~ early education care ~ where our play supports our learning

Lessons from Nature Around Us (’10)

Birding (5/28/10)
We feed the birds and provide all kinds of habitat for them, so I love that a lesson in the kindergarten classroom has brought a different educational point to our birding. The children know they are learning new things all the time just by being exposed to what they are here. However, for kindergartners there is often a more intense focus on a “school lesson”.

The Bird lesson is such an example. We worked on completing a homework bird packet together and of course some of the other children here got involved also. With resources I have on hand and the interest level of the kids, I was able to take the learning a little farther. It has continued weeks later. The children are pointing out birds and naming them or asking their names. They are following their actions – robin listening for worm and then getting it, pheobe flying into the nest on the roof overhang, birds bathing in the pool, a bluebird wacking a worm against the roof ridge to kill/clean it, birds flying on wind drafts…..

Last week while playing treasure hunt the older girls found a blue eggshell below a spruce we knew there was a nest in. SANY0391 They immediately got me to come over and we checked it out before handling it. We identified it as a robin’s egg and got out the binoculars to see if we could see activity in the nest near the top of the spruce. SANY0393 We left the egg parts where they were.

The beginning of this week while watching a chipmunk near the house the girls saw a small white eggshell in the perinnual  garden. SANY0470 They got me again. We all knew where this egg had come from – the pheobe’s nest. I let the girls gather that egg and the robin’s while I went in and got out the bird books. SANY0471 We used my book of nests to confirm the eggs belonged to the birds we thought. We also checked out what the nests and eggs of other birds in the area would look like.

They remain on the alert for more eggs shells.

(7/15/2010) Finding a Butterfly
As I have posted before, I love taking advantage of what is happening around here for learning. A perfect example occurred recently. Upon entering care one morning one of the children noticed a butterfly sitting quietly by the entrance steps. SANY0753 She came in and pointed it out to me and started to ask questions about why it was there and what kind of butterfly was it? I didn’t know, so we went and got my book on butterflies out. We located the general kind, but could not decided exactly which kind it was. That was ok – with children you don’t always need that final answer, the information we did get was enough for her. SANY0755 The rest of the day every time a butterfly or moth was seen the book came out. We saw and identified 4 other butterflies and moths. We also discussed the habitat they were seen in. Child directed learning at it’s best.

(7/2/2010) How to Gut a Fish
I try to take full advantage of what is happening around us to teach the children in my care. An example of this was yesterday afternoon when my husband arrived home from a kayaking/fishing trip with a Stripper. I’m told this is a type of ocean bass. The kids gathered round and got to do some exploring of this fish. Some scales were removed to check out. The eye was touched with lots of ohs, ahs, jumps, squeals, etc. The mouth was explored and they found out no teeth, but a tongue. These fish suck in their food supply. Gils, tail, fins, everything was checked over and they even got to hold it by the lip.

Some of the children were here when it was time to gut and filet the Stripper, so off they went to the garden. SANY0853 The garden? Yes. Why? All the fish parts will get added to the compost pile.     SANY0855 Questions asked and answered. I love this type of learning.

You just never know…..

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