Candlemas, nature curriculum, nature learning, nature, www.mammasschool.co.ukThis week the theme in the nature curriculum was Candlemas.  So what is it?  It is the mid point of winter, half way between the shortest day of the year and the spring equinox.  It is also a Christian festival. We have not only been studying this, but then using the candle theme to base our maths, crafts, and science work on 🙂  So spring (in theory) is on its way.  As we have walked around our frozen island, we have been vigilant looking out for signs of spring emerging, even though we still feel very wintry.  We have found buds on the bushes, spring bulbs we planted back in October are now pushing through the earth, and we most definitely have the light of the day for longer, which makes everything a little easier.  We are now also walking to school again in the morning in the daylight!

There were lots of suggestions of ideas for journaling this week in the curriculum, but we decided to write a poem and compliment it with springlike drawings.  The poem’s title was Candlemas, and so our little lady needed to come up with a few lines about the seeing out of winter, and the looking forward to spring.  I think she did really well (writing poems is something she doesn’t find easy, so then doesn’t like trying to do it, but she’s now done a few recently, and very well too, so I am hoping her anxiety about them is diminishing a little).

Our suggested story for the week was Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Snowdrop” which we enjoyed.  However, we also revisited last week’s book as well as we hadn’t finished it.  This week we read a chapter on dragonflies and we all learnt a lot about these beautiful insects.  We learnt that he crawls up a plant stem as a grub, until he is out of the water and in the air.  The skin on his back then cracks and out emerges the dragon fly.  His wings are stretched out in the sunshine for a few hours to harden, at which point he can fly.  We are going to see if we can spot this happening come April/May time at our pond 🙂  We also learnt a really fascinating fact about the whirligig beetle (I love that name!!).  His eyes are divided.  One half looks up into the air, the other half looks down into the water.  The trio then spent 5 minutes trying to look up and down at the same time!!  The suggested piece of art for the week was “Candlemas Day” by Marianne Stokes and our poem for the week was the traditional Candlemas weather proverb:

“If Candlemas Day be fair and bright

Winter will have another fight.

If Candlemas Day brings cloud and rain,

Winter will not come again.”

We have had a lot of fun with this week with the curriculum again, and I hope we have given you some ideas to try as well.

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The Nature Curriculum we use is, “Exploring Nature with Children. A complete, year-long curriculum”. It is a beautifully written framework, written by Raising Little Shoots, and can be found over at https://raisinglittleshoots.com/ It suggests a topic for the week, and then provides some background information and suggestions for nature journaling and outdoor exploring. It also provides a comprehensive suggested reading list (fiction and non-fiction) for each week, plus a poem and a piece of art to study. There are extension activity ideas too. We use the topic as the theme for our week, and follow the ideas for our journaling, and one fiction book. What we have been doing from the curriculum can be found on our curriculum overview post. The craft, science, maths, and English ideas we have researched ourselves to fit in with the theme 🙂 This makes our learning a lot more nature based.