Notes from the Naturalist Week 11:The Nature Preschool at HCMA



It is in the small moments that we can glean big progress. Today was full of small moments that added up to a beautiful day. We shared moments of calm play, each child was so quiet in their own little world, you could hear the forest around us and the light drops of morning rain on the lodge. This calm, this quite, is evidence of the comfort and ease the children feel in this place on the side of Little Round Top Mountain. I find myself saying each Tuesday, “Today was the best day yet…..” and perhaps that is the truth with real progress.

Today found us honing in on our fair weather schedule. As we flex with the mild weather, we follow the schedule that best fits with the days demands.  Each day we walk a little closer to winter, we take the next step in preparing our minds and our bodies for the changes that will come as the weather cools, our brains grow another wrinkle and our bodies stretch to accommodate our new found independence. Each child has worked hard over the last couple of months with work on social and emotional independence, let us celebrate this huge stepping stone. 

I don’t know if it was the grey of the day or the calm of the children, but it sure felt noticeably different as we played in our gathering area. As the drum beat out, a signal for a transition, the children moved to sit under our tarp area. Snuggled just inside the tree-line, we gathered to talk about “Adaptations”.  Our discussions rarely last more than ten minutes, but let me tell you this was not only real progress for these little ones, but great success overall. We don’t ask for them to sit very long, but just long enough to stretch their little bodies for real learning. We discussed seasonal changes, some calling out how they loved the beach and warm weather or the puddles of spring. After identifying the proper clothing for each season we talked about how wildlife make adaptations for winter.  

“An adaptation is a mutation, or genetic change, that helps an organism, such as a plant or animal, survive in its environment. Due to the helpful nature of the mutation, it is passed down from one generation to the next. As more and more organisms inherit the mutation, the mutation becomes a typical part of the species. The mutation has become an adaptation.” – National Geographic.  Our conversation about Adaptations was kept fairly simple: from shearing sheep to shedding fur, and growing thicker winter fur coats, we had a great conversation about winter survival. If you every want to lose yourself in an interesting conservation, engage with your child….oh how they spin some great tales! 

We look forward to seeing you all on Sunday as we gather and celebrate the fall season and the growth of each child. Please come dressed to enjoy our time outside. Be prepared that the weather forecast is calling for rain and temperatures in the 40’s. We will have our light refreshments and drinks set up under the porch but we would love for you to enjoy our outdoor natural space…..even with a little rain! But of course, at the foundation of this type of learning environment, we are always ready to be flexible, make a change and adapt in that moment. 

 For more information on adaptions: