Little Bird Learning Newsletter
September ~ October
In Waldorf early childhood settings, LIFE is the curriculum. The children learn through play and imitation~ daily self-care, baking and cooking, keeping house and spending time outdoors, playing with open-ended materials and building magical worlds where fantasy blends with reality.
Here in our nature-based preschool environment, I want to further enrich this lifestyle by offering fun and engaging activities that draw attention to the season we are experiencing. While planning for this first year of preschool, the most important thing to me was to make sure the ideas I present are concepts that the children can directly observe and participate in.
In Autumn we think of harvesting and preserving; of nature slowly preparing to sleep, yet going out in a blaze of warm color and beauty. It is a season to breath in and prepare for the darker, colder days ahead. I started thinking of how we can connect the Elements to the Seasons and allow them to guide us in our living and learning. For Autumn I have chosen “Earth” as our driving force. Hopefully you will see this reflected in the four categories of planning I have written down: Arts/Crafts, Gardening/Nature, Circle Time, and Storytelling.
A few notes about each category: The arts and crafts will happen each day (T/Th) at the big table in the play space. The children are free to come and go from the table, but trust me they always come over! Some projects will be individual that they will either take home or I will save in their blank work books to go home in June. Some bigger projects we will work on as a group (such as dying or weaving). I have them written down as a brainstorm list (as opposed to assigned days) because many projects depend on the weather and what’s happening outside in nature. I also want to keep it flexible in case the children are loving it and could use some more days to work on something. For gardening and nature I have a list of what needs to get done outdoors (with everyone’s help!), what we can expect the season to bring for us to observe, and some play ideas. Storytelling is pretty straight forward~ I have written down the titles of the stories I will tell (these are orally told with props and not read from books, more on that later). As the days go on the children will participate in the storytelling in different ways. Circle Time may include any combination of the following early literacy and gross motor activities: songs, fingerplays, nursery rhymes, poems/verses, whole body movement, stretches/yoga. I will do my best to keep the blog updated with details of everything that we are doing!
*Note: the arts/crafts and gardening/nature listed below are for the whole Autumn season, but the storytelling and songs are for Sept/Oct and will change for Nov/Dec.
Autumn :: Earth
*Wet on wet watercolor painting: red, orange, purple
*Leaf rubbings w/ block crayons, mixing watercolors on top
*Drawing with beeswax crayons
*Collage/building with nature:
animals, insects… make into puppets?
*Natural dying: yarn for weaving, silks for dollmaking
marigolds, goldenrod, onion skins, pokeweed, beets, cabbage, black beans?
yarn and nature items
*Corn husk dolls
*Lanterns: tissue paper
*Mixing paint: shades of brown
free form, texture/pattern printing, pinch pots
*Harvest vegetables and herbs
*Preparing the beds for winter
*Saving seeds (flowers)
*Planting kitchen scraps indoors
*Composting, turning out into beds
*Making plant dye
*Fall Planting: cabbage, broccoli, blueberry bushes, spinach, kale
*Prune bushes/ trees
*Picking at the farm: apples, pears, plums, pumpkins
September (3 weeks) :: The Apple Stars
October (3 weeks) :: Hedgy Hedgehog and Squirrel Nutkin
Halloween (1 week) :: The Pumpkin Mouse
(opening song : same all year)
Good morning dear earth
Good morning dear sun
Good morning dear stones
And the flowers every one
Good morning dear animals
and birds in the trees
Good morning to you and
Good morning to me
Way up high in the apple tree
Two little apples smiled at me
I climbed that tree as high as I could
I picked both the apples
Mmm they were good!
5 little pumpkins sitting on a gate
the first one said “oh my it’s getting late”
the second one said “there are witches in the air”
the third one said “but we don’t care”
the fourth one said “let’s run and run and run”
the fifth one said “I’m ready for some fun”
Then whooooo went the wind
and OUT went the light
and the five little pumpkins rolled out of sight
I am a pumpkin big and round
Once upon a time I grew on the ground
Now I have a mouth, two eyes and a nose
What are they for, do you suppose?
With a candle inside, shining bright
I’ll be a jack-o-lantern on halloween night.
Leaves are falling, falling down,
Falling, falling to the ground.
(repeat in different ways; slow, fast, whisper, shout, standing up and acting out)
Yellow the bracken, golden the sheaves
Rosy the apples, crimson the leaves,
Mist on the hillside
Clouds gray and white
Autumn good morning
(closing song : same all year)
Merry have we met
merry have we been
merry shall we part and
merry meet again
goodbye, goodbye, goodbye!