Spring has finally sprung and we’re so excited to have been out exploring our local wilderness in April. This month here at Discovery Child Care we learnt how to make maple syrup, celebrated Earth Day and Easter, learnt about turtles and their habitats and much more!
Making syrup is hard work
We had a sweet start to spring in the Kinder Program this year! We were anxiously awaiting a trip to the Tiffin Conservation sugar bush as well as a visit from Vanessa from the Barrie Native Friendship Centre. With days of waiting ahead, we decided to get started with our Maple Syrup explorations with making maple cookies.
We made these as a thank you gift for Vanessa but we made extra… so we could try them too. They were delicious! Our trip to Tiffin brought many of us on our very first bus ride which, for many of us, was the most exciting part of the trip! What a bumpy ride to the sugar bush.
What could be better than that? We met Charlotte among the maples and she taught us all about how maple sap is made before we got to practice tapping trees ourselves using a drill, a spile, (which we learned is another word for a spout) and a hammer before hanging the bucket for sap collecting!
She taught us all about how the natives collected sap and made syrup using hot rocks as a heat source for boiling it down and we absolutely loved the sweet smell of the steam it created. We learned how the pioneers changed the way the syrup was made and, after testing out the yoke they used to carry the sap, we decided that making syrup was hard work.
Finally, we got to go into the sugar shack which had been spewing maple steam all morning (we learned this was water evaporating from the sap). The warm sugar shack was half taken up by a massive metal object that we learned was an evaporator.
This is how we make maple syrup today. The sap boils away in large quantities until it finally reaches the consistency of syrup! Did you know that it takes 40 buckets of sap to make just one bucket of syrup? When we finally got to taste it, we agreed it was delicious and well worth the effort put into making it!
Finally, back at the centre, we got to work making bread to share with Vanessa. Her visit was filled with wonderful information about common materials, tools and even toys used by native children and we were very excited to touch and smell pelts, try making fire with a fire bow and try out some toys we had never seen before. We were so grateful for having Vanessa share her culture with us and excitedly shared the bread we made as we dipped into maple syrup from the sugar bush!
Earth Day celebrations
On Monday April 22, we were lucky to be together at Discovery to celebrate Earth Day. We started by spending our morning together with gratitude and we shared the memories and reasons why we love the Earth so much. The children compiled a list of people, places, and things that make the Earth so valuable to us. We shared different ways we can begin our journey of environmental stewardship and recognized how important it is for us to foster a love for the Earth.
Upon entering our Nature Classroom, we took some time to identify the different sounds, smells, and items that we see outside. The children instantly were drawn to the different bird sounds outside and we were curious about different tools we could investigate them with.
We introduced binoculars to the children and had the opportunity to share our experiences with them and what a valuable tool they are for investigating the world around us. R.S. remembered the memory he had with his papa and how they used binoculars to watch birds together.
The children used the binoculars to get an up-close and personal look at the birds, animals, and plants in our environment. The children noticed details in the birds they had never been able to see before such as the beaks and their feathers. We also got an amazing opportunity to see new buds on all the trees. The children noticed the details of the buds and how some of them were growing into leaves already.
This opportunity provided us the chance to slow down and become more attentive to all the wonderful natural happenings around us. We extended this experience with a nature scavenger hunt where we used our new tools to find items for Nature Bags and we read the fun and engaging book, “Tap the Magic Tree.” The preschool Earth Day experience was a wonderful opportunity to slow down and notice how fortunate we are to have a beautiful outdoor space to explore and discover together.
We all learned together that, “Nature is infinitely creative. It is always producing the possibility of new beginnings”-Marlene Williamson
Spring has sprung!
Goodbye Winter, spring has finally sprung!! We are so very excited that we don’t have to wear our snow suits anymore We have been enjoying the beautiful warm sunshine on our faces and noticing the many signs of spring. The insects and bugs have come back and our friends have never been so happy. We have also been noticing different birds on our travels to the forest and in the Nature Classroom. The children use their “deer ears” to see if they can identify the sounds.
We sat down with the children to discuss some signs of spring. The children have noticed so much around them; worms, seeds, buds on trees, grass/dirt, sun, birds (robins, Canada goose, goldfinch), rain, ladybugs and the warm weather. Some of the Kinders also found strange looking holes in the long grass behind the box.
We wondered who made those and why? A few of our friends guessed it might be a mouse, or a bunny and even a snake! We are keeping an eye on them to see if there are any changes to them.
On Easter Monday, we spent the day with our school age friends. It was a lovely day to have a fire and that’s just what we did! We gathered around the fire pit to discuss the safety rules – walking around the outside of the large stones, having a teacher with you to see the fire, and sitting on the rocks are just some of the rules we talked about.
Chelsa lit the fire for us and brought out some apples to roast.
While we were waiting for the apples to roast, some of our friends enjoyed chatting and sitting by the fire, others searched for insects and bugs, some played ball, and a few made their very own fire pit using rocks and wood they collected!! A couple friends used a piece of black wood they found to draw with on the rock. Others joined them making their very own charcoal drawings. It was a wonderful day spent outside in the beautiful sunshine with some great friends.