A Peek Into Our New Farm and Forest Kindergarten

From Lindsay Miles, Farm & Forest Kindergarten Teacher: 
The magic of dew-covered spider webs in the morning, the smell of the woolly sheep, the sounds of the goats calling for their breakfast, the feeling of the wind blowing as the children swing higher and higher, the crunch from the apples being eaten as they have ripened on our apple trees...the days of the Forest Kindergarten class are filled with good work and imaginative play as we spend our days exploring this beautiful campus that is our classroom.

Each morning we begin with tending to the animals. The sheep (Moon Silver, Thunder, Flower and Baby --otherwise known as Snowy or Thunder2!) follow the children as they collect the grain and happily eat right from their hands. The goats (twin girls Sugar and Spice) mischievously wait for us to come and feed them grain and treats of goldenrod while showing off for us on their balance beam we made this summer. Mama Hen guards her babies well, but happily comes to us when we bring them all our leftover snack from the day. The Farm and Forest children are helpful workers who take great pride in their responsibilities as animal caretakers.  
Our Farm Days this year will be focused on work and play on the farm as we flow through the seasons. These days of the week will have us grinding grain and making bread, churning butter, collecting apples to cook applesauce, crafting with wool, dying silks and cloths with plants, boiling sap for maple syrup, and making and tending garden beds.
Our Forest Days will send us on wondrous nature walks into the forest where we will work with the elements--earth, air, fire, and water. We may build bridges over the water, make shelters, build fires, or make salves to protect our faces in the winter months.
Each day is held with a sturdy rhythm and by the changing of the seasons. Our circles are held outside, giving us plenty of room for good movement and connecting us to the nature-themed songs we sing and verses we say. Our stories are told in the sunshine as the weather allows, but as the cold creeps in we will seek respite more in the tepee. The tepee is also a place for indoor free play, daily activities like painting, coloring and bread making, and as a place to find warmth by the fire, with hot water bottles and wool blankets and playful activities through the winter months.
In all ways, our days are deeply rich. All of our activities and experiences are carried out with an organic breathing in and out, so the children always feel held, rhythmic, and intrigued. This year promises to be year of discovery.