We are back into our Nature Curriculum again now that spring has started to arrive, and nature is finally waking up here in Sweden. It seemed a nice idea, on such a sunny afternoon, to head down to the pond to do a spot of pond dipping and pond studying. The weather has been so sunny, less windy, and dryer, so we even took our nature journals with us to do outside while we had our subjects there to study. Sure enough once we arrived, we could see all the ice had melted, the sun was warming the water nicely, and instantly we could spot frogs swimming around and playing peekaboo on the surface. My three were really excited.
The frogs were literally suspended in the water, very still, enjoying a good old sunbathe in their pond. They were so funny, and very easy to see. They were huge! We were convinced we may have actually been looking at toads, but then spotted they did in fact have webbed back feet, making it more probable these were in fact frogs (along with a few other pointers). Our little lady managed to help me catch one to get a closer inspection, and then she headed back to the pond, and came back with a tadpole/nearly frog specimen to examine too. At this point, having done something that resembled more fishing than pond dipping, all thoughts of pond dipping went out of the window. My trio had more than enough in these 2 fine specimens to keep them busy for a few hours! I had hoped to locate some frogspawn, as last year we didn’t manage this either. I thought as it had only just stopped snowing a week ago, and we still had freezing temperatures until a few days ago, we might have got lucky. However, the parts of the pond we could access (very dense woodland surrounding it), didn’t give us any sightings of frog spawn.
We retreated a safe distance from the pond, and found a nice clearing to sit in. No such thing as a nice ready made pond dipping platform here, as nature is left to its own devices so you need to blend in with it to study it! We got our nature journals out and our pencil cases, and started sketching the two specimens we had found. We chatted at this point about what they were, whether they were frogs or toads, and the main differences about them. We also discussed the way they lived and their habitat as well, making notes in our journals as we went along (well, I added it in for the mini men, who will benefit one day!). It was so lovely to be finally back outside sketching again in the sunshine, even if we were still well wrapped up.
After a while, the children headed off to climb trees while I lit the Kelly Kettle to make a warm drink. They were going to have a warm drink and marshmallows while we read this week’s book (“By Pond and River” by Arabella Buckley) and this week’s poem (“A Friend in the Garden” by Julia Horatia Ewing).
Today we had such a lovely time watching nature waking up after the long very cold Swedish winter, and already, just a week on from our last snowfall, nature is already very awake!! The children loved being able to see such fine specimens so easily, and also were very pleased to catch a couple themselves (all specimens were gently returned afterwards). They learnt so much this afternoon as the sheer pleasure of the situation was motivating, and the hands on experience will not be easily forgotten, and all to the background music of sea eagles calling to each other all throughout the afternoon 🙂
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 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.