Forest Friday

Session 4

Senior Infants

More creations at the Meeting Point.

Discoveries of colour and pattern on our way up to base camp.

Dandelion

Dandelion

Our plant theme today was the dandelion. On our way up to our base the children we found lots of dandelions, some in flower and some had seeds. The children made wishes and blew the seeds. We collected lots of dandelion heads and put them in our tea pot. Children took turns pouring hot water into the tea pot, and had a taste of dandelion tea when it was brewed.

Dandelion Story

Long, long ago, the flowers had a huge argument about which of them was the most beautiful, the most special, the most loved by the humans and by the fairies. The argument lasted for weeks, with each flower claiming to be the most beautiful and the most loved. Finally, all of the flowers agreed to let the Flower Fairies decide.

The Flower Fairies sent they’re gentlest and kindest of spirit fairy to settle the problem and to give one plant her blessing and the title of the “most perfect” flower. The little Fairy decided to test each flower by asking them one question.

The first flower the Fairy talked to was the Rose.
“Where would you most like to live?” she asked it.
“I would like to climb the castle wall.” said the Rose. “And then kings and queens and nobles would pass by everyday and exclaim over my beauty, my scent and my delicate nature.”
The Flower Fairy walked sadly away from the Rose.

Next the Fairy came to a tulip, standing tall and proud. “Where would you most like to live?” she asked the Tulip.
“Oh, I want to live in a public garden” said the Tulip. “Where everyday people would come and admire my wonderful colours and see how straight and tall I stand.” Once again, the Fairy walked a way feeling sad.

She walked until she came to a forest. There she found some Violets. She asked them “Where would you most like to live, little Violets?” “Oh” said the violets quietly “We like it here hidden in the woods where no one can see us and where the trees keep the sun from dulling our beautiful colour.” The fairy thanked the Violets and walked on looking for more flowers to talk to.

She talked to the Tiger Lily who was much too wild and fierce.
She talked to the Sunflower who barely answered her because all she wanted to do was be warmed by the sun.
The little Flower Fairy talked to the Orchids who only wanted to be taken out to dances and she tried to talk to the Narcissus but it was too busy looking at it’s reflection in the water to speak to her.

The little Fairy, with tears in her eyes, was ready to give up and go home when she came to a field with bright fluffy yellow flowers on long thin stalks. The leaves were long and jagged and very close to the ground. But the flowers….oh how happy and cheerful they looked in the field!

“Little one” said the Flower Fairy “What are you called and where would you like to live?”

“I am a dandelion” said the little flower.”I’d like to live where ever there are children. I want to live beside the road, and in the meadows, and push up between the footpaths in the cities, and make everyone feel happier when they see my bright colours.” The Dandelion chattered on happily saying “I want to be the first flower that the children pick in the spring and take to their mothers. And I could tell if a child likes butter by being rubbed under their chins, and if a child makes a wish and blows my seeds, I could carry that wish on the wind.”

The Flower Fairy smiled brightly and said “Little Dandelion, you are the most perfect and special flower of all and you shall have your wish! You will blossom everywhere from spring till Autumn, and be known as the children’s flower.”

And this is why the dandelion comes so early and pushes her head up everywhere with such strength and determination. And why she is so loved by children throughout her long life.

The Woodies felt very tired today so they had a nap taking turns in the hut.

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Climbing.

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“Is that a woodpecker we hear?” someone asks. The children suddenly stop their play and stay very still looking and listening.

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The children continued from their village making two weeks ago. This week they added football pitches, a river and boats.

A Boat with Sail.

The child first tried a wild garlic flower and stalk but it was too wobbly. He was please with the feather.

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A Vase of Flowers

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The Woodies enjoying their play after their nap.

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Second Class

Dandelion Theme.

On our way up to our base the children noticed that there were a lot of yellow flowers but when they went up close not all were dandelions. We compared our flowers and everyone recognised the buttercup and Eve recognised the cowslip.

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Tasting fresh beech leaves and climbing through the tree tunnel on the way up to base camp.

Making dandelion tea. This child is mixing the tea by swinging the pot in a full circle – very clever!

IMG_2044 copyDuring the last session one child requested that he would like to skills to  communicate with animals. We spent some time practicing owl hoots and pigeon coos. I think some children might get good at this with a bit of practice.

During their free play the children set off exploring and finding things. Most requested bug boxes.

This child found a fly that he couldn’t identify from our minibeast books so he decided to put a drawing of it into our ‘I Notice…’ book.

During class time in the morning the teacher showed the children a slide show of Land Art. Eve last week was concerned with materials we were using and how good they are for the environment.  I brought up a book of Andy Goldsworthy. We looked the materials he uses to make his art and looked at the materials in our site. Could we make art from our materials? They children began to discuss ideas and work in groups with ease.

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There were a lot of these flies around. We were all very interested because they stayed still enough to examine them. I looked them up – they are very interesting.

St. Mark’s fly, they emerge around St. Mark’s day on the 25th April are also know as the Hawthorn fly

Identification

Male St. Mark’s flies have clear wings, large eyes and long dangly legs. Interestingly, the male’s eyes are divided by a groove and have separate connections to the brain. This allows the males to use the upper eye part to look out for females and the lower part to monitor their position in relation to the ground, allowing them to hover in the same position. The shiny black male flies are very conspicuous, with long dangling hind legs.You can often see them when they congregate in big swarms flying slowly, up and down, at around head height – trying to attract females.

The St. Mark’s Fly has a very short adult life cycle, being in flight for approximately only one week. The majority of their time is spent as larva in the soil. During autumn and winter, larvae feed on rotting vegetation which they chew with their strong mouthparts. In springtime the males emerge first and the females a few days later. After mating, females lay their eggs in the soil and die soon afterwards.

They are very useful creatures, they feed on nectar, making them important pollinators of fruit trees and crops.

Tree Climbing

 

We finished a busy day with a quiet time.

 

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