This week’s nature curriculum topic is Winter Trees. They have provided many a gorgeous back drop to my sunrise and sunset photos so far, as we arrived in Sweden late autumn, and have yet to see them bloom. Trees are lovely in winter too, framing the sky, and allowing us to really see their true shape, naked of leaves. However, there is also a lot going on with them. We tend to think of them being dormant, having lost their beautiful array of rainbow coloured leaves in the autumn, but they are very busy growing new life for when the warmer springtime comes 🙂 We took a brief walk round our rather large garden, and checked out a vast number of bushes and trees, all of which were prolific with buds. These buds contain baby leaves and flowers. The ones we pruned to sketch into our nature journals, are now stood in some water so we can see which buds burst out first (axillary or terminal), and which have flowers and which have leaves. The mini men’s journals aren’t pictured today as they just made a few markings in their books and were off, far too busy to do much after having a chat and listening to the story and poem!! My little lady and I sketched away, making notes and learning about opposite buds, alternate buds, whorled buds, nodes, and leaf scars. I think we were both surprised by the intricate patterns on the buds, and the variety of patterns.
The suggested reading for the theme was “Once There Was a Tree” by Natalia Romanova. This is a beautiful story that catalogues how life works. Once the tree is damaged and chopped down into a stump, it is still an important asset for the surrounding nature. Each living creature that occupies it for a short while alters it, making it perfect for the next type of visitor. This goes on through a few living creatures requiring the use of it until eventually a new tree grows out of it. It also underlines though, that although these creatures feel it is their own tree during their transient occupation of it, it does in fact belong to everyone, as it belongs to the earth, and that belongs to all 🙂 A lovely story, especially for the mini men to see how everything goes round in a circle. The poem was “Trees” by Sara Coleridge.
We have been doing our extension activities which include, tree maths, tree English, and tree art and craft, but check out my other blog posts on these topics and for ideas 🙂
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.