On the importance of sit-spots

I have done sit-spots with a few of the nature studies classes. Mostly those have been guided. 5th grade had started working on nature journals, sitting in the forest observing, and noting their observations in their journals.

What is a sit-spot?

A sit-spot is a favorite place in nature to sit,  be still, listen, feel, smell, and look. As you become still, focusing on only one of the senses, you may start to notice things you have never seen before.

One of my favorite sit-spots is in my community garden, on a bench. This garden is surrounded by city situated as it is in the middle of Baltimore. And yet if you sit absolutely still you can notice a plethora of birds, from the birds of prey circling overhead to the sparrows, and finches twittering in the branches around you.

A sit-spot can last from a few minutes to as long as you like.

This can be practiced in a yard, on a deck, or even just at an open window in times of social distancing. In fact this is an excellent practice during social distancing. You are supposed to be alone, or in the case of a child or tween with an adult, but away from them.

Why is it so important to keep still every once in a while? Sitting still seems something we do a lot in today’s world. This is however not just sitting still. It is also reaching out with your senses, to come to your own quiet space. It is about noticing the small things, about finding solace in a hectic world. It is about making connections with nature.

Happy Week

Maren

 

Chicken Care during TWSB Closure

 

Dear Waldorf Community,

No single sentiment is more important than this in troubled times: We will get through this together, albeit apart, practicing social distancing.

As the Nature Studies teacher one of my responsibilities is the well-being of our school’s chickens.

Thanks to the generous offer of the Lowenstein Family this is one less thing to worry about!!!

They have offered to take in the chickens, and they have been safely transported to their TWSB closure home.

Thank you Lowenstein Family!!

Take care, stay safe and healthy

 

Maren Jung

Forest Explorers Picnic (aka outside snack)

With the weather getting warmer we will start to have the afternoon snack outside again. Yesterday we had our first of many picnics!

Our hand washing station is an orange water cooler, and some hand soap, very gentle and okay for environment, and small hands.
The cooler also doubles as a our drinking water station. Cups, and bowls get washed after each meal by a teacher.

We may incorporate having the children wash cups and bowls in the future.

Pulling the supply wagon, and setting out and breaking down the picnic are great opportunities for little hands to do meaningful work. It also allows us to talk about keeping the nature around us clean. We never leave anything behind.

 

Forest Clean Up Day

First grade nature studies did a forest clean up day. Before we headed out, we had a brief discussion in the classroom about what, how, and why we were doing this.

First grade got it right away!!

“Oh I know, we are doing this to help the earth!” “Yes! And the forest, and the animals!” “Can we also pick up glass?” “How can we pick up glass? You can’t use your hands!”

Good thing there were work gloves for everyone.

Fortified with gloves, and trash bags we headed out to see how much we can clean up.

After 40min we had filled a big trash bag with plastic bags, styrofoam containers, glass bottles, old metal parts, one fox poop, and lots and lots of glass pieces. We also found an old tire, but decided to leave it, because it could not fit in the trash bag. We thought it might get turned into a play thing.

1st grade had fun, and the woods are little cleaner 🙂

5th grade nature journals

5th grade has started using nature journals. Each nature studies class we pose questions to study a different thing in the forest that captures their interest.

Today we asked

1. What do I notice?

2. What does it remind me of?

3. What do I wonder?

Students looked closely at trees, moss, and dirt describing what they noticed (for example “It’s green. It looks smooth. It looks brown”; what it reminds them of (for example “It makes me think for broccoli (the moss). It makes me think of a club (a stick), or It makes me think of a tree in my backyard”

They wondered about the age of a tree, what will happen when an old log decays more, and many other things.

When we go back next week our question will be “What has changed?”

 

 

 

 

 

Forest Explorers, outside and inside

rope swing

The Forest Explorers have been exploring a new part of the area around the school. It is a little walk away. It has a rain water overflow, functioning as a pond for chucking rocks after it has rained. It also has plenty of trees, and rocks to explore.

The children have really been into swinging lately, and the new area does not have very many vines to swing from so we made a swing from a piece of rope. This also makes it easier to swing for children who are not tall enough, or strong enough yet to use a swing in the woods.

box3

Sometimes when it gets very rainy, or too cold, or late and thus dark we hang out in the school building in one of the children’s garden classrooms.

We offer activities for children. That day someone gave us a big, empty box. The children decorated it with crayons, and then used it to play with.

A box can take the imagination so many places.

Skunk … Cabbage

4th grade nature studies class went on a nature walk the other day. Those walks often end at a place we all call Elephant Rock, two big boulders in an area that also has a little brook further down.

That day we did not stop at Elephant Rock, but decided to explore further down, along the brook.

Excited two 4th grades called me over. “You HAVE to see this!!!”, “Yeah, it looks so weird.”

They had found skunk cabbage. There is a whole field growing in the wet, muddy land at the bottom of the creek, near the brook.

Symplocarpus foetidus, commonly known as skunk cabbage or eastern skunk cabbage, is a low growing plant that grows in wetlands and moist hill slopes of eastern North America. Bruised leaves present a fragrance reminiscent of skunk. (Wikipedea)

Much to everyone’s surprise there are actually parts of this plant you can eat.

Below is some more info on skunk cabbage.

https://www.wildflower.org/plants/result.php?id_plant=syfo