Kate, Heidi and I had a lot of fun setting up for the picnic as we tested our skills hanging Kate’s homemade (and beautiful I might add!) flags over the ever so prickly blackberry bushes that brushed up against the tree we used as support. As usual, our antics sent us into several laughing fits, thereby setting the tone of the evening. Yes, we like to have fun- alone, as a team and with our children and families! We hauled the bales of hay which tested our strength (they are heavy!) to form a circle, moved the picnic tables (these are even heavier than the hay bales!) and cut up fresh watermelon.
We were excited to see our picnic plans come to life! We strived to keep it simple yet provide enough activities to keep everyone busy. We wanted to make sure we all had time to connect with each of our new students and families. Knowing just how important the the first few moments of relationships can be, we felt it was imperative to create an open and relaxed feeling. It always is a balance between planning and being flexible. Planned activities included face painting, bubble blowing, bug catching in magnifying containers, and a sing-a-long. The unplanned activities were children picking ripe, sweet, blackberries, picking zucchinis from the garden and wandering around the front gardens with confidence and curiosity. It was lovely and we marvelled at how perfect these children are to be ‘nature school’ students. We were thrilled with their response to being outside, despite the abundance of mosquitos!
In keeping with our philosophy of the importance of integrating the whole family in our school, not just the child, we also wanted to help parents begin to connect with each other. We tried something new– we asked a local journalist, Sandy Buemann, to ask our parents a simple question: When you look back on your childhood, what memory of playing outdoors brings a smile to your face? Our goal is create a documentation around these responses; one that is shared amongst each other in our classroom as a launching pad for further discussions between parents, educators and children. These responses might provide insight as to what parents are hoping their child will experience here at Nature School and in their childhood overall. Perhaps there is a way to incorporate some of these experiences into our own programming? We shall keep you posted on this project!
Here are a few moments captured on camera from our evening together.
We look forward to our next time together,
PS We realize we did not get photos of all our families that evening- our apologies! Conversation had a tendency to take over.