Saturday, September 29, 2012

Story - Why the Trees Lose Thier Leaves

I've told this story before but called it The Evergreens
It's a nice folktale to share in this season of Autumn.

Here's the written form for you.

The Evergreens
(Story from the Vancouver Coast Region)
Once, a long time ago, a small bird broke his wing just as winter was coming along.

Unable to fly to the warm south with his friends, he hopped into the forest to look for shelter.

First he asked a birch tree for help.
"Lovely birch tree, " the bird said, "I've broken my wing and must find a place to keep warm. Will you let me live in your branches until spring?"

"Heaven no!" the birch replied, "I have enough to worry about just taking care of my leaves for the winter. I have no time to help you."

The little bird then hopped to a huge oak tree. "Mighty oak, "he said politely, "will you let me live in your branches until spring?"
"No way," the oak said. "I know your type. You'll just eat up all of my acorns. Move along, move along!"

The poor bird limped over to a willow tree. "Gentle willow," the bird implored, "may I live in your branches until spring?"
"Are you kidding?" the willow said. "Perhaps some trees take in strangers, but I certainly don't. Go away!"

Weak and dejected, the bird fluttered along, not knowing where to turn. "Where are you going, little bird" a concerned voice asked.

The bird looked up at a friendly Spruce. "I don't know,"he said miserably. "My wing is broken, so I can't fly south, and I need a warm place to stay for the winter."
"Come and live in my branches," the spruce said. "I'll be happy to have company for the winter."

The bird gratefully fluttered into a low branch and was settling down when a nearby pine tree called, "Welcome little bird. I'm sorry you are hurt. I'll help too, by sheltering the spruce to keep you both out of winter's icy wind."

"Me to," piped up a small juniper. "I can help by giving you berries to eat all winter long."

"You're all so kind,"the bird said. "Thank you very much."

"They'll be sorry," whispered the oak, the willow, and the birch.

The very next morning, Jack Frost brought his children out to play. “We want to touch all the leaves in the forest so we can see what bare trees look like. Can we, can we, Pop?" the Forest children jumped with excitement.

"Hold it," said Jack Frost sternly. Old Jack had been testing the air the day before and had seen the plight of the little bird.

"Don't touch every leaf," he ordered. "Let the trees who were kind to the little bird keep their leaves."

Being good children, the Frost children listened to their dad.

That is why today the spruce, the pine, and the juniper stay green the whole year long.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Leaf Impressions

Yesterday one grandmother, Nonie, brought in a big bag of leaves.
We used them to make our prints.
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Then today we used the rest of them to make impressions.
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First we placed leaves on the table then covered them with foil.
We used the brayers to roll over the foil.
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Brayers and paint rollers are like cars, they attract boys to the art table.

Unfortunately the foil I had was purchased at a dollar store and had creases in it when I took it off the roll.  So it was difficult to see the impressions.
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But you could feel them while the leaves were still under the foil.

Then we used markers to sketch the leaves on the foil.
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They enjoyed the drawing on foil. 
I think it’s because there is little friction and the marker slides smoothly.
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I think next time we try this I will buy heavy duty foil.
It was a good project to experiment with.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Leaf Prints

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The table was ready for leaf printing this morning
and I thought I would give it a try.
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I realized I rolled too much paint onto the surface
and it came off with my print, making it blurred.
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But I soon learned that the children used more control
when applying paint to their leaves, therefore wasn’t a problem.
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After applying the paint they covered the leaf with a piece of paper.
Then used a brayer and rolled over the paper.
sept 27 013 I love his focus.  Notice the tongue.

When lifting the print, the leaf often stuck to the paper. 
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Difficult to tell though because the placemat is showing the reflection.

We used a variety of leaves with pleasing results.
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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Autumn Leaf Cookies

We’ve been talking about the colours the leaves have been changing and today we made our own coloured leaves 
to eat.
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I premade the sugar cookie dough and tinted it red, orange and green.
Then rolled the dough into little balls.
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The children took a group of balls and placed them between waxed paper before
 rolling out the dough.
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There were mini, leaf shaped, cookie cutters to chose from.
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Parents talked about the shapes of the cutters and the colours of the dough.
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Amazingly from those three little balls of dough they were able to make
2-3 cookies.

Time to bake. 
This little boy was very interested in the cooking part and insisted on taking the pan to the oven.
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So I took this opportunity to talk about time.  We set the timer then he went back to play.
At one minute left I showed him the timer and we checked the cookies. sept 25, 2012 035 
 Love the smile on his face, anticipation.
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One batch of sugar cookie dough provided enough mini cookies for three days of snack.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Play Trays

Oh how time flies and today I realized that I haven’t posted any of our play trays since the new school year started.

So here are a bunch all at once.
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Monday, September 24, 2012

Where Do We Find the Answer?

             sept 17 010
One day when my husband and I were out for a hike, we found this jaw bone. 
I thought it would interest the children and start conversations.
It did.
As the children examined the bone and the teeth, I heard them ask their grown ups “What is it from?”

Since I was the person that brought it in, the grown ups sent the children to ask me. 
I didn’t know since I found it like you see it. 
So I put the question back to the children. 
What do you think it is?
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Dinosaur was a favourite guess. 
Then I asked the children where they think we could find the answer. 
After a few prompts, a book was mentioned. 
So off we went to the library with the jaw bone to show the librarian.
She was very helpful and we found several books about mammals to borrow.
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We narrowed done the choices to three.
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They insisted that a dinosaur be one of the choices.
I printed pictures of jaw bones for a T-rex, horse and cow. 
Placed with a toy showing the whole animal and let them continue the discussion and exploration.

To date, the cow has the most votes.
             sept 17 010 (5)

Sunday, September 23, 2012

The Importance of Adults Playing

Over the years that I’ve been married I’ve had an ongoing conversation with my husband about playing.
                                     Grown ups need to play.

We forget to play because of busy work and home and family responsibilities. 
When we forget to play we can become stressed and, really, just boring.

Play for adults can be many different things from sports, hobbies, games, and more.
Last year my husband finally understood what I was talking about.  He started a hobby that he loved as a child, model railway building.  It’s amazing what he has created.  The winter passed with him happy and more relaxed than I’ve ever seen him.
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The joy that he has found playing with his trains has overflowed into his life.  Look at the smile on his face when he heard the whistle on the real steam train.

In regards to StrongStart, it’s so important that we play for many  reasons.  Although they can be lost when we are overwhelmed with many families arriving at one time and all the admin work that that involves.  But here are a few reasons to help bring us back to what StrongStart, in my opinion, is meant to be.

One - play to model for the parents and grandparents that attend.
Two - play to understand the play space.  How does it flow?  Is there enough space for the play to happen?  Are the materials arranged in a way to be inviting?
Three - play to find moments of joy in your day.
Four - play to make connections with the children.

Last week, I had a family visit that I hadn’t seen for almost a year.  The little boy wasn’t even crawling then.  The day they visited he was quite shy and I couldn’t make a connection with him just by talking.

As his mom gently showed him around the room and he found an area of interest, I joined in.  The picture above shows us playing in the boat.

Just before the picture was taken I was showing the child the oars and how to use them but it wasn’t until I sat in the boat and started singing Row, Row , Row your Boat that a connection between us was made.

He looked up at me and smiled which I interpreted as “Ah I know that song and you’re a kindred spirit”.  Then we played.

A few days later the mom posted the above picture on Facebook and my first thought was “I love my job!”   Thanks for playing.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Awesome Autumn

Fall is my favourite time of year.
I love going out for a walk on a crisp day and looking at all the beautiful red, orange and brown colours. 
The sound of leaves under my feet makes me smile.
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As I mentioned yesterday, the weather has been quite warm and the leaves aren’t changing much yet.
So at the art table we made our own Autumn Trees.
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We started by ripping brown paper to make a tree.
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Ripping paper isn’t something that we’ve done often so it took a bit of encouragement for the children to give it a try before getting scissors.

Then we began stamping on the leaves. 
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I taped bunches of drinking straws and bunches of pencils together for the stamps.
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The bunches consisted of 3 – 6 straws or pencils.

The results…
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