Returning to Montrose Park
Montrose in the Fall
This fall, we took our first trip to Montrose Park. We initially had gone for an “acorn hunt.” While there weren’t many acorns to find, the children were inspired by the trees, leaves and nature around them. One tree we came across was not standing like the others. The children hypothesized how it might have fallen down. We noticed how most of their ideas were connected to the weather.
Weather conversations have persisted since then. In their winter research. Discussions during morning meetings. The stories they share while drawing and painting. During their play in the outdoor classroom. Weather is a large part of a three and four year old's life! With these observations in mind, we thought the children might be interested in returning to Montrose Park in the winter. We asked them, what might be different about Montrose Park in the winter?:
Ford: The leaves go away. Plain trees. The wind blew the leaves away. If the leaves are all gone, then the trees will be naked.
Charlton: Naked trees. The clothes are the leaves.
Rawls: They (the trees) would look like sad trees (without leaves).
Seon: (There are) no leaves on the tree, because they be so cold they might shiver and disappear.
Zari: Leaves don’t shiver, they are not like the wind. The wind shakes the leaves.
Seon: The wind blows the leaves away.
Zari: There will not be leaves anymore.
Ava: It would be nice if there was more sun.
Seon: I think it would feel like cold. It would because it is winter. The wind might make it cold.
Ford: Cold, but nice because if the sun is out.
Seon: It will be really cold because it is winter. Wind and snow make it cold. When it’s hot, it just be rain.
Zari: Cold, because if we go in the winter, winter is cold and summer is hot.
They shared why they would want to return:
Ford: I want to go back so I can see if I’m right about the leaves…if they blow away.
Seon: We want to see if our ideas about the trees and the places are right.
Mimi: I want to see if the weather will be snow there, because it is cold so it might snow.
Charlton: (I want to see) if the trees are naked by the wind.
Ford: We want to see the weather! How the cold comes in.
Montrose in the Winter
The children invited their families and together we returned to Montrose Park. Three months later, there were many differences from the first excursion and the children were once again able to explore and test their hypotheses.
"Why do you think the trees are moving?" - Jessie, Isabelle's Mom
"Because the wind is blowing them." - Mimi
We asked the children and their grownups to take pictures of the weather and anything else they noticed while walking around.
"It's so watery. It makes you jump." - Zari
After a long walk, snack and joyful playtime...
...we gathered in a circle to share what we noticed during our time at Montrose.
Emma : Did you see anything special on our walk?
Ellie: A boy
Emma: There were some children that weren’t part of our group. What have we been talking about? What were we going to look for at Montrose Park?
Joci: We saw and we heard wind. Where do you think the wind comes from?
Seon: Inside the clouds.
Charlton: In real life it comes from trees.
Emma: Why do you say it comes from trees? How do you see the wind in the trees?
Ford: (in response to Charlton) The trees doesn’t have the wind. The wind blows the trees. How can that happen? It doesn't keep the wind. In real life.
Emma: Charlton says the wind comes from the trees.
Whit is pointing at something in the distance. (Perhaps wind?)
Ford: It doesn’t. Wind is from leaves (looks confused).
Joci: Who was it that said the wind comes from the clouds? Seon? (Ellie wants to talk) Do you agree with that, Ellie?
A giant wind gust comes.
Charlton: (excitedly) Oh, yeah right there! (He and Whit point in the direction of the wind.)
Emma: Do you feel it now? Listen.
Ford: (shouting) It comes from water.
Joci: That’s a gust of wind. A gust is a short, strong wind that comes suddenly. Where do you think it's coming from?
Ford points to the direction of where it's coming from. (really it is coming this way!)
Seon stands up to “show us something.”
Seon: First you stretch out your arms and spin around and you feel the air. With your hands. It’s really easy. I got a wind book at home.
Emma: Seon says you can move your body to feel the wind. Can you try it? Do you feel the wind?
Whit gets up and spins.
The children have been doing such in-depth thinking about the weather, and in particular about the wind. They have such insightful ideas and explanations for the invisible phenomenon. We await the conversations and experiences in the coming weeks that will surely be inspired by our return to Montrose.
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