What a lovely wintry week at Nature School (perhaps the last of the season?!). Tuesday was show and tell day, and it was hard to miss the large goat (!!) standing in the gazebo as people arrived. Zeus was a pretty fun and interesting show and tell, but kids also really enjoyed seeing the various birds on foreign money, along with some treasured books and toys.
But the fun didn’t end there! Once we had sung our morning welcome song, Kristina pulled out a silly book about bird sounds ('Froodle') which I thoroughly enjoyed reading to everyone. My favourite part was hearing all the bird sounds the kids made up!
Outside the weather was warm, and mitts were abandoned at the tipi or along the trails. Ropes were gathered, knots tied by little fingers, and a group of 4-5 children worked together diligently for over an hour to create a complicated “trap”. This project also included an in depth discussion (totally kid initiated) about humane ways to trap animals so that they don’t suffer. Of course there were also kids at the sliding hill and throughout the forest. I heard that the fire station was very busy (more about that below!)
Thursday had a forecast for rain, but instead it was snowing! We talked about the changing weather as spring draws near, and were successful in imitating a rainstorm with our fingers and feet making all the sounds from raindrops to thunder. Something special! Kim brought her collection of bird skulls, and we each got our own turn to examine the skeletal structure of owls, loons, ducks and more.
We noticed that the kids seemed to be brimming with energy, and so we were extra glad to have four adults there helping, as it allowed for the children to break off into smaller groups and really spread out in the forest. We had a busy brigade of baby otters up at the “sliding hill”, working out a fair system for who gets to slide next and just what safe sliding entails. Not far below in a magical grove of trees where deer have been sleeping, a group of Tree Pirates were climbing a tree which had fallen partially over, into the V of another nearby tree. “Which foot next, and where are you thinking is a good place for it? Find a good solid branch to grab hold and steady yourself, or pull yourself up further…”. An adult stayed within arms reach at all times, but these industrious lads did not need any help climbing up or down, and very much enjoyed ruling their Pirate kingdom from up in their branched perch.
Further along the forest path was the “fire station”, (a lovely clearing beneath a large coniferous tree sheltered from the snow and elements), where a giggling group of fire gals could be found using curved branches for hoses, spraying out fires throughout the forest — rushing past others with sirens blaring and determination in their eyes.
If you left the main path to head to the south west corner of our forest, you would pass by a “cabin” where wood was being brought for a huge (imaginary) fire. Continue even further, and eventually you would come to a place of many sticks where a trap and a stick lean-to shelter were both being constructed. It is fun to see the kids becoming more bold in following their curiosity, including exploring new zones in the forest. We saw a lot of great cooperation and imaginative group play on this day. We loved witnessing it! Keep it up Nature School kids.