Notes from the Naturalist Week 14:The Nature Preschool at HCMA
Snow! While yesterdays’ snowstorm may seem like old news, it was not for our Nature Preschoolers! Fresh snow is like a bare canvas, inviting one to leave their mark. Unprompted and under their own design, each child found a fun way to engage in the new snow. Some made snow angles, prepared “ice cakes”, threw snowballs at trees and even built a snowman. Snow is exciting to some and not for others. How we engage each child in this outdoor process is so very important as we help them to build their outdoor foundation for life.
This is our real first day of Nature Preschool with snow on the ground. You could see how many of the children were at their happiest of moments in the snow and some were just at odds with what to do with it and how to handle themselves in it. I love snow and find that there are so many fun activities to do in the snow. But the reality is that there are some individuals who, no matter what, do not have the same fondness of snow as I do. As teachers and guides, we observe our little students all the time. And it is in this moment, with snow on the ground that the light goes off…..why is this child struggling to find happiness in this moment when they have been so carefree and easygoing from the start of school? Aaa-ha! So I ask one child, why they are not enjoying the moment……and the answer was: “I just don’t like snow!” Each child is born with their own unique personality, and we are here to help them be who they are. Even if they do not like snow!
Uniqueness is no different from personalities to snowflakes. There are 35 types of snowflakes (and I won’t list them here….). While it has been said that no two snowflakes are the same, we can all agree that they sure do come in a variety of forms. “Atmospheric conditions affect how snow crystals form and what happens to them as they fall to the ground. Snow may fall as symmetrical, six-sided snowflakes, or it may fall as larger clumps of flakes. Similarly, once snow is on the ground, the snowpack may assume different qualities depending on local temperature changes, whether winds blow the snow around, or how long the snow has been on the ground. For instance, a fresh snowfall may be loose and powdery, but snow that has been on the ground throughout the winter may have dense, crusted layers caused by melting and refreezing. Scientists and meteorologists have classified types of snowfall, snowpack, and snow formations.” – NSIDC.org.
When we first arrived at the lodge, the snow was dry and would not clump together. As the sun came out and warmed the snow surface, melting the ice crystals, the density of the snow changed allowing us to clump and roll the snow. Charting the types of snow as winter goes on is an excellent idea to see how each storm can be different according to the atmospheric conditions, local temperatures and wind in any given area. Enjoy each unique snowflake….they are just as special as each unique personality! Happy Snow Day!
For more information on Snow Flakes: https://www.its.caltech.edu/~atomic/snowcrystals/alike/alike.htm