Spring is in full swing at ACES at Rock Bottom Ranch, as we’re busily preparing the soil, starting seedlings, and caring for all the newest farm animals who call the Ranch home. In the past few weeks, we’ve welcomed new piglets, lambs, chicks, and rabbit kits, with more on the way! Spring at the Ranch also brings our Little Ranchers parent and child class with the youngest members of the ACES community.
Each Wednesday during Little Ranchers, kids aged 0-4 and their parents join us for stories, songs, crafts, and educational activities to learn about various aspects of life at the Ranch. This season, we’ll be exploring springtime parents and babies, and will focus on a different animal each week. By meeting and interacting with our farmyard animals and participating in themed activities, children will explore many of their developing senses and further cultivate their sense of wonder.
During class last week, we learned all about rabbits. After our weekly song and dance, our Little Ranchers enjoyed a puppet show set to the story “Little White Rabbit.” Afterwards, we made rabbit finger puppets, and the kids helped search for felt rabbits and carrots in our sensory tubs. Drawing on early childhood education research, which prioritizes a focus on sensory and process based activities, we aim to incorporate developmentally stimulating activities for this age group. Throughout the session we highlight listening, touching, sorting, movement, and other primary developmental skills.
While educators typically work within the Colorado State Science Standards in elementary schools throughout the valley, the Little Ranchers class offers the opportunity to plan creative curriculum that appeals to both kids and their parents, helping families to become more comfortable exploring the outdoors together! With our current Little Ranchers session under way, we’re looking forward to exploring and learning about Ranch animals during one of our favorite times of the year. Little Ranchers is also offered during the Fall, and families are always welcome to explore the Ranch on our Farm Tours, offered Monday - Saturday at 11AM.
~ Ali O'Neal