“When you see someone putting on his Big Boots,
you can be pretty sure that an Adventure is going to happen.”
― A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh
Zavellennahh can tell you that I arrive to Nature School each week with a minor worry niggling at me--one so strange that I feel silly almost bringing it up. My worry is: The children won't know what to do today! They'll tell me they're bored! They won't have any ideas on how to play! As absurd as this worry is, it persists week to week. Maybe it's been implanted there by our culture, which tries to tell us that children need help/entertainment/screens to keep them busy. And this despite the fact that I see the complete opposite all of the time in my outdoor work, and my work with creative, imaginative homeschoolers.
So when we arrived on Thursday and decided to play in front of the school, which was covered in a fresh layer of (wet) snow, I had my hesitations. What will the children do on a flat field for 2.5 hours? Will they last? Will they run out of the ideas? I knew I had to counter my 'jump in and give them ideas instinct' early on, so I purposefully stood back for a bit to see what would happen.
The field took on a stonehenge effect, with bare paths where the giant snowballs travelled, and various arrangements of snow walls and forts.
We conversed about the ethics of snowball ownership--if someone creates something, they might want to admire it for a while before someone jumps on it. If you make it, you can break it! If you didn't make it, ask or err on the side of leaving the creation be. That said, over the fall we've noticed that the children rarely get overly attached to their forts/arrangements/creations, and move on very quickly after any 'destructive' incidents.
After oh, maybe 2 hours of non-stop play, the kids were definitely ready for tea and a quiet moment. Zavallennahh read them 'Just a Walk,' where 'a young boy named Chuck goes for a simple walk that turns into a day of crazy adventure. Chuck encounters animals, fish and birds that lead him on a wild journey through their various habitats.' Maybe they were just tired, but these active 'wolf cubs' were sure still and attentive to the story.
Rolling a snowball out, one child was enthused to discover she'd uncovered a pile of deer poop, which lead to a conversation about when the deer might have been there (when did the snow arrive? the poop looks fresh!) and what the deer had been doing walking across the school field.
A 'beauty parlour.'
I'm sure I'll treasure this snowy, laughter-filled day in my heart for a long time. Next week is our last week for the fall session, and we're excited to welcome parents down to the Tipi on Thursday for a snack and a tour of our forest classroom.