for 14 days! (Today is Day 17) It was absolutely amazing to witness the childrens' response to Spring- all rather tentative at first. Her movements are quick and a bit unexpected, so we sat for a long while to allow them all to feel more comfortable around her. By the end they were entirely charmed by her and I think you will really enjoy seeing the photos of them with her.
We candled our 14 day-old eggs and saw movement and heartbeats! Those eggs should hatch this week...........
We planted wheat grass, checked and watered our little pea plants and did some digging in the garden.
Robin is starting to teach the children which egg belongs to which chicken- his idea : )
We'll look forward to seeing you all on Friday.
And hope to see you at the Woods School meeting tomorrow at Skiff's!
Spring is coming!
Spring is Coming!
Birdies build their nests
Weave together twig and feather doing each their best
Spring is coming Spring is coming
Flowers are coming too
Daisies, Lilies, daffodillies all are coming through
Spring is coming Spring is coming
All around is fair
Shimmer glimmer on the river
Love is everywhere.
Plant the little seed in the dark dark ground
Out comes the yellow sun big and round
down comes the cool rain soft and slow
Out comes the little sprout grow grow grow!
This past Friday was a gorgeous sunny and breezy day that kept us outdoors for much of the morning and into the early afternoon.
During snack, Robin shared that he (finally!) lost his first tooth- one that had been wiggling for over a month with the new tooth fully grown in behind it. This was of great interest to the children who then felt like their own teeth were wiggling throughout the rest of the day : )
This week we learned about how the moon is like a mirror, and that the light we see when we look at the moon is reflected by the sun. We revisited our other fun moon facts- a favorite is that the moon stays in place because of Earth's gravity and then we have fun dropping items and then picturing what would happen on the moon where gravity is not as strong.
Throughout the morning, we took turns ripping and then pasting pieces of newspaper onto balloons; the first step toward making moon night lights!
Outside, we moved big pieces of driftwood to start a new shelter under the juniper tree. We did lots of digging and building of little streams, we let all of the animals out and took time to observe and approach them. The children are really at ease sharing space with the chickens and the ducks now and we managed to get the ducks up for a swim in the pond which is always a good laugh. It even felt warm enough to take off shoes and socks and feel our feet in the grass a little.
We took a break from our bread baking this week to make Valentine's cookies that we enjoyed while singing and playing drums at the closing of our day. You may be hearing some of our Valentine's Day song that goes like this:
"I made a Valentine for you and heart shape says I love you,
H-E-A-R-T H-E-A-R-T H-E-A-R-T and heart shape says I love you" : ) To the tune of B-I-N-G-O.
Happy Valentine's Day!
See you on Friday,
Our last Friday together before the Winter break was a whirlwind of wind, rain and emotions : )
Robin's good friend Eilish from Kaila's Woods School came to visit with her mom, Bryn and 3 younger sisters, Maili, Sheelah and Andy. We visited with the chickens and the ducks and had quite an adventure carrying the ducks up to the pond. We did some water play and turned an oversized box into a fort that took on various forms throughout the day; a home, a restaurant and finally a shelter from an imagined thunder storm.
Thank you for the lovely visit, Eilish and family!
We worked hard to finish the first step for our moon night lights- ripping and pasting newspaper to our balloons. The goal was to cover up every inch of space so that we could no longer see the balloon underneath. This led to the children pointing out exposed spaces on each other's balloons and by the end, they were all working together, helping one another so that it was more of a collaboration than an individual endeavor. It was a wonderful thing to watch and I know they will be keen to help Finn get caught up on his moon project after the break : ) We will continue our moon study for the last few weeks of the Winter season once back.
The possibility that rain may lead to a thunderstorm (a thunderstorm was not expected but it came out in play) brought about excitement and also some fears. And so, we decided to learn more about storms when we are back together. And shadows! (Remember when we discovered our own shadows a few weeks back?) These ideas for learning emerge so naturally in the outdoor environment- I'll look forward to expanding our understanding of weather and light this Spring : )
Before rest time, we mixed together the ingredients to make a delicious banana bread, enjoyed heartily by all during our closing circle, singing and dancing and munching away.
See you all in a couple of weeks- enjoy the break!
Reading this week: Faces of the Moon by Bob Crelin
Tiny, Perfect Things by M.H Clark
amazing Banana Bread Recipe, happens to be vegan and so delicious:
We had such a wonderful day together on Friday! The children seem to be feeling comfortable and safe in our rhythm and space- and with one another. As soon as I started to sing "Deep Inside My Heart", they gathered around for our morning circle with faces full of anticipation. Our apple poem is a hit- here are the words if you'd like to see them perform it at home:
"Wayyy up high in the apple tree,
Two little apples, smiling down at me
I shook that tree just as hard as I could
And down came the apples and Mmmmm
They were good"
Morning circle is also our time to look around and say hello to one another, to ask questions and share stories. Indi shared his bird skull that we ended up thinking could be a fish after a closer look..and he shared a special rock, too! Please send along any special items from home that you think your child may like to share with the group.
We examined our pumpkins, gourds and butternut squash again and during snack we opened the butternut squash and took a look inside, each of us sharing something we liked about it; seeds, the orange color, the smoothness and the fact that the flesh was wet.
After snack, we took a long walk and visited each of the 4 corners of the property, taking note of what each area has to offer; farm animals, a fire pit/gathering space, a pond, and the root cellar/slide/hill area. We spent a long while running and rolling down the hill, cheering one another on .
The fire pit is a fun place to play in the sand and we gathered firewood and transferred it from the stack to the fire and talked about gathering there at the end of the season perhaps, with all of you!
When we got to the pond, the children sat and waited patiently, practicing calm bodies and gentle voices so that the ducks wouldn't be too shy to come up for a swim. It is hilarious to see the ducks frolicking and cleaning their feathers in the water and while we watched them, some interesting questions came about, like "Why don't the ducks fly away?" and "Why are they shy? leading us to a lengthy conversation about animals and their temperaments and the difference between wild animals and farm animals.
Next, we visited the garden and carefully used clippers to cut flowers. We went over how to safely hold and use the clippers, and took turns giving it a try. We took our flowers back to the picnic table and made flower arrangements in little jars for the children to take home.
We had lunch and rest time inside since we had spent the morning in the blustery wind! During lunchtime we continued reading about the animals on Maple Hill farm book, going back over to the chickens and geese to recap before reading about the goats..Ah, yes, the goats! We also visited the new goat house on our walk and explored it inside and out in anticipation of the arrival of 3 little pygmy goats that the children will meet this coming Friday.
We are keeping an eye on the herbs we planted as well as on the caterpillars we found last week and hope to watch during their transition into butterflies.
At rest time we read a magical story called, "Deep In the Woods" about woodland animals working together to make a home for themselves to share.
We enjoyed roasted butternut squash at our closing circle with music, wrapping up such a full and fulfilling day!
Friday was a gorgeous day and Haile's big sister, Wren Zazie joined us for the day, making it even more filled with sunshine. She drew an amazing portrait of herself in Haile's journal, I will ask her if I can share it with you next
week : )
Esme and Indi we missed you and we can't wait to have you back with us!
During our morning circle we continued to identify and examine our fall veggies: Pumpkin, butternut squash, gourd and this week we added a potato, a sweet potato and beans. We considered their shape & weight, whether they were smooth, rough, bumpy, heavy etc.. We played a game where we put our hands behind our backs and tried to guess which veggie was placed in our hand and honestly, I didn't know how this would go but it was so fun and everyone got it, (adorably so!) and even closed their eyes to be more focused. We continued our practice of looking at one another to say "hello" and perhaps ask a question to a friend or make an observation like, I notice you are wearing run shoes!"
During snack we read "All Year Long" by Nancy Tafuri and we sang the months of the year song while looking at each picture, focusing in particular on the Fall months and the transition to Winter.
We shelled our beans and put them in a pot and added chicken stock. They boiled away on the stove inside all morning. We made beautiful leaf rubbings with wax crayons, rebuilt the fairy house (with the twisty branches), played with trucks and filled up the pond with water for the ducks.
The goats joined us to pick and munch on Autumn Olives and then we brought some to the chickens for a treat. The ducks took a nice swim and then gave us a giggle when they waddled home.
Before our rest, we read "The Tiger Who Came to Tea" by Judith Kerr about a tiger who, rather casually, comes for tea and a mother and her daughter host him graciously despite his eating everything in the house. We enjoyed our beans with tamari during our closing circle with the sun shining down- much needed nourishment for us all. You may hear a Halloween song or two in the next couple of weeks!
See you on Friday,
About Woods School Aquinnah
Woods School Aquinnah is a new Preschool/Kindergarten program- acting as a bridge between the Skiff's Lane and Allen Farm programs. This past year, Laura hosted school on Fridays on her homestead in Aquinnah, in anticipation of the full time Prek/K beginning in the Fall of 2023. You can find a collection of her weekly email updates in the blog.