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).