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Friday, January 16, 2015

Winter Whispers Begins!

This Thursday was the first day of our new winter drop-off program for preschoolers, Winter Whispers. With the weather at a chilly -4° at 9 am, we started indoors: making natural sun catchers and experimenting with what happens when you bring snow inside and how it looks under magnifying glasses. There was also plenty of time during our morning free play (known as “loose parts play”) to pretend to be animals. We practiced our hopping from lily pad to lily pad as frogs, our flying as snowy owls, and using our sneaky feet as foxes.

After our morning circle, some songs, and a snack, everyone worked to figure out layers and zippers and what outdoor gear goes on first to get ready to go on a snowy adventure outside. It may seem mundane, or even a chore for us teachers, to help get several 3.5-5 year olds dressed adequately to be outside for an hour or more on a cold day, but, for me, this process is a total highlight. When we work with preschoolers at NBNC, one of our major aims is to help them learn to care for themselves and their belongings. This is so much spatial and sequential reasoning to be learned from the process of dressing in layers. As the session progresses, it is a total gift to watch the kids become more confident and need less coaching in this process as they work out these new skills.

Grandfather sun came out and warmed the world a bit so we ventured out into the wild world of winter. Once outside, we hunted for “jewels” (frozen ice cubes tinted with food coloring) in the snow and other treasures that Mother Nature had left us. Eventually the majority of our time was taken up by several children working cooperatively to open an imaginary candy store (where the jewels were re-imagined as colored chocolates!) and by lots of sliding on sleds on our new fluffy snow. It is safe to say that the preschoolers, Mary, and I all had an equally joyous and exciting day to begin this new program in beautiful winter. We can’t wait until next week when we turn our focus to birds and what winter is like for them.

Winter Whispers is a drop-off program for preschoolers 3.5-5 on Thursdays from 9am-noon until February 19th. There are still a few spots open in the program! For more information visit our website at: http://www.northbranchnaturecenter.org/programs.html#winterwhispers

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