Today is National Truth and Reconciliation Day and we follow in the footsteps of those who have come before us and have an intimate connection to this land.
The children came in on this crisp, see your breath, fall morning, and left in blue sky sunshine! It was the best fall day possible. We began by colouring an image created by indigenous author and illustrator, Bridget George, of Kettle and Stoney Point First Nations. This got us talking about the meaning of Orange Shirt Day and how this image might represent children, freedom, and culture. A big conversation to start this special day.
We swooped and soared past (bird) dangers on our great migration south. You could ask your child what species of birds Dragonfly hid, and what feathers she brought to show us. With the call of the Blue Jay and Canada Geese flying in formation over head, this was a very engaging lesson.
Why do we call this place Mystery Forest, asked Neive as we entered the forest doorway. Well, this place showed us why today. Ask your child...
*What funny and yummy crop is growing as ground cover on the field nearby? (radishes)
*Tell me about the mushrooms growing in this place, Did you find out more from a field guide?
*What did you create or do during wander time in Mystery Forest?
We held a smudging ceremony, honouring this strong tradition of cleansing the air, body, and thoughts in preparation for learning. It was a beautiful and calming reminder of the need for mindful reflection in our lives.
Tree friends were patiently waiting for us to check in and say hello. We gathered for the story. “Our Tree Named Steve”, and then came up with our own name for our tree friend. Getting to know them will be part of each visit and today we did a bark rubbing to capture our trees unique fingerprint. (see their nature journal). Build this wonderful connection by asking for new details about your child's tree friend after each day at nature school.
We were thankful to Kathy Eastman for setting out a bin of books as the library was closed today. Field guides seem to pull attention. Faviourites today were about bones, birds, and butterflies. I even learned the latin name of ‘Canada Goose’, Branta Canadensis. Thank you Leif and Mary for inspiring us to try latin names for owls too! You don’t have to wonder why we are amazed with these kids!!
Our afternoon was filled with water, leaves and music, which hit the right note with our group. Ask you child what types of leaves they collected, and to share their colourful leaf pile picture. The river spillway is a fascinating place. Our bridge gang did the boat construction and set them to sail and our creek watchers hoped they might make the journey. Laughter and excitement was in the air, everyone in motion and immersed in purposeful activity. Next week we all want to have tall boots for more creek walking and raft building.
We are mindful of the needing to capture this moment in early autumn when there is so much information about the surrounding tree species. Check in with your child to see what leaf shapes we looked at today and which species of trees they were from. There will be and art leaf pile brought home in backpacks, along with some random leaf treasures tucked away. Many want to start pressing leaves in books to help with tree identification.
We have a list going of all the wishes for next week; more songs, creek adventure, library visit, Firekeepers game and so much more. Here is one of Leif the Firekeeper protecting the flame from a quiet sneaker. Thank you to Tamarack for her gentle presence guiding the children and her eye for what must be photographed to share with you.
Happy trails until next week Forest Friends:)