One diverse group of kids from different home towns and backgrounds. This is our place to start, creating a kind, cohesive community ready to learn together in nature. Longs legs and little ones, skilled readers and early dabblers; those with big ideas that come out in long sentences and minds filled with quiet thoughts, absorbing. This is a family style group from 4 to 14 which can be an absolutely beautiful experience for everyone as we move from ME to WE. It takes careful craftsmanship to smooth the edges, praise, nudge, encourage inclusive thoughts and actions. We are getting there together!
.Ask your child about how we flow at nature school, What are the calls to follow and expectations in packing up, at wander time, and when we get ready to leave for the day. Chat about how your child can make the group function even better. Everybody, big and small has a role to play all year long.
We focused on the two BIG groups of trees; broad-leafed that drop in fall, and those with needles and cones. Ask you child to clap out these two words (con-i-fer-ous / dec-id-u-ous). Can they point out these different trees and maybe identify a few on your next walk? Maple and Oak species should be familiar now for your child.
Elk’s favourite part of the day was constructing a big coniferous tree and adding needles and cones. We used rulers to measure the size of cones and needles. Some short ones like spruce and long ones like white pine. Different coniferous trees have different needles and cones, even the overall shape can be different. Together we made a triangular shaped tree from pieces of nature. Often the roots aren't seen or are overlooked but once again our friends thought about including the roots as part of the design. Lots of walnuts.
Mystery Forest is the perfect place to make a leaf life cycle or rainbow. Ask for a retell of this activity, Why do leaves change colour and what are some of the stages of change you might see? What happens to a leaf at the end of its life cycle?
There was loads of creative play at morning wander time. Using new tools like ropes and tarps to build shelters. A pine cone swing was made by Daisy and Hummingbird along with a little shelter of sticks for her pine cone. A rope swing with a spot for for one foot was inviting for all. Good to see everyone helping each other get their foot in and out of the toe hole. Thanks to Owl and Larch for sharing their knot tying expertise. Hawk used a rope to assist him climbing to new heights while others tried but weren’t quite ready for this challenge. Elk and Fiirefly were naturals in the swing.
In our library time today Grey Squirrel had a folding activity ready and shared a book called ‘Beneath’, an amazing story about appreciating what lies beneath the surface in nature and within ourselves. It is well worth sharing again at a time when your child has a moment of feeling low or sad. It's hopeful and shows the true value of our family connections.
Our afternoon began with visits to our tree friends. Check in about the three things your child noticed about their tree. What is its proper (species) name? Was the apple you left still there?
Onward to Cedar Hideaway with a ticket required at the gate to get in for our first visit this year. So much activity in the mud kitchen, on the water, and also building. What did your child do/create during this time, and who did they partner with? Expresso, corn bread, dumplings, berry pie and even some powerful poison concoctions were on the menu. So much fun!!!!
Back to the Mill for journal/art time. Our Seedling group worked on tracing a white oak leaf shape and adding different types of lines for artistic flare. This artpiece will be finished and come home next week. The Saplings used field guides to identify and write about one coniferous and one deciduous tree and added several details about leaves, bark, and seeds along their sketch. What trees did your child choose to add?
Our trip back is always filled with chatter and exhausted excitement. This group was humming all day with such positive energy. The beautiful fall weather allowed us another outdoor lunch together on the big tarp table complete with a leaf centrepiece. Enjoy the leaf walks and talks this weekend Forest Friends:)