Junior Kindergarten Discovers the Magic of the Forest

Our tiny explorers in Junior Kindergarten enjoyed a big adventure last week while studying habitats. The adjoining JK classrooms transformed into a forest wonderland for an immersive experience in all things woodland. While all habitats incorporate food, water, and shelter, those necessities don’t look the same for a snake, a fish, an owl, or a bear!

Students have eagerly learned about the diverse adaptations that help animals survive and thrive in their habitats. As leaves fall from the trees, this is the perfect time of year for JKers to study the forest habitat and the animals that call it home. To make the study more authentic and accessible, the JK teachers set up numerous exploratory stations, including a tent, in the classrooms.

Junior Kindergarten Teacher Ginny Otto shared, “We spread our ‘campsite’ over both classrooms so that one room had the campfire where we could roast our white math cube marshmallows to add to our brown math cube hot chocolate cups. That room also had fishing poles so we could catch some magnetic fish! The other classroom had a tent with cozy blankets, a real lantern, and books to read about the forest habitat and the animals that call it home. We kept the door between the classrooms open so the children could work and play together as we studied the forest habitat.”

Students also enjoyed different habitat stations with pinecone paint stamping, mini forest dioramas with woodland animal figurines and clay, block building with bark-covered block shapes, and a leaf-drawing art project.

Otto was excited to inspire the students with a multi-day leafy art project. “Each JK student found a real leaf and then used a pencil to draw their leaf on paper, paying careful attention to its shape. Next, they traced over the pencil lines with a black Sharpie, and then the teachers made four copies of each drawing on heavyweight paper. Finally, the children used a different medium (glitter crayon, marker, oil pastels, watercolor) daily for four days to add beautiful colors to their leaves! They did an amazing job,” she said.

Throughout this project, Otto and fellow Junior Kindergarten Teacher Bridget Wallace most enjoy seeing the children engage with the unit and each other as one JK community.

We hope our JK students and forest friends have a delightful fall!