From their leaves and their trunks to the acorns that fall from their stems, the life cycle of an oak tree is the subject of a creative learning project for kindergartners at Bayville Primary School.

In collaboration with kindergarten teachers, librarian Stefanie Lipsey began a science observation project that incorporates art, science, writing and more. The project also fosters open-mindedness, caring, knowledge, inquiry and higher-level thinking skills, which are the learner profiles incorporated into the curriculum.

Lipsey began by reading to each kindergarten class from a book about the life cycle of an oak tree. The children quickly became familiar with new vocabulary words, including acorn, seedling, stem and trunk. Once familiar with the parts of the oak tree, the classes headed outside to observe the trees in their natural setting. They worked to identify which trees were oaks by looking for the familiar leaves. 

The groups gathered in front of one of the large oak trees on the school lawn and, using the tree as a model, drew their own renditions of the oak. This drawing will become the first page of a book they will work on throughout the year. Each season, they will draw the tree again – with yellow and orange leaves, with no leaves, and as the green leaves return. 

“This is part of a larger study of seasons and life cycles,” Lipsey explained. “There is no better way to learn about nature than to observe it, take notes on what you see and keep track of the changes as they occur.” She added that the children enjoy the creative lesson and therefore more easily remember what they learn.