Fourth grade naturalists begin capstone year

Students in the Class of 2030 embarked on their first Forest Day of the year in September. As Lower School's senior naturalists, they looked ahead at how they can act as beacons of citizenship within the Tiger community. Continue reading for a full recap. 
By Lauren Hagan, Lower School Naturalist Teacher

Fourth graders visited the Lodge at Warner Park for their first Forest Day in early September. Our time began with discussions about the important and unique position our fourth graders hold in our USN community. They are the big students on campus in terms of their time in Lower School, and they will be making their transition to Middle School soon enough.

All the students in the younger grades look up to them as beacons of how to be engaged citizens and naturalists. With this in mind, students reflected on their naturalist hopes and dreams for the year and chose a word or phrase to define their final year in the program. Powerful words such as tenacious, flexible, determination, and fearless were chosen to shape this capstone year.

Next, students engaged in the all-time favorite activity of Forest Day — free exploration in the woods. Shouts of joy filled the air as students raced down the front field to enter the woodland forest. Their imaginations came to life as they began building, looking for fungi, engaging in pretend play, climbing trees, and swinging on vines. This unstructured play is the one of most important things we do during Forest Days, and it is truly astonishing to observe all the activities that unfold.

During this time, students were called in small groups to create a tie-dye bandana decorated with their defining word. They will wear them on journeys all year as a reminder of their hopes and dreams and as a symbol of their important place in our school community.

The Forest Day ended as it always does, with a closing circle under the canopy of Preston, the red oak tree. Students shared their defining words, and we paused to offer gratitude at having the opportunity to gather and explore in this beautiful place. 
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    • Fourth graders tie-dye bandanas on their first Forest Day of the year.

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