Our last week of nature school, can it be?! What a fabulous year it has been, thanks to each child, all the parents, our dedicated volunteers, Canyon-Lister School and the notable cooperation of Mother Nature.
What better way to celebrate the end of our Spring Session than set up a full-on mud kitchen?! The kids loved mixing, stirring, pouring, scooping, splashing, spilling and sharing as various concoctions were made. Some children worked in pairs or small groups, while others were content in their solo work of creation. Elaborate soups, deadly poison elixirs, chocolate smoothies and snail stew were all on the menu.
We have noticed that there has been a delightful increase in collaborative play and spontaneous group expression this session. One such moment happened this past week when a couple of the young lads were wearing birch bark sleeves on their arm and playing “robot”, and as they stiffly walked through a group of other students one of the robots stalled, turning into a statue. Another child came over with a special tool (stick) to help “fix” the stopped robot, and when the robot came back to life, he began robot dancing! Within moments a whole group of kids were breaking out in amazing dance moves and song. What a joyful and hilarious forest celebration!
Tuesday was our last “sit spot”, and everyone said goodbye to their personal little piece of the forest. This routine practice of silent observation has been such a special journey for our wolf cubs, who by now eagerly run to their own spots when the little brass bell is rung, reminding each other to be quiet, and then sit silently for 2-3 full minutes with owl eyes, coyote noses, and listening like a deer. Each time we meet for Nature School, the forest has changed in some big or little way and “sit spot" has been a special time to for each child to experience that personally from his or her own special place of observation. Ask your child about their sit spot, (what did they love most about your sit spot? What are some of your favourite memories during sit spot? What was your most favourite season? etc.) You might also consider having your child find a sit spot of their own in your yard at home, to continue this meditative and grounding practice of nature observation.
By Thursday, our densely green enchanted forest was blanketed in a soft layer of fluffy white. Snow?! No no, it’s too warm for that. Blooming cottonwood?! Why yes, and what better thing could we possibly find to make into pillowy soft bug beds or fairy hair wigs? Some of the children spent a magical morning collecting downy cottonwood while others made rope traps (hey, when did you kids all learn to tie knots?) or rode pirate boats (a.k.a. tree rounds) on the stormy seas. And they also climbed trees, went on mushroom finding adventures, balanced on logs, made maps, played super hero games, dug for bugs with shovels and tied ropes into webs. Oh, and ate snacks! (Wolf cubs always eat lots of snacks).
Last week we said 'farewell!' to our dedicated volunteer, Conch. Conch came to us from the ocean, and to the ocean she is returning. The children so enjoyed her big smiles, patient manner and silliness on the trails...And us adults appreciated the extra eyes and hands! Thank you, Conch, for your all of your ideas and energy! If Nature School were continuing over the summer, I know the kids would faithfully ask each morning, 'Where's Conch?' Safe travels!!! Maybe we'll see a Bella Bella Nature School pop up soon--who knows : )
We were fortunate to have been in the forest when CLES's Gr.2 class came down to release the painted butterflies they had been raising. Presto, 12 very excited wolf cubs! They were gentle (mostly) and very curious.
Nature treasures. Is that an egg? A rock that looks like an egg? Gold from the monkey temple lair?
I thought I'd share a bit from an article this week ('15 Reasons to Climb a Tree'), as it struck me as quite useful reading! Sure, sure, we can all nod our heads in agreement, but how do you actually support a young tree climber? Well, look no further--here are some good ideas! It might also shed some light on why we do things a bit differently at our Nature School (i.e.: we won't actually help a child who's looking for a boost up).
HOW TO CLIMB A TREEHelp your child learn to climb a tree with the easy tree climbing tips below:
When your child starts trying to climb trees this is usually an indication of readiness. Support their first efforts, then step back and allow them to do it on their own.
Start with small “easy” trees to climb and progress as your child gains mastery. Support your child’s first efforts, then step back and allow them to do it on their own.
Whenever you feel unsafe about your child’s safety calmly ask, “Do you feel safe?” If they do not feel safe
It won't be long before your child is beaming--'Mom, look at me!' And you'll hopefully be able to relax a bit at the bottom (haha). You can still be proud of your child's accomplishment, strength and growing flexibility!