Nature Curriculum Week 15 – Winter Solstice.

Somehow, even with an international house move, we have managed to get a week ahead of ourselves, and I am not quite sure how!  However, we have carried on with this “next week’s” subject, and it will give us a little slackening off time over Christmas (along with our belts!).  The Winter Solstice was our festive activity for the day as well as our topic. Our days are fairly short here now, so it was a lovely topic to do, following on nicely from our sunset walk the other afternoon.  I started the day by taking the mini men to watch the sun rise on the east side of the island.  This isn’t as horrific as it sounds, as the sun doesn’t come up now until around 0830, so we were already wrapped up from the school run, and just continued on once the little lady had been dropped off.  They’ve never sat and just watched the sun get up before.  They were enthralled, and we sat on another peaceful jetty watching it calmly.  A fantastic way to start our day (which always goes at a hundred miles an hour and very noisily!).

After we had collected our little lady from school, we headed to the south of the island to look at the low midday sunshine.  We sat on a rock overlooking a calm fjord, and chatted about how low the sun was in the sky, how little time it was around for (sunset was about 1520 today), and how the winter sun cast a lovely different light on the surroundings.  We also discussed and looked for signs of winter, and made a list of the things that reminded us of winter.

We then went off to a special place to read our books that we had chosen for this week to compliment the topic (alongside the suggested one).  I will reveal more about the location in another post, but it was a very fun place I had discovered with the boys in the morning, chasing our sunrise.  It was so fun we knew we had to bring the little lady back to it as well or I’d be getting an earful!!

The book for the week was “Dear Rebecca, Winter is here” by Jean Craighead George.  It is about how winter is coming from the moment the days start turning shorter back in June, and how nature responds with birds following the warm sun to the other side of the world, and other animals getting cosy for hibernation.  We complimented this with a couple of our own though, for a good outdoor story telling session.  We like the book “The Bear Snores on” by Karma Wilson and Jane Chapman.  This is a cute book about a brown bear asleep in his lair, and then some cheeky animals have a little party in there waking him up……..The last book we read was “Moomin and the Winter Snow”.  This was another appropriate book about some of the characters going off in search of winter sun, and the Moomins, amongst others, bedding down for the winter.  So a lovely bunch of stories, which my three loved listening to (it’s one of the few ways you can get the twins to stop moving, they love sitting and reading together!).

On returning from our outdoor story telling session, we sat down and drew the things that reminded us of winter into our nature journals, along with sunrises, sunsets, and their timings.  We read our poetry for the week and looked at the suggested piece of artwork.  We finished the day off with a lovely, if not a little noisy, candle lit supper 🙂  It’s been a lovely day and the nature curriculum has helped guided us to enjoy a lot of beautiful skylines and scenery.

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 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 extensions 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 a learning a lot more nature based.

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