Thank you again, to the Rotary Club of Creston for helping us to purchase books--that can be used with all of our programs. More on this to come, as we grow a sweet collection of stories and resources (in the Tipi, under the trees, under a tarp in the rain--you can read and learn anywhere!)
Last week, after Nature School ended on Friday, I called my mom and left a message that (apparently rather cryptically) stated, 'I had the BEST day of Nature School EVER today.' I didn't elaborate, but my mom called back later dying to know what on earth could have made it the best day EVER...
As I babbled on about the day, there wasn't anything overly thrilling to report (like, We discovered a whole deer skeleton in the forest!). It was the best day EVER (ok, I have lots of these days) because I'm in my happy place being outdoors with kids, playing, wondering, roaming, discovering...because of some sense of seeing growth in the kids, of feeling connected as a group and with the forest we call our classroom...
...the children amazed me over and over. Some with their spontaneous ecological insights ('Teacher, did you know rain has molecules?' and a story from a 4 year old about a tree that doesn't get enough water, and so it falls over, and hopefully more rain will come so the trees can keep growing....)
...they amazed me with their capability (proper use of the word?), taking care of their things, putting on their own packs, mitts and managing lunch kits with so little help...
...they amazed me with their growing confidence in the jumbly, thick forest and while climbing over logs (have we only been together a month, is that possible?), bold statements like "I can figure out how to get over this log all by myself!" While hiking and feeling 'lost,' they trusted each other (and me), showed bravery, to find the trail and return to a familiar spot.
...they amazed me with their care of each other (someone wants to go 'sploring on a hike, but wait, a friend first needs help untying a knot and someone comes to the rescue.
Not every day will be so easy or magical. Kids will cry, have pee accidents, squabble and get cold feet. But as mentors, we will keep on keeping' on, through the less magical-feeling times, knowing this is important work!
This Fall's goofy bunch raising their antlers!
Another mud kitchen bonanza. Wait, did it rain on Friday? I don't think anyone noticed. The kids got right down to work when the supplies came out, racing to start filling pots, pans, watering cans...It's bliss to watch this kind of cooperative play.
Chalkboard signs support literacy--kids love having things written down for them: recipes/restaurant names/prices, you name it. Sometimes we write, sometimes they write.
Back to basics--kids in apple trees. What more need we say, Creston? This is what we're all about in our beautiful valley!
I'll leave you with a video about the Ottawa Forest and Nature School. It's good to remember that we're connected with a world-wide community of similar programs!