With warmer days upon us the children in the older Crickets group have been spending a great deal of their work time outside. Some of the natural discoveries they've made have led us to further discussions and reading about our living world.
Our first find was a Turkey Vulture nest with one egg in it, this was in the first week of May. We asked first; Who does this egg belong to? "Maybe a robin?" -K "No they have their nests in trees." -L "Maybe a hawk?" -Z "No, they have nests too." We then shared with the children that something we knew, was that turkey vultures do make nests in fields and who happen to be circling above us that day...many turkey vultures! I asked them if they would like to look for a picture of a turkey vulture egg and we could see if it looked like what we had here. The reply was a definite "yes!"
The following day during meeting I shared the picture of what looked like the identical egg. "It's a turkey vulture!" they all yelled. We looked at pictures of turkey vultures and did some spotted while we were outside. When we visited the nest a week later, the egg was gone. "It hatched!" They all agreed.
Yesterday (some two weeks later), we were on a rain hike and we found what looked to be the same egg, on the other side of the forest. Shell crumpled, the children responded quickly with; "Something ate it!" "How do you know?" We asked. Their response; "..because the hawk probably carried it over here and then it fell out of it's claws." -Z "Because birds don't hatch like that the shells are in half, like this.."-P (my friend shows their hands as if they are holding two egg shells) "I just know something ate it, just look at the shell!" -LWe continue now with more questions and investigations- Who are the turkey vultures predators? Would the mama vulture try to move the egg? What does the shell look like after the baby vulture is born?
In the forest... the older Crickets have been eager to find living creatures and observe (love!) them closely. Teachers work together to find the most respectful way to do this and work with the children, so that they continue to remember that this is a life in their hands. We acquired some observation boxes and so far they've really helped children's loving fingers from not loving too hard and also allows for many children to observe one creature all together. The salamander we found was identified by the children, using a field guide, they took notes, and drew pictures, A few friends just needed to "gently" hold and kiss the salamander. " Oh, I love you so much, you smell like Zion!" -B (Zion is their dog) "It's a red-striped salamander!" -I
After hearing the story; The Three Sisters, children were invited to plant their own garden with the three sisters. We decided together that we should also have brother nasturtium. At the end of the planting we gathered hands and promised to water the sisters and brother. "Power to the plants!"
Along with planting we've also been harvesting and exploring already harvested herbs. With collected lemon balm, chamomile, lavender, lemon juice, and lemon zest we made...HAPPY POTION! We bottled and labeled it. "I'm so HAPPY!" -L declared. We also carefully packed jars with dried calendula flowers and filled them with oil, so that we may use it in the weeks to come for other herbal recipes. Hooray for all these gifts of life as they nourish us through body and mind. Thank you, great earth...we love you so!