The artist Andy Goldsworthy creates art in and from nature. Using leaves, icicles, sticks, stones, water, etc. he forms structures and patterns of symmetry and beauty. The students collected natural items or used some already gathered items and created their own natural works of art in the style of Andy Goldsworthy. The Andy Goldsworthy documentary Rivers and Tides is a beautifully peaceful exploration of Andy at work and is available from some streaming services for free.
We read The Giving Tree and Once There Was a Tree and discussed what trees give us and how they are necessary for life and the children shared many valuable resources that trees provide. They created quite a comprehensive list, including oxygen, shade, shelter, food, paper, books, houses, tables, shelves, chairs, flooring, tree houses, homes for animals, food for animals, pencils, doors, toys, fire, etc. We examined tree cookies and discussed how to determine the age of a tree. We counted the rings on a tree cookie and learned that it was over 20 years old.
The children worked on raking leaves into piles for jumping and tossing. We were surprised to find a giant pile in the middle of the yard on Wednesday morning, and everyone had a glorious time throwing them up, burrowing down, and raking them back into a pile all over again. Everyone was thoroughly littered with leaf debris by the end of the day! When we were done we began raking and dumping them over the fence so they can decompose into soil.
During Sign Language with Rose we reviewed the letters a-n and learned o-t. We also reviewed our times of day signs, I, you, and learned how, fine, am/is/are and the phrases “How are you?” and “I am fine” and sang and signed the Good Morning song.
We had special visitors on Thursday. Wolfgang the wolf and Henrietta the hen are good friends, and they came to talk to us about friendship. They shared some of their favorite stories, Friends by Helme Heine and Same, Same but Different and talked about how to make friends, how friends don’t always agree but will compromise and take turns, how we are the same in some ways, and different in others, and how some of us are outgoing and friendly, like Henrietta, but others of us are shy and reserved, like Wolfgang. Henrietta chatted with an old friend from last year, and Wolfgang made a new friend.
Kindergarten students have continued their number pattern work on the fence and with Cuisenaire rods. They began counting by 10’s and got all the way up to 50 (even though we just passed day 20)! They created Ees out of evergreens and Ffs out of ferns and flowers to go with their apple Aas, bark Bbs, cone Ccs, and dirt Dds.
Friday students read The Life of a Log and examined some dead logs, including one that had decomposed into a rich, dark soil. They created a compost pot to watch in the classroom by adding soil, water, leaves, and food scraps to a large jar. They checked out the big fallen log in the back corner of the play area that crashed to the ground many years ago and this year began breaking down into smaller pieces. We noticed that it is quite soft and spongy and is riddled with insect trails. We tipped over two rotting stumps to see the bottoms, where lots of decomposition is taking place thanks to fungi, insects, and worms, which we found hiding underneath. The students also discovered a tiny cold toad resting in the dark, damp space, which we released to an area where it could burrow back down safely.
We began to build an outdoor compost bin by screwing together some donated wooden pieces for a frame. We will continue to work on this project next week before placing it outside our fence to collect our leaf litter and food scraps.
The students decided to help the logs along on their decomposition journey by kicking and hammering away to tear them into smaller pieces, which they collected for a bonfire =). They had a glorious time and were so patient and thoughtful allowing friends to take nice long turns while encouraging and observing them.