Thursday, May 12, 2016

Visiting Heyday Farm

One of our dads works at Heyday Farm on the Island, and he arranged for the Dolphin and Orca classes to come and visit. There were two parts to the farm. One part has lots of animals, all who give food: chickens for eggs and meat, sheep and lambs for meat, goats for milk, rabbits for meat, and pigs for meat. We went in the brooder house where there were lots of baby chicks being kept warm with heat lamps.

There was a big field of chickens, and Ruven, the farm intern, caught a chicken and let us look closely at her.

There was also a large field of sheep and lambs. They came right up to the fence when we came over.

We got to see how they milk a goat.

Since this goat had already been milked earlier that morning, not very much milk came out.

It was interesting watching how they give the goat "goat candy" in a bucket when they get ready to milk her. She loves it!

Some little sisters came to the farm with us.

They loved seeing the baby goats.

Heyday Farm has special kinds of dogs who live with the animals and guard them. They bark loudly if they feel there's a danger. This beautiful dog's job was to guard the chickens.

This dog loved us petting him. His job was to guard the sheep.

The Dolphins had a few moments to rest,

before they had a lovely snack.

This greenhouse has is all ready for planting.

There were flowers growing in one greenhouse. We enjoyed making the snapdragon's mouth open and close.

The Orcas went in the pen with the goats. The kids (baby goats) were very curious. They propped up on us, and nibbled on our clothes.

There were lots of nanny goats and kids.

This sow is ready to have her litter of piglets any day now. She was very big!

We fed the rabbits, and the Dolphin class got to see new baby rabbits.

It is important to make sure the animals are healthy, so we washed our hands,

and we washed our boots to make sure we didn't spread germs.

There was a newborn calf. We got to go in the stall with her. She was very gentle and quiet.

After snack the Orcas went on a walk on a trail to the park. It was a wonderful day!

Celebrating Our Garden on Earth Day!

OUr school celebrated Earth Day this year by holding a special celebration in our new garden. We invited our families, and all of the other classes at preschool. We all made wish flags with a drawing of the wish we had for our garden. There were lots of wishes for berries and other yummy things, and one little girl wished a mermaid would appear in the middle of our garden!

The garden was all dressed up for the celebration.

The Orcas each had written out a blessing for the garden. We started by singing one of our favorite new songs, The Garden Song, by Pete Seeger:
Inch by inch,
Row by row,
Gonna make this garden grow,
All it takes is a rake and a hoe
And a piece of fertile ground,
Inch by inch,
Row by row,
Please bless these seeds I sow,
Please guard them down below
'Til the rain comes tumbling down.

Each child brought up their blessing, said it aloud, and dipped a flowering apple branch into water to sprinkle on the garden.

We also had written our thank yous to Mother Earth, which we all said together.

We hung the blessings on the fence around the garden.

Our seeds are waiting in the soil for the sun and the rain.

After the celebration we had a fun butterfly snack, 

and then we made wind catchers and ran around on the grass with them, catching the glorious wind.

April in the Orca Class

We sewed little stuffed guys we call "Critters." Each one has a name and we know what they can do. We designed and then used the Make It box full of recyclables to build them homes, or a boat, submarine, igloo- whatever we thought our critter needed.

Then we wrote a book about our critters. These books, and others, are in the Orca library. We take turns being the librarian, checking in books, writing late slips, and helping our friends borrow a new book. The children have been making their own books for the library at home. We have one on space, one on Star Wars, one about how eggs are laid, and one that really teaches us a lot about the human body. We know if these books are fiction, or non-fiction. The next plan for our critters is to make a stop animation movie!

One of our friends lives across the street from our school. His neighbor has a small farm with sheep. In the spring the ewes always have baby lambs. One day we went to visit this farm. We got to pet a lamb.

The owner got the sheep to come across the pasture by shaking a pan with food in it. The sheep came running, and the lambs right along with them (dragging their tails behind them...).

After looking at the sheep, we climbed over the fence (an experience all by itself) and into our friend's backyard where we got to see his chickens. He often tells us stories about his chickens, one whose name is Chicken Pot Pie. We fed the chickens and looked at the eggs.

We had movie day in the Orca class! We brought a blankie or pillow to snuggle with, and we each had our own bag of popcorn. We watched a fascinating movie called Microcosmos. It was all about the insects and creatures that live in a field. The photography is wonderful, and we learned a lot about the different insects just by watching. One of our favorite parts was when the two snails have a long, slimy "kiss" as Opera music plays in the background.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

The new preschool garden

This spring has been very exciting as we prepare to start our first ICP garden. First the Orcas measured and staked out the plot. The Pa (a grandpa) came with his tractor and turned the soil.

The Orcas brought their nature journals out and sat in the empty garden.

We all thought about what we could see, hear, and smell. And we drew what we wished we could grow in the garden.

Some dads helped the Dolphin and Orca classes build the raised beds.

It was hard, but important, work.

We made paper planting pots. These will decompose in the soil when we plant our plants. We filled these pots with pea seeds. Look they came up!

It was exciting to see the seedlings grow.

We had to get the rocks out of the garden,

and loosen the soil.

Then we had to dig holes for the raised beds.

The Dolphins worked together to carry the raised bed into the garden and put it in the holes.

The Orcas worked hard digging the holes for their raised bed.

Look how deep our holes are!

Hooray! We did it!

Then a dump truck came and delivered garden soil for the raised beds.

We worked together to fill the beds.

Then we planted sunflower seeds. These will be huge sunflowers, and will bring the pollinators and birds to our garden.

We worked to mmove some more soil.

The Orcas built a trellis for the peas to climb on. The peas hold on with little pea hands, or tendrils, and climb up tall. We wonder how tall they will grow.

Then we planted the pea seedlings and helped them reach for the strings on the trellis.

The Dolphin class watered the bed before planting the strawberries.

The mother plants are happy in the soil. We gave them a good drink of water.

We have made lots of garden decorations. Here we are making hot rocks: melting crayons on hot rocks. We also painted rocks. These will mark some of our garden beds.

We wore our garden gloves while we worked so we didn't burn our hands on the hot rocks.

We headed to the garden to make Slug Pubs.

We poured the beer into containers. The slugs love the beer, and will come in and drown. Then they can't eat our plants!

The garden needs lots of care. Here we work together to water the peas.

We put out some beneficial ladybugs.

Look at them all over the soil!

I can see them!

One is crawling on my hand!

Ew! Robbers! Tent caterpillars will eat the leaves off our trees, and even eat our garden plants.

We cut some of the tents out of the trees. Some were so high we couldn't reach them.

Look how many little caterpillars there are!

It has taken a lot of team work to get our garden this far.

Time to make some labels for the garden beds.

It took a lot of hammering to get them in the soil.

Each class has planted a bag of potatoes. First we poked holes in the bottom of the bags of compost. Then we poured the compost out to use to feed the soil in our garden. It is good to reuse these bags instead of just throwing them out. Then we added garden soil to the bottom of the bags.

And then in went the mother potatoes. These were covered with soil. The baby potatoes will grow under the soil. As the potato plants grow, we will keep adding soil until the bag is full. We can't wait until next fall to harvest our buried treasure!