Thursday, November 25, 2010

creating a frog habitat at preschool

There was excitement at the preschool when word got out that a small green frog had been sighted near a muddy puddle. 

With the creation of the insect habitats fresh in their minds, several of the bug hunting brigade decided that making a habitat for frogs and tadpoles would attract more green frogs to preschool.  They decided to build a pond.

As I said yesterday, if  you ever need anything done quickly grab a team of interested and motivated preschoolers.  These guys carried, dragged and carted logs, planks and rocks for the pond from here:

and arranged them neatly around the puddle.  They formed a plan and with great co-operation and negotiation and arranging of materials achieved their goal.  Where there was once a puddle there is now a pond:

The next day they were disappointed to discover that all the water had seeped away: 

I, on the other hand, was delighted for the learning opportunity this presented. Where had the water come from? Where had the water gone? How can we keep the water in our pond? 

Our challenge was to find a way to keep the water in the pond.  We decided to try a couple of layers of plastic sheeting to line the bottom of the pond:

The next step was to add the water:

And then some mud:

And finally to monitor the water level throughout the day:

Meanwhile we took a walk down the path to the Primary School to look at their pond for inspiration:

They scooped out some green slimy stuff floating on the water to take back to our pond.  (I will have to hunt out our pond life books so that we can find out what the green slimy floaty stuff is!)

Once the green slimy stuff was transported safely to our own pond:

the children decided to add a bridge like the one at primary, albeit on a much smaller scale:

Now all that is left to do is to look through some books to find out more about ponds, and settle in to wait for the frogs to take up residence.

This is what I love about an emergent curriculum.  By allowing children loads of time for free play and  providing an environment rich in materials we can be spontaneous and follow through on the children's interests - and the children can effect change on their own play space. 

At the beginning of the day I had no idea we would be building a pond.  And yet, here it is.  With a whole lot of learning and discovery happening in between.

If you would to find out more about building ponds with preschoolers I have found a couple of handy links:

::: Creating a frog pond @ little eyes on nature


  1. Right now - I kinda love you. I love your creativity and flexibility, and if my daughter didn't have such great kindy teachers already I'd be considering moving into your area!

    And I also love you because we have tadpoles in a fish tank at home and I've been feeling pangs of guilt about getting them in a better environment. But - I've been seriously lacking the time to research it. You've given me some great links - and more importantly, the inspiration to do it.

    Thank you!

  2. Wow, I've always been against preschool, but maybe that's because I had no idea preschool programs like yours existed! It's GREAT to go with the learn from the the moment of interest and inspiration! I can't wait to read more!

  3. Thank you Toasted and Lyndsey :) I've just read that it can be up to two years before frogs take up residence in ponds, so we might be in for a long wait :)

    We also have tadpoles in a tank at preschool bought in by one of our children - we keep them for a while and then encourage the families to release them back where they came from.

  4. try planting some lamandra around it. it's a native grass. the white base of the stems can be eaten by scraping the teeth across it. taste is kinda similar to peas. the lengths can be woven to form other things, like a dillybag. Great traditional bush tucker/useful plant. Frogs love them as they provide shade and shelter.


  5. also to stop mossies from using the pond as a breeding ground install a few "white cloud" or "mountain blue eyes" fish. cheep from any aquarium store. they'll munch on the mozzies.

    extra nutrients build up fast in full sun and shallow pools so providing shade and a bit of duck weed helps. if you get too much duckweed, which takes away oxygen from the water and potentially kills the fish you just scoop it out and use it as wonderful fertilizer.

  6. and the green stuff was algae. you don't want it in there.

  7. Wocket, wow you know your stuff! Thanks for all the helpful information - will keep you updated with how our pond develops over time.

  8. I wish I could have been there to see the kids helping. It would have been wonderful to be a part of their enthusiasm. Your little group never ceases to amaze me.

  9. What an awesome preschool.
    I can see quite a few ideas making their way to our farm.
    Thanks for visiting me.
    I love your blog already.
    I want to make a dry creek bed (well kind of dry) and a frog habitat maybe. (to keep them away from our toilet)

  10. Amazing little imaginations they have and great little worker bees too. I love what you guys came up with and am feeling so inspired.