|"The leaf looks bigger! "I see lines and dirt."|
Preschoolers learn rapidly from what interests them. When learning is driven by interest, information is more easily retained and strong synaptic connections are made. Many Forest Preschoolers were drawn to pile, move, and build with leaves, others to examine closely, some to sort by shape and color, and count. Many children used leaves in "mud kitchen" baking recipes. Some collected and designed with them. Stitching leaves with a blunt needle was also a source of intrigue. This foray into sewing was a first for many and provided a great way to develop fine motor skills.
|"I wonder what THIS might look like under a|
Many nests for wild animal friends were built using leaves at Forest Preschool. Pretending to be an animal building a nest and then snuggling in the final product is great fun. Preschoolers are primed to learn by engaging their imagination!
|Nestled in with owl backpack aptly named Mr. Owl!|
|"I'm going to use my paws to build the rest!"|
Each day I tell an oral story. One day, part of my story told of a red squirrel building a nest with fallen leaves. When the story was over, a child was excited to build a squirrel nest of his own. In the process of construction, play, and my asking open ended questions, he and friends learned about nest sites, construction, materials used, and the insulating property of leaves.
Later that morning the child sat back, looked around, and exclaimed, "The world is covered in leaves!" Another shared, "There's mostly maple trees here at Deer Camp."
|"Where can we put the door?" "Now, the thing is, can we make a door out of a stick?"|
|Another busy squirrel building a nest!|
|Leaves add a whole new element to "mountain climbing," |
healthy risk taking, and gross motor skill development.