Land Team & CFS

Land Team Answers Preschoolers’ Questions

Preschoolers are naturally curious. 

The teachers at Creekside Forest School love to encourage that curiosity and even let it inspire the curriculum at times. Often, the students (who range from 3 to 5 years old) come up with great questions about the natural world as they observe it during their many hours spent outside.

During the last month of the 2023-2024 school year members of the Indian Creek Nature Center land team joined the preschoolers for circle time to answer the students’ questions. 

Students and teachers greeted the land team with the song ‘Make New Friends’ and then the kids got to begin their questioning!

The Land Team had a wonderful time answering the students’ questions and perhaps inspired some future trail builders. You can read the Q & A session below or watch a 4-minute video with the highlights.

Questions & Answers

CFS kid: How do plants grow?

Jared : When you breath out, that makes carbon dioxide. Plus, light. WHere does the light come from?

CFS kids: The sun!

Jared: And then there’s water too. All those three things combined go into a leaf and then out comes sugar. And oxygen.

Jean: A lot of plants need the longer sunlight days to grow, and they need the warmth. Otherwise everything is frozen and they can’t get the water inside. 

Abby: They kind of sleep in the winter. They stay dormant.

CFS kid: Why do you burn the prairie?

Gabe: One reason we do that is because when there’s all the dead grass, all the nutrients are in the dad grass. But when you burn it the nutrients goes back in the soil we it can grow new grass. 

Abby: So after we burn, one of or a couple of the prairies, you see the black soil and all these fresh green leaves come out. Fresh grasses and wildflowers. We also burn the prairies because usually prairies should have grasses, wildflowers, but sometimes there’s little shrubs things that have wooden bark and stems like that and we don’t usually want those in the prairie because they can take over and shade areas. So, then hopefully, when a fire happens it burns those shrubs down a bit for the next year.

CFS Kid: What happens if you burn your eyeballs? (How do you stay safe while burning the prairie?)

Jean: Have any of you ever seen us chainsaw? 

CFS kids: We hear it.

Jean: So, when we chainsaw we usually have an orange hardhat on with a face screen that prevents things from getting in your face or falling on your head. We wear these orange pants. 

CFS student seeing a fossil
Creekside Forest School students spend more than 80% of their school hours outside in the natural spaces stewarded by the Indian Creek Nature Center land team.

Abby: We wear some water like backpacks. Does that sound interesting? Backpacks of water.

CFS kid: Yeah! You guys have to carry a lot of stuff. 

CFS teachers: Land team are strong.

CFS kid: I’m strong. Look! {starts flexing muscles}

CFS teachers: Do you have muscles like the land team?

Land team: {start flexing muscles}

CFS kid: What gets turned into fossils?

Gabe: Mostly ones that are hard enough to last and hard enough to be fossilized. Squishy stuff like jellyfish do not fossilize.

CFS kid: How does poison ivy make us itch?

Jean: So, the poison ivy, like different plants, have oils and chemicals inside of them. And poison ivy has oil in it that we’re allergic to – but not everybody is allergic to. Have you guys ever seen that the poison ivy leaves are shiny? That’s because they have a very thin oil on them and it protects them from us because we all avoid it, right? Because we know it will make us itch. So we’re all allergic to that oil but not everybody is. Gabe here is not allergic to poison ivy.

CFS teacher: That’s kind of like a super power, Gabe. 

CFS kid: That was a great question.

CFS kid: Why did you put the dirt on top of the turtle?

{This refers to a mound in the outdoor classroom, not a live turtle.}

Abby: We put the dirt on top of the turtle, and then we put grass seeds on it. We went out and we raked all the grass seeds on there, on top of the fresh dirt. The same dirt you use for your garden over there. Now if you look there’s some grass in there. Baby grass. 

CFS kid: Why does a tree fall to the ground?

Abby: Sometimes a tree is not strong enough and it falls to the ground. Sometimes the tree is old so it will fall because it’s old. Sometimes the trees are sick and we don’t know. Maybe it’s hollow inside, so it has nothing inside and then it falls over. But sometimes the tree is just not strong enough anymore and it falls to the ground. And then, if it falls on the trail we’ll clean it off the trail so it’s safe for you guys to walk on it.

CFS teacher: Would any of you guys think you’d like to work on the land team someday?

CFS kid: I would definitely work here and make trails.

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