Friday marked our final day for the year. Another 60 days of exploration, play, learning, laughter, tears, stories, crafts, invented games (our favourite kind!), sliding, climbing, digging, caring for tiny creatures and for each other. Here's to an equally awesome year three, coming up in September!
Our closeknit little group gathered in the sunshine outside of the Tipi for a celebration, to honour the graduates moving onto kindergarten, and to say 'goodbye for the summer' to the kids who'll return. We always recognize the strengths and gifts of each child aloud in the circle, and we also sang a fun song in honour of Melissa--our fearless and wonderful leader who unfortunately broke her ankle last week!! What a special group of kids who have grown so much over the year--in size and in confidence as they climb and trek over logs and run and test their strength. We are sure going to miss our time in the forest with this gang.
Before the parents come we embarked on a mission to find Ollie, our stuffed owl who occasionally goes 'missing' and needs finding in the forest. Armed with compasses and maps, the children followed clues that led them around to their favourite spots. We eventually did find Ollie, lounging in the 'hot tub' and waiting for the party to begin. There was a 'honey factory' that somehow involved honeysuckles (I was elsewhere in the forest), and kids lounging in the sunshine playing an animal track game.
With each Nature School day that flies by, I feel more and more reaffirmed in the magic of a play-based approach--especially in a forest where there is no doubt that the children are learning about nature as they play. They constantly amazed us with their powers of observation, from noticing the tiniest bugs on leaves while hiding out or making a fort, to learning over time where the best worm locations were (and where dry and wet soil was), to being able to identify plants like thimbleberry, wild strawberry leaves, honeysuckle, cedar, rose and the little blisters on fir trees were sap hides. A few times Melissa and I caught the children thanking critters for the work they do (shouting thank you a worm's 'ear') and thanking the bees. Right in the middle of our year-end snack and ceremony, a child jumped up excitedly and said 'Look, those bumblebees are pollinating the rose flowers!'
We forgot to sing our goodbye song! Maybe for the best, as I would have shed a few tears for sure. Here it is....Can't wait for September and getting to know a group of new kiddos! Thanks to all the parents who have been so incredibly warm and supportive, and excellent at making sure the children are ready for their time outdoors.
'The day is done,
The day is done,
Thank you for today.
Let's pack our bags,
and give big hugs,
and sing thanks for the day.'