Saturday, October 1, 2016

Back to School!

Welcome back to school explorers! Chesterbrook School of Natural Learning has made some big changes over the last few months. We hope you enjoy our monthly blog posts and continue to check in as we update this page with new curriculum, resources, songs, activities and information.

The first month of school has started and we are having a fantastic time learning, exploring our environment and building friendships! We started off our lessons with TREES in September. The students were able to learn about the different parts of a tree and why each is important. We learned about the different types of trees and which animals live in and visit trees. Most importantly we went out and explored all different types of trees!

This month we found some wonderful wild creatures too!
  • The children loved finding the Daddy Long-legged Spiders. We learned how to be kind to even the smallest creatures and how they are important to our world.
  • The Grey Squirrels were everywhere this year, so it gave many opportunities for the children to investigate where they may have stopped to have a snack, finding evidence of seeds shells and nuts on top of rocks, tree stumps, and under tree branches. We watched the squirrels scurry from tree to tree and heard them make chattering noises to each other.
  • We explored Birds through binoculars, creating bird feeders, looking at different bird’s nests made from moss, twigs, and other natural materials.
  • We found an Albino Porcupine sleeping in a tree and made many wonderful observations on him for several days. He is very rare, only 1/10,000 porcupines are born completely white.
  • We found a Star-nosed Mole and watched him move about using his touch senses instead of sight. We watched as he moved his snout back and forth to feel the ground in front of him.
  • We dug up Earth Worms in the soil and did a lesson on worms. We learned their body parts, what their job is to help trees and plants grow, what they eat and so much more.
  • Throughout the day the children would find their own creatures in our environment to explore; Wild Turkeys, Beetles, Butterflies, Chipmunks, Hawks and so much more!
Along with all the exploration that goes on at school we have also been getting to know each other, practicing our school routine, problem-solving, and letting the children lead through their interests!

Wiggling Worms

The "Chickadees" (PreK program) learned about and observed earthworms over the last week of September. We made an EARTHWORM "K-W-L" chart by drawing 3 columns on our chalk board. The columns were labeled "What We Know," "What We Want to Know," and "What We Learned." A more modern and scientific-friendly version of a K-W-L chart is a K-L-E-W chart which stands for what students Know, are Learning, supported by Evidence, and what they are still left Wondering. These charts access students’ prior knowledge on a particular topic and help students organize what they are learning during a science lesson or unit. 

Here you can see we learned what earthworms eat, where they live, and how they are helpful. Our PreK group observed and recorded their learning in their Nature Journals seen below. 


The Forest is a Wonderful Place
By Steve Schuch
(to the tune of “Heaven is a Wonderful Place”) 
The forest is a wonderful place
Filled with frogs and snakes 
I want to see a salamander’s face
The forest is a wonderful place (I want to go there...)
Repeat, add more parts, etc.
Last time, end with

The forest is a wonderful place... Ah!
The forest is a wonderful place... Ahhh!
The forest is a wonderful place... Ahhhhhhh!

Mud, Mud, I Love Mud
By Rick Charette
Mud, mud, I love mud!
I'm absolutely, positively wild about mud.
I can't go around it. I've got to go through it.
Beautiful, fabulous, super duper mud.

Hello World
By Red Grammer
Hello world (repeat)
My old friend (repeat)
It’s another day (repeat)
I’m glad to see you again (repeat)
The sun is up (repeat)
I’m ready to play (repeat)
So hello world (repeat)
What do you say? (repeat)

Worm Song
(To the tune of "Mary Had a Little Lamb")

The worms are mixing up the soil,
Up the soil, up the soil.
The worms are mixing up the soil
So we can plant our seeds.

The soil is loose and all mixed up,
All mixed up, all mixed up.
The soil is loose and all mixed up,
The seeds are growing well.

Willie Ate a Worm

Willie ate a worm today,
a squiggly, wiggly worm.
He picked it up
from the dust and dirt
and wiped it off
on his brand new shirt.
Then slurp, slurp
he ate it up,
yes, Willie ate a worm today,
a squiggly, wiggly worm.

Willie ate a worm today,
he didn't bother to chew,
and we all stared
and we all squirmed
when Willie swallowed
down that worm.
The slurp, slurp
Willie burped
yes, Willie ate a worm today,
I think I'll eat one too.
~Jack Prelutsky


  • Worms eat soil, fallen leaves, and help trees and plants grow by loosening the soil.
  • Trees are tall plants made of wood.
  • Trees can live thousands of years.
  • Trees produce oxygen and reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
  • The roots of a tree usually grow underground, helping keep it stable and providing it with water and important nutrients.
  • Wood can be used in a number of ways including building material and energy source (such as campfire).
  • Many fruits and nuts come from trees – including apples, oranges, walnuts, pears, and peaches.
  • Many animals live in tree such as birds, squirrels, owls, bats, porcupines, and insects and worms.

Compost Stew

As we help guide children through every day routines like pouring and drinking their own water, cleaning their plate after snack and other self-help skills, we established a 3-bin waste area. Students have learned about COMPOSTING, RECYCLING & TRASH.

We read Compost Stew: An A to Z Recipe for the Earth by Mary McKenna Siddals. This book helped the students understand what compost is, how it helps reduce trash & helps the plants and Earth. Throughout the month children have practiced sorting their waste into each bin and disposing of it properly. Great Work Explorers!


  • Painting tree barks
  • Making bird feeders
  • Painting with rubber worms
  • Making leaf prints using a hammer
  • Rolling painted acorns on paper
  • Building a bird’s nest using mud and found materials
  • Creating fairy sticks
  • Using twigs to paint and draw
  • Bat prints
  • Coffee filter butterflies

1 comment:

  1. I'm delighted to discover COMPOST STEW serving as an introduction to composting at your school, which looks like an absolutely awesome environment for nature-based learning! Thank you so much for sharing my book with your kids, and keep up the great work spreading a little green in the world...