We are truly excited that the first month of our nature immersion program at Barnacles & Bees has been such an adventure with your littles! We've had sunny, cloudy, rainy and frosty days to explore the forest and our classroom and get to know our surroundings and each other. Here are the things we would like you to know about January at Barnacles and Bees.
A Morning at Illahee State Park
Our goal for the kids when we part from their caregivers in the morning is to set off and acclimate to being outside. Our class has experimented with going on a hike first thing but our default has been to go directly to the lower shelter of our main area and create our boundaries. Once we have done this, the children have been diving directly into interest-led discovery alongside their peers. Before we know it, we are gathering around the stump circle where we have our snack to refuel, listen to a story, and warm up with hot tea and hot water bottles.
After snack and story we go into our sit spot routine where the kids are invited to use their senses to be calm and still in their own space, observing their place and connecting with their surroundings. We then gather and invite the children to come back to us with their findings and share what their observations and found items with the group.
In our first month, the first part of our day and the last part of our day is free play time. As we move into February we will be beginning our day with a hike instead of going down to our central location for the rest of our day before heading up to the shelter for pick up time.
Online Photo Album
For the month of January we created an online photo album that we add to each week so that you have a window into our time outside. We invite you as you look at the pictures to comment and have a conversation among yourselves about what you see going on. Also, in the interest of ongoing communication with parents about how their child is doing in class, our Lead Teacher will email two to three families per week with progress about their child that week, with particular highlights and updated goal setting.
Core routines are the activities that we do every day. They are skills that are practiced day in and day out and have the potential to create the foundation for the kids’ time outside. We encourage you to carry on these routines at home for additional practice. The routines listed below are just the ones that we started with this month, but we will be building new ones in February!
Nature journals are an opportunity for children to document something from their day; it may look like, for some kids who are not as interested in putting pencil to paper, a dictation from a mentor in the class based on a conversation they are having with the kiddo, or a simple taping of specimens onto paper. This routine, now at the end of the day might be moved to after sit spot time so that the information is fresh in their mind. As it is right now, at the end of the day the kids really just want to climb and run around before their caregivers pick them up!
Wonder Questions make up the meaty “learning” portion of our day. It lays the foundation for curiosity and questions that kids can conjure and create when they are outside. In the months to come this will also be where we introduce the topic for the week. The mentor’s job during this time together is to set some items in the middle of our fire circle and ask wonder questions, sometimes prefacing with a story about the origin, sometimes not: “ I wonder where this came from,” “ I wonder how it got its shape,” and “ I wonder if it can be used for anything.” The responses that come from this time together is my favorite part of the day!
Trash and Needles
Just like in hiking, we believe that what you pack in you should pack out. We also want to teach our children that we want to leave places better than found them. When you are packing your little one’s snack, we invite you to consider using reusable containers so that we can reduce the amount of waste that we create.
However, sometimes, there can be waste in the park that is beyond our control and we want to educate the children on what NOT to pick up and investigate if they should come across something risky. Through a connection in the medical field we have gained an example of what a needle looks like and that they should alert a mentor if they find one. We have a sharps box and a process for dealing with the needles if we are to come in contact with them. If you ever find any needles in the park please let us or the Ranger Station know.
Coming up February:
For this holiday, I want to take the time to celebrate friends! On Wednesday February 13th I invite all families to pack just one type of snack but enough for your little one to share with the group. I will provide camping plates for the group for everyone to eat off. Sharing is caring!
This is just a reminder that we will NOT be in school for this holiday Monday February 18th. For those of you who get this day off, we hope that you enjoy it with your families!
Parent Teacher Conferences
Conferences are going to be held with the Robin towards the end February. Everyone’s schedules are different, so a calendar will be brought to drop-off and pick-up in February so that parents will be able to schedule a time outside of program hours.
Mark your Calendar!
Barnacles & Bees Free Family Nature Play Classes are back!
When: Friday February 1st & 15th
Time: 1pm - 3pm
Location: Smith Nature Play Park, 1261-1299 Park Ave, Bremerton, WA 98337
Where to park: Kitsap Community Resources parking lot
Where to meet: We will start on grass by the parking lot, check - in with CC.
Spring Nature Art Workshop
Barnacles & Bees is partnering with Amber from The Makery to offer this 90min Family Art & Sensory Nature workshop. We will have 10 simple projects that provide open-ended art and sensory experiences using nature as the inspiration and medium, and kids will wander independently to what interests them! This workshop is best for ages 18 months to 5 year olds.
When: Friday, April 5th
Time: 2pm - 3.30pm
Where: Smith Nature Play Park, 1261-1299 Park Ave, Bremerton, WA 98337
Group size: 20 kids
Regular price: $12 per child
Discounted price for Barnacles & Bees family: $8 per child
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