Taking and Putting

Last weekend, after an inspiring workshop, I went into the Cottage and re-configured our loose parts station. We were feeling it was either being under utilized or not used appropriately in our larger room. It is now in the Studio with the hope that working in a more removed space will allow for increased concentration, ingenuity and focus; as well as ensuring the parts do not travel throughout the Cottage! Here is our new loose parts station, which will be fluid and changing as relates to the children and our curriculum.

We taught children how to “take” and “put away” ( see below picture) items in the loose parts area.. This idea started to change my lens this week as I thought about what we take from a relationship, and what we put into a relationship, whether that relationship be with people, places or things. Sometimes there is harmony and balance and other times there is inequality- how can we accept these states and welcome them, even when they are difficult? I invite you to look at these photographs with this lens, looking for ways these children take and put into their lives. How do you negotiate “putting” and “taking” in your own life?

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We introduced the loose parts with a demonstration of how to use the materials. First, children take a tray which they use to collect their loose parts. After creating their art, they must put each loose part away in its proper home. The learning around all of this is extraordinary!

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Nell enjoys creating her design, working quietly to move her parts around the background.

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Zoë, Damian and Alison deeply concentrate on their work.

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Kaya and Misuzu enjoy a playful moment as they try to put their bodies through the hoola hoop.

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Ezra and Damon are investigating bugs on this tree stump. What are they noticing specifically?

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An unusual connection between two friends that do not typically spend a lot of time together. What happened before this moment that brought on holding hands?

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Andy bends a branch that his friends remark: “It looks like a rainbow.” and “It looks like a sunset.”

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Doing our Cottage chores!

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Princesses unite– power in numbers.

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The Owls plant peas, our first planting this year! Everyone is thoroughly enjoying the sunshine and soil.

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Connor takes his time navigating his footsteps through the mud, finding reprise on these logs.

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Ty reaches out to support Ludwig- such a beautiful act of kindness.

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Ariel, Maliya and Abby draw with sharpies and pastels. The sun and fresh air create such a calm atmosphere to explore one’s creative being.

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A few weeks ago I was humming “This Land is your Land, this land is my land..”. Since I have the two greatest teaching partners ever, Kate and Heidi jumped on board and have been belting it out with me while we teach the children. Heidi printed photographs to support the learning around the lyrics.

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Learning to work in a group, these Eagles are negotiating, creating plot lines and following each other’s lead.

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Our image of the child is strong. But sometimes, we just say ‘They are adorable!” And, this is one of these times.

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Alison and Hannah learn to discriminate shapes, discover math concepts and develop concentration while using these pattern blocks. Will they use these ideas in their own drawings?

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Rafe is wondering where to begin with this field guide; there are many pictures he is interested in. Where to start?

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Many Owls are now using the field guides to explore the area around them. Avery is out searching for ducks, Cyrus and Rafe are looking up birds of prey.

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The Owls having fun at the playground. This group swing promotes learning in many areas; listening to others about whether they want to get on or off, slowing down, balancing and figuring out how to push without falling over and risk getting hit by the swing.

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Ken is feeling confident at this level. At Nature School, we do not encourage them to go any higher than they feel comfortable and therefore never give them a lift or a boost.

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It is tiring work carrying the log back from beaver dam. Mason and Brianna sing songs and talk the whole time. How will this make them feel later? Will knowing they have accomplished this task lead them to take on other similar challenges?

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Pulling the wagon back from the buddy day! Maliya and Abby offered to pull it almost the while way.

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Kate teaches the Eagles how to wet felt wool.

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Pride and happiness!

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Tyler works for along time, filling up the wheelbarrow with leaves, transporting it to another pile and then re-filling. Fascinating to watch his interest and commitment.

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Miles has a little rest in the wagon, complete with a pillow under his head!

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Our team spends Friday afternoon in a workshop with our Supported Child Development consultant. Always new ideas and thoughts are brought forth.

‘Till the next post,

Emily