Nature's Classroom


February has been a COLD month.  We've had four or five days of temperatures below zero (breaking all sorts of records), and many of our days have been in the teens or single digits.  (Yesterday my car thermometer registered -2.)

The cold weather has kept our family from going outside and enjoying the snow as we've been choosing indoor activities instead, but this doesn't mean that Lewie hasn't been enjoying the outdoors.  Since he goes to a kindergarten that has "Nature's Classroom" as part of the curriculum, they've been going out on explorations in all kinds of weather.  (Last week, I picked him up in the middle of a snowstorm, and he was outside making a snow fort!) 

Here's a letter that was sent out by his wonderful kindergarten teacher in mid-February:

Dear Families,

What fun we have been having with all of this snow! The children and I have gone on snow hikes, done some sledding and shoveling. Next week, we are going to get out there on snow shoes! Thank you all very much for your cooperation in providing the children with safe and appropriate outdoor gear. It is much appreciated.

Winter has been a time of great inquiry for the children. We have been experimenting with the ice and snow. We learned that liquid flows. It does not have a shape. Water is a liquid. A solid has a shape. It is hard. Ice is a solid. The children have been tracking their adventurers and discoveries in their nature notebooks. They have been drawing and labeling.

In the coming weeks, we will be tapping trees and beginning our maple syrup project. Keep your eye out for more news and information on that.

Last week we read about groundhogs in honor of Groundhogs Day.  We read some silly fiction books about the holiday and funny groundhog characters. We also studied groundhogs and worked with non-fiction materials. We learned some great new vocabulary. We now know what kits are and how groundhogs hibernate in burrows

Through our gardening lessons we have met many objectives:
We understand that change happens to many things
We can describe proper body care such as eating a variety of foods
We recognize that food is fuel for our body
We use observation skills
We understand plant adaptations for winter 
We understand that insects, birds and other living things depend on plants for winter survival

We have been hard at work with our reading! The children are doing beautifully with the literacy centers that I now have in place. They really enjoy rotating through and spending "private time" with me, partner work time with friends, listening time with books on CD and skills reinforcement time on the computer. Reading is great fun and celebrated in our room!
I have to say that getting letters like these really make me happy that Lewie's attending this kindergarten.  Childhood should be about fun, wonder, exploration, and imagination.  Building snow forts is just as important as learning to read; taking outside hikes is just as important as math drills.
I hope many years down the road, Lewie will look back at this time in his life with fondness.  I only wish there were more schools that would adopt this type of curriculum...


  1. Ok wow that sounds like an amazing school. It's so great they take the weather and instead of shying away from it and boarding all the kids indoors, they take them outside and make it into a less through play!

  2. What an amazing kindergarten! Why can't that last all through elementary? That seems like an appropriate learning environment for boys especially. (The traditional system seems so much more geared to the success of girls. Just sayin.) It looks like Lewie is learning while having the time of his life! And learning to not let the weather dictate his fun either. We could all use a little lesson on that, I think. Haha. Cheers to spring which is hopefully on its way soon!

  3. Better Lewie out there in the weather than me ;-) Actually, I do still go running in the cold, but not much else! His classroom update is awesome - nice to know he's being so enriched!

  4. It sounds like he's at a great school!
    I am so ready for Spring. I can't handle this cold weather anymore!!!


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