Welcome to Spring Session! I know I know, we weren’t expecting more of that white stuff —but it sure can be fun if you love flopping down, face to the sky, making snow angels… or rolling giant snowballs as big as you are, or sliding down a slippery hill just one more time, or even rolling yourself down a hill on a soft snowy blanket.
There is a wonderful concept of “pack” emerging in our wolf cubs, and we notice that they work together on a new level after 6 months of friendship (for most of them), and have a real ownership and sense of place about “their forest”. Everyone takes turns helping to pull the sleds or wagons down to base camp, and we remind each other of how to stay safe in the forest once gathered in the tipi (ie, no running with sticks, don’t climb more than twice your height, always make sure you can see an adult). Out in the forest, what might appear as just another stand of trees to an onlooker is a fire station, a secret cabin, or a pirate ship to these kids. What looks like a mess of sticks is an imaginary bonfire, and twigs with leaves speared through on the ends are gooey marshmallows roasting over the raging inferno. Hide and seek is still a favourite game, although nobody truly hides in the leafless branches at this time of year— it’s still a thrill to play the part, to be the forest, and feel the rush of being discovered.
We have some new favourite activities as well; now that we are eating a snack before heading into the forest, the kids have a little longer attention span once at the tipi. We have been taking advantage of this by reading a book with a nature theme during our opening circle, and the kids just eat it up. This week the kids savoured “Sometimes I Feel Like A Fox” by Danielle Daniel, and as soon as we got to the page “Sometimes I Feel Like a Wolf” they all spontaneously broke out in a collective wolf howl. Love it.
Beautiful moments I (Zav) witness at Nature School are like patchwork snippets that come to mind throughout the week, and leave me feeling all warm and happy inside. For example, overhearing the discussions and witnessing the collective efforts around pushing the giant snowball (who had probably traveled 250 meters by this point) up the final hill to the tipi (that elusive destination for all forest travels in our little world behind CLES!). Sit spot has become a time of real listening and reverence, and we have changed the focus of our sharing to “what nature surprise did you experience today?” Another moment from this past week was the conversation between two kids, about how the earth is spinning and we are all spinning but can’t feel it. Or being at a pretend campfire where all the kids are thoughtfully picking their animal names. These are sacred moments, wrapped up in the gentle disguise of play and imagination, rooted in a nature connection which I can only hope will stay with each of these magnificent little beings for the rest of their lives.