Spring is literally unfolding before our very eyes, and our forest is now dense with lush green foliage and the fresh scents of new plant life. There are more birds singing more songs than we can even keep track of, and where just a few short weeks ago a bug or worm was a rare find, they are now under every rock, log, and stick. But wait, what is that buzzzzzzing in my ear?! Ah yes, the mosquitos think out forest is quite wonderful too.
There was a lot of forest play adventure focussed around the various “temples” on Tuesday. I spent a long time “spotting” kids at the leaning tree near the monkey temple (which we re-named mosquito hollow) with an ever changing cast of climbers going up and down throughout the morning. As I watched these very able bodied little feet and hands maneuver up and down the partially fallen tree, I thought back to the fall session when this same activity was rare, and seemed almost impossible or too scary for some of the kids who were now sitting on the log above my head chanting monkey sounds. The confidence, strength, and comfort levels of all the students at Nature School have evolved so much, its awesome to behold it in action.
“Grandma Lois” came out to volunteer on Tuesday, and she was a wealth of knowledge when it came to identifying the birds that we were seeing and hearing in the forest. And the kids were a wealth of creativity when it came to identifying the various pieces of bark, sticks etc that they came across on their nature walk. “This is a special curved TV screen” about a large piece of bark from a rotting fir tree, or “This is my laser gun that makes people freeze if I shoot them” about a stick, and “This is my special map” about a rolled up piece of birch bark.
Thursday morning the sky was filled with ominous clouds, and predictions of thunderstorms. We assessed the situation and decided to head for the forest, as the clouds overhead were all billowy white and even seemed to be teasing us with some glimpses of blue sky. We had a good discussion about thunder and lightning with the wolf cubs before heading out to play, and everyone agreed that we would stay close to the tipi and keep our stuff packed into our back packs so we could leave quickly if we heard thunder or saw lightning. The kids were impressive, they knew a lot about thunder and lightning— from how to count to figure out how far away it is, to the science of electricity. Sure enough, less than an hour passed before we heard the deep rolling clap of thunder— everyone quickly gathered and we headed to the school. Our first time indoors the whole school year!
On our way to the music room, we passed by Laurel Ewashen in the Aboriginal Education room and she invited everyone to come and pick out a lovely wild animal stuffy to enjoy for our time inside. Once we gathered in the music room, we tried to make a collaborative story using all our stuffed animals as characters but some kids were just too excited about being inside the school to stay sitting in a circle. So I played the piano and sang the sleeping bunnies song while the kids curled up or bounced around like rabbits and then we followed that one up with a Russian song and dance called “Sasha” and a game of musical chairs. We also read a wonderful story about strawberries, reminding us to be sweet to each other. Then we got to go to the gym and play with the big kids! Thanks CLES for inviting us in and to all the kids at the gym who played so nicely and showed such care and kindness to our wolf cubs.