The Wrack

The Wrack is the Wells Reserve blog, our collective logbook on the web.

Stories, Art, and Nature Walks for Preschoolers!

Posted by | December 31, 2013

As 2013 comes to a close, so too does the Reserve's pilot preschool story hour program for Head Start centers in Biddeford and Sanford. In October, November, and December, children and their parents visited to listen to a reading of Giving Thanks.Story hour This beautiful story written by Jonathan London tells of a father and son who take a walk in the woods, giving thanks to the trees, birds, insects, mushrooms, and all the other wonders of nature they observe. The words and illustrations on each page convey the importance of appreciating and respecting those with whom we share this world.

After the storytelling, the children (and even some of the parents!) made their own artful crowns to wear, featuring each of the animals, plants, and cosmic wonders in the story. With big smiles and a sense of pride, many of them then wore these crowns outside on a nature walk. Traveling along the Reserve's trails, children and adults alike were encouraged to give thanks to the fallen leaves, the old copper beech tree, the milkweed seeds, the bird nests, and all of the other wonders of nature that were encountered.


Before leaving the Reserve, each child received their own copy of Giving Thanks to take home. Each family was also gifted a copy of Rachel Carson's Sense of Wonder, an inspiring book that focuses on the importance of spending time outdoors experiencing nature with children. All driving families were also given a gas card to help with the expense of traveling from Biddeford and Sanford.

A total of 146 children and parents from six Head Start centers participated in this exciting new program. For many of these families, it was their first time visiting the Reserve. Following is a sampling of feedback from parents:

  • I loved how the story time tied into the trail walk--what a nice lesson to impress on our children!
  • Kids had lots of fun outside looking at all the cool things.
  • Very informative--even I learned some new facts about nature.milkweed pods
  • It's helpful in teaching the little ones to be thankful and to care.
  • I like the way she used props--interactive storytelling--great job!
  • My daughter loved the craft time and playing in the leaves!
  • My son loved it! He loves being outdoors and exploring all the wonders out there.
  • When we were walking on the trail, children were talking about the book and saying thank you.
  • My daughter talked about it all day and still wears the crown!
  • Loved the story hour--the way she used the stuffed animals that went with the story.
  • I wish I had discovered this place sooner. It is very beautiful!
  • Everyone was friendly and the program was well put together.
  • Just want to thank you so much for a wonderful time and informational trip. Thank you, thank you!nature walk

Thank you to the Stephen & Tabitha King Foundation for providing their most generous support of this program!

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