Soil is Good for the Soul

We were immersed in soil this week and wow, did it feel great! Children and adults alike were happy as they dug, tilled, hoed, turned, explored, shovelled, laid upon, smelled, touched, and scooped soil! The air has changed and with it the delights of spring our upon us. Children are noticing the changes all by themselves now–I like to think this is partly because of the many months behind us in which we urged them to ask questions and seek possibilities. They seem truly in tune with their surroundings, capturing little moments out of the corners of their eyes; a hummingbird fleeting past them, a dragonfly delicately landing on a blade of grass, a mason bee darting into its tube, a huge bumblebee buzzing by ( which led to ” It’s pregnant”, “Maybe it is big because it is the Queen”, “It is so big ’cause it is the daddy.”), a wind whistling through the branches and much, much more. The rewards of being on this land are far greater than we could have ever imagined. We are extremely grateful.


Some might say it is more fun when the irrigation lines don’t work!


Hannah’s daddy, Ross, tills our bed with a hand tiller. 


 Kaya’s mommy turns the soil. Thanks Harj!


Dad’s hard at work! 


Zoë’s dad, Alison’s dad, and Kingston’s mom all lend a hand. Many hands make light work!


Keaton and Finn investigate the mason bees and find other insects on the ground.


The Eagles fill the potato bins with fresh soil. Each bins requires a lot of soil so there is work to be done! Children naturally love to help with chores yet we often overlook there capacity in our own homes. Perhaps there is more room in your home for them to help?


Hayden, Lorraine and Araceli have a turn throwing bean bags into the tubes. As a team, we look for new ways to use materials that we have. These tubes typically make up part of a building exploration so we experiment with offering them in a new way.


Ibrahim must use all his strength to pull Finn and his gear around on the uneven land. As well, he is developing his social skills as he must weave in and out of people and negotiate turn taking.


Ella brings in a bouquet of asparagus for Kate. I invite her to show the class to see if they can guess what it is. Ella uses her group management skills to allow everyone’s voice to be heard. Repeated exposure to group sharing circles teaches children how to be facilitators themselves.


Hannah helps Barry to balance on the log. Intergenerational activities promote the well being of everyone.


Andy spends a long time looking closely inside the hole of this tree. As I watch him, he brings his body closer and closer to the hole. I do not ask him anything about it; this is his private moment. What does he see?


Our Quilchena buddies join us for a cooking project ( a delicious salad from this cookbook) and a provocation question: What would we do if there was no water at Terra Nova? The buddy groups ‘acted’ out their responses to this question. It was a super day; sorry, no photos due to photo release.


Ayleen enjoys the swoosh of the tall grass as she walks along to join the group.


Nicholas and Annabelle take turns with the bowls, spoons and miniature cups.The progress is so lovely as children learn to negotiate for themselves.


Elsa and Yohan use the frogs and their knitted homes to make up stories and a song. How we can support this play next time they are together?


Platon concentrates on beading; allowing for quiet and ample time helps children to focus on the task at hand. The Studio is a treasured space for this reason.


Lorraine and Nika find special rocks and then a spider. They are connecting through discovery and a shared experience.


The Owls roaming free!


A Garden Study demonstrates just how inquisitive and observant these students are in their learning.


Drawing a fava bean plant promotes thinking, reflection on past knowledge and keen observational skills.



The volcano inquiry extends into the Studio as our practicum student offers charcoal and photographs. Today the art is more about the charcoal than the volcano exploration; this is absolutely ok but we later discuss how we can add something to generate more ideas about the volcano itself.


A dragonfly waits patently while we marvel at its beauty!

‘Till the next post,