Thursday, October 17, 2019

October - The Boggart

Monday, October 14, was Indigenous Peoples' Day. Here are a few notes from our week of Indian Corn Fun!

Our corn activities this week all came from the lovely book Earthways: Simple Environmental Activities for Young Children by Carol Petrash. This book is a Waldorf early childhood classic which is -- surprisingly -- out of print and inexpensive. She helps you transition into a Waldorf classroom or home slowly season by season with a host of easy to follow activities, organized step by step and labeled with specific age recommendations!

Our story this week is a traditional Harvest story from England, which is why it features "The Boggart." This tale is also sometimes called "Clever Reaping" and was retold by Janet Stevens in the well-known picture book Tops & Bottoms. We used the version in Festivals Together: A Guide to Multicultural Celebration by Sue Fitzjohn, et al. Before I told the story each day we sang "Song of the Harvest Hoe," a traditional Chinese work song (page 138).

We continued with our Songs, Verses & Movement for classroom routines.

Circle Time

In case the links to these fun finger plays do not work in the future, I'm going to include the words and movements here as well.

    Eat an Apple

    Eat an apple.
    (Bring right hand to mouth)

    Save the core.
    (Close right hand in fist)

    Plant the seeds,
    (Bend down and touch hand to ground)

    And grow some more.
    (Extend both arms out)

    Five Little Pumpkins

    Five little pumpkins were sitting on the ground.
    (Hold up five fingers)

    The first little pumpkin was short and round,
    (Point to thumb)

    The second little pumpkin was happy to be found.
    (Point to index finger)

    The third little pumpkin had a curly vine,
    (Point to middle finger)

    The fourth little pumpkin liked sunshine.
    (Point to ring finger)

    The fifth little pumpkin grew so quick,
    (Point to little finger)

    Now all five pumpkins are ready to be picked.
    (Wiggle all five fingers)

Also, The Children's Music Studio: A Reggio-Inspired Approach by Wendell Hanna is filled with great open-ended music explorations! It gives a musical "provocation" activity and then your children simply go in the directions that interest them. We just enjoyed doing the verse and its traditional movements in class, but if you're looking for new creative ways to incorporate music play into your family time, I highly recommend this book!


    Corn Bread Squares

    1 cup yellow cornmeal
    1/4 cup whole wheat flour
    2 tsp baking powder
    1/2 tsp salt
    1/4 tsp baking soda
    1 egg, lightly beaten
    8 oz plain yogurt
    1/2 cup milk
    1/4 cup vegetable oil
    1/4 cup honey

    Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit and lightly grease an 8 inch square baking dish.

    In large bowl combine cornmeal, whole wheat flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. In medium bowl combine egg, yogurt, milk, oil, and honey. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients. Stir until just moistened. Bake for 16-20 min or until a toothpick come out clean.


This day is a favorite of mine each year! I love helping the children to make necklaces of beautiful Indian Corn kernels with their many colors. Zac had great fun choosing the prettiest ones to soak in water the night beforehand. We also finished sewing the final dragon finger puppet today!

A new board game, Pancake Pile-Up, sparked lots of new imaginative play. The playstands were festooned with silks to make a colorful restaurant, "Sunshine Cafe", and many of the felt play kitchen foods were in high demand as customers came and went. The Haba Color Pie became a pizza. All of the dolls showed up at the restaurant, one at a time, to have a meal.

Then the children made beds inside the playstands with cozy silks (and Zac fetched some pillows from his room) and everyone played at going to sleep and then waking up and then opening the restaurant again as a brand-new day. It was nice to see them incoprorate some downtime naturally into their play like that!

Outside I watched the play evolve as well, as the initial Bell Hunt game (where the dragon comes out of its cave and chases the other children) became too intense for one child. And since another child really wanted to keep the sneaking up with bells portion of the game, a compromise was met. Sneaking up with bells held so that they would not make a sound continued, but there was no chasing in the second portion of the game. Instead, everyone become a dragon and they all played in the dragon cave together.

At the very end of our outside play time, we looked for persimmons which may have fallen from the tree, and I got out the child-size bamboo leaf rakes from the Montessori Services website For Small Hands and they raked up big leaf piles and then jumped in them. Ahhhh, Autumn.


Seeing Janet Stevens' illustrations really helped bring this story to life, and was a perfect transition to visiting a pumpkin farm on Monday. We will get to take a hayride through the fields and will be able to walk in the corn maze!

And, of course, today was Stone Soup day! It was delicious, as always. Thank you to everyone who contributed to the Stone Soup. And our sweet potatoes and Swiss chard were harvested just yesterday, at Dayempur Farm.

    vegetable broth
    red cabbage
    yellow squash
    sweet potato
    Swiss chard
    purple bell pepper

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