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Wooly Bears, Playing, Making, and Picking

Updated: Oct 1, 2023

What Happened?

We had a fun and creative week in the forest and on our field trips to Verger Hudson Bio and Heartbeet Community Farm. Everywhere we went this week we saw Wooly Bears/Wooly Worms, also known as the caterpillar of the Isabella Moth. There is some interesting folklore about them being used to predict the severity of the coming winter that you can read about here. Researching about them led me to learn how a community in North Carolina has them race up strings at a Festival in Banner Elk, North Carolina. The children loved finding them, gently picking them up, playing with them and then placing them somewhere safe. There are also many Dagger Moth caterpillars and millipedes roaming about as well so we are having lots of conversations about what is safe to touch and why the insects have these toxic defences. We shared stories, took turns reading, climbed, banged some nails, swung in hammocks, coloured bark with crayons, beaded, balanced on logs, climbed trees, wondered, and also discussed how we might organize ourselves to explore our interests and meet goals. Our trips to Le Verger de Hudson and Hudson Heartbeet Community Farm provided an opportunity for the children to experience direct learning from community members Robyn, Steve and Anick, and to build upon their knowledge about plant cycles, pesticides, types of soil, micro-greens, gardening practices, community service, and more! We also had the opportunity to create using clay with Adele, a local Hudson Artist.


What Does It Mean?

The children are learning to distinguish and describe living things through the concept of attributes or character traits. We identify and describe the traits of living things using vocabulary such as colour, shape, size, species and patterns we see in meaningful contexts as we play and discover living things. We also use dangerous attributes or traits like toxic caterpillars, stinging nettles, burning peppers, of venomous spiders, which helps build a deep understanding of these concepts. Children make connections of these attributes to the stories we read, like the hungry caterpillar, and have conversations about how living things change and transform. The children enjoy co-creating knowledge, sharing knowledge, finding answers in books, and collaborative learning. They continue to develop their gross and fine motor skills by balancing, jumping, or swinging on branches. Oral vocabulary and language skills continue to develop as we discuss story elements, and debate about millipede, centipede, frog, and plant identification and the numbers that we find, count and discover. This type of kinesthetic or tactile learning is both enjoyable and sensory ways of learning, that often are not seen as learning as it all happens while we are immersed in play, exploration and movement! Our adventures into the Hudson community continue to build community connections and provide the opportunity for children to discover how they learn in a new environment, with new people, asking questions, and new ways of learning. Closing the field trip morning and afternoon with our regular routine story and talking stick sharing brought greater calm and connection back to the group which was amazing to observe in the two new spaces.

What's Next?

We will continue to play, explore, and learn about ourselves, each other and nature. We will organize ourselves to further explore our interests in deeper, and more sustained ways. We will continue to discuss story elements, character traits, literacy, numbers and patterns while we play and move outdoors. We look forward to the seasonal transformation of the forest foliage! Perhaps we can design some Wooly Bear races?



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