Preschool Explorers Discover Cornelius Pond Woodlands

Reflections by Andrea Higgins, photos by Gerry Beetham

We were greeted with a beautiful, bright, cloudless, sunshine-filled blue sky morning and the radiant smiling faces of six curious, joyful, inquisitive explorers.  What a wonderful way to start the day!

This outdoor adventure found us at HCT’s Cornelius Pond Woodlands, such an inviting place for us to explore and play.  Today our theme was observation. Our preschool group was quick and eager to share what they were noticing!  Observations were made looking up toward the sky and down on the ground. 

Leafless twisting, lichen covered trees gave unobstructed views of the magnificent blue sky. The ground was decorated with leaves of many shapes, sizes and colors, some resembling swiss cheese…loaded with perfect round circles all through it!  A perfectly placed bench with views of the pond invited us to sit and ponder. 

We first took a big sniff of the air and our preschool explorers reported that they smelled “leaves” ,”dirt”, “trees” and “chicken soup”. I gave each explorer and caregiver a bayberry leaf so they could give that a sniff. 

Next question… “what can you hear?”  Our explorers cheerfully called out that they could hear the “wind”.  So many sights to see looking out at the sparkling pond and an abundance of reflections were made.  Comfortable and content on the bench we settled in to read Once Upon A Memory by Nina Laden. 

Back on the trails we sauntered along until we came upon a sun-lit meadow, grasses glistening like gold in the bright sunshine.  Such an inviting place to create our nature kitchen!  Pots, saute pans, and loaf pans were filled with treasures found on the forest and meadow floor.  A couple of pretend fires were created to cook our culinary delights and we cozied up around the “fire” with plates full of our “forest food” to listen to The Mitten by Jan Brett. 

We wondered and wandered along the winding trails with magnifier lenses in hand to take a closer look at the beauty found all along.  We made sure to stop along the trail when we discovered wintergreen so we could take a sniff of the minty fragrance. 

Nearing the end of our walk we found a tree whose base was covered in a fuzzy moss making it appear as if it was wearing cozy socks or a warm fluffy scarf.  Fun to touch and so interesting to peek at it with our magnifying lenses!  Happy end of November to my delightful Explorers and Caregivers.  I look forward to seeing everyone again as December unfolds.   ~Ms. Andrea