Spring Renewal

Spring Break was much needed indeed. But, after two weeks, school was needed! Upon our return, teachers and children alike found themselves rejuvenated and more than ready to return to our special land and our school community. It was apparent the children missed seeing each other. This week was filled with stories, hugs, hand holding and snuggling together. It was warming to re-affirm our connections and know they run deep. We also noticed that many children experienced a noticeable growth spurt, both physically and emotionally; torsos longer, limbs stretched, lengthened faces and slimmer fingers.  Attitudes more confident, voices stronger, ideas shared with greater ease and friendships more secure. Truly, these changes are beautiful to witness.

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A long awaited reunion as Damon was away for a long time. His return opened the door for learning about friendship. How can we be friends with many people at the same time? Feelings about relationships are complicated- these three children are learning how to negotiate these feelings.

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Andy reaches out his hand to help Hannah who feels she is stuck in the puddle. Andy is being patient as Hannah takes time to decide whether she wants his help. I wonder what makes her hesitate?

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Once out of the mud puddle, Andy and Hannah walk along the path towards the other children. Clearly in no rush to catch up, they have a moment of closeness. These two have been working together quite a bit in a small group. I am curious to know how much this work has influenced their relationship.

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The new wagon is a serious wagon! Despite its heaviness, Amelia and Anna-Sophia show determination in pulling it towards our destination.

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Fallen flowers invite us to smell and touch the beautiful petals. Nicole and Damon share their adoration with each other, investigating their flowers together. Rylan, in the background, finds a daffodil on the ground and carries it all morning.

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Jasmine and Ella are re-connecting after playing together earlier in the week. Feeling shy, I encourage them to take each other’s hand for the walk. This moment grounds them and they play together for a long time. If I had not invited this moment, would they have played together anyway?

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Olina solicits Valarie’s help to push Nathan on the swing. Many giggles and knock downs prevail-such fun! Isn’t it lovely when children help other children accomplish a task?

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With Kate’s gentle direction, the group learns how to spread the tarp themselves, pulling it taut so the wrinkles disappear. The simple act of laying the tarp allows for great learning in terms of team work and motor skills.

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After Kaya tumbles over, both Miles and Ty quickly check in with her to make sure she is ok. Their awareness of their friend’s needs is remarkable. They both know how to gently approach Kaya based on months of being friends together. I love these caring moments!

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Curious about… the water, the depth of the water, the stick that floats, what lives in the water, the ‘mud’ on the bottom ( which some thought was bird poo and some coyote poo). A perfect moment to slow down and let questions form in their minds.

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Clayten looks closely at a ladybug, appreciating her beauty. He is very in tune with the world around him, noticing things big and ever so small. What is it that fascinates Clayten so much-the way she moves, her colouring, where she came from or where she is going?

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Sophia, beside Clayten, finds a ladybug as well. She, too, is completely captivated by the animal world.

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Learning about plants on the land is an important part of our curriculum. The children are learning about stinging nettle- how to identify it, what effect it can have on our skin and how to use it properly.

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How can I walk through plants without disturbing them? How do they feel against my body? What sounds do they make? Can I smell them? How did they grow so big? What are these plants? Maybe these are some questions Rylan is asking herself as she explores this area.

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Returning from a long trip in an urban setting, Damon is enjoying touching the soil. Did he think about the farm when he was away?

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Finn is creating art using a combination of materials.Often adding one new material can incite an entirely new direction of play.

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Always expect the unexpected when working with children! Many of the children are showing an interest in shapes so we bring these blocks and sticks to use for creating shapes in the gravel. Ryan, however, discovers they are very good for making sound and uses the materials to create a drum. He plays ‘drum’ for a long time.

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Miles and Nell draw shapes in the gravel; it is important for us teachers to not jump into ‘teaching’ shapes and let the children’s natural interest and knowledge lead to the next learning piece.

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Olina and Claire discover they can make ‘paint’ by shaving the sidewalk chalk and mixing it with liquid. At first, they used their saliva. Our practicum student, Vanessa, then offers them water instead. They choose to do their work underneath a picnic table. Amazing work!

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Olina gets the idea to step in the paint and make a print of her boot. Has she done this before?

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I show the children how to make natural dyes using red cabbage, onion skins, turmeric and coffee.

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Vanessa helps Mason and Ella dye their eggs.

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Andy and Nathan needed more space to play so I invite them to bring the tree house and cars outside. Within a few minutes, two more children come out to play.

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Hearing the excitement of fun play, other children want to come to the deck. Soon, there is a large gathering outside. It is a small space- will they all be able to move around each other and cooperate? Working together in small spaces teaches children how to move their bodies carefully, respect each other’s space and use their words to meet their needs.

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Our ‘work’- sketching something from the garden.

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Rylan decides to sketch the flowers she sees in the flower bed. What a detailed representation.

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Adam is proudly perched on the tree as he used his arm muscles to pull up his body up.

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Katie, William and Wyatt enjoy filling the eggs with various small objects. Will they hide these eggs for each other, creating a new game?

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Kingston is looking closely- he is noticing the small hole and wonders why it is there.

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“Snack Theatre”- Kate reads us a story during snack time.The children’s attention span is becoming longer and they are able to listen attentively to more complex stories.

‘Till the next post, Emily