Our Journey Begins

“Ten times a day something happens to me like this– some strengthening throb of amazement-some good sweet empathic ping and swell. This is the first, the wildest and the wisest thing I know: that the soul exists and is built entirely out of attentiveness”            (Mary Oliver)

Starting a new year together allows for deep reflection as a team and as individual educators. Through our discussions, we have unpacked layers and layers of ideas which mostly amount to answering the question: how do we want to live together? It is through exploring this concept that we have to come to create our core values and beliefs. As our days, weeks, months and years progress, we must keep going back to this question to ensure we are being true to our vision and uphold what we all value is important. And when I say all, I really mean our community- our children, our parents, and our educators.

The concept of being attentive, being amazed, seeking openings and opportunities; these are things we want to do and be at Nature School. Join us, as we journey into this year hand in hand, creating a special and engaging place to live together!

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Ludwig’s mommy, Katarina, kindly brings in zuckertüten for the Eagle class, a German tradition. Sharing traditions from other countries is welcomed and appreciated!

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Part of this tradition is to take a class photo on the first day of school. Here is half of the Eagle class holding up their gifts.

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And, the other half of the Eagle class.

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William and Rafe draw and paint their name tags for their pod bins. It is important for people to have their own space to put their belongings on both a practical and emotional level.

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Sensory activities, like playdough and the water wall, are soothing and calming for many children. Knowing the first little while can be emotionally charged for these children, we offer many sensory experiences.

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Will reaches up to the water wall tube and is so happy he has grown tall enough to reach the top!

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Annabelle. like last year, loves to make a cozy bed. It doesn’t take long before Theia and Kate join her for a quite read.

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Exploring colour mixing, water, the bristles on the brush, how much water can the paper withstand before it tears– the learning from a simple activity is great. Erika expresses wonder and delight as she experiments with these materials.

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The first harvest of our drying beans; barlotti and black beans. Shelling beans is such a rewarding activity. It is like opening up gift after gift. Numeracy, science and food security are at the forefront of learning around this task.

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Our Gathering Circle is such an important ritual here at Nature School. Each day begins with this time together; we ground ourselves as a group, figuring out our day together. What are your rituals at home?

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Walking on our ‘grass sidewalk’ to make sure we are safe from cars entering the parking lot. Justine, Ariel and Mattias work together to pull the wagon over grass, clover, buttercups and holes. This is not easy work but is part of our daily life here.

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Wandering through the grasses, avoiding the creeping low lying blackberry vines, Ashlyn and Tyler make their way to the “Land of Sand.”

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The Owls collect a lot of fallen apples, a LOT!! Kate lays them out to play a prediction game- how many apples are in the baskets? Estimates range from 2- 4 million!

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Yi Teng and Olivia enjoy playing fill and scoop with the bowls and spoons. Olivia is waiting for a turn with this big pot. Soon after this photo, she looks to me for help in getting her turn. Yi Teng notices and hands her the pot on his own.

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Actively listening to each other’s ideas and stories are the respectful foundations of a relationship. Misuzu is allowing each child an opportunity to share.

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These Owls are captivated by Heidi’s reading of this book. Building literacy and relationships through reading is something that is valued at TNNS.

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Misuzu uses puppets and objects to tell a story; using different ‘languages’ is important as it keeps the work interesting, as well as allows for different types of learners to engage in new ways.

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The Eagles hit the garden beds to help with weeding in order to prepare the soil to plant garlic.

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We so admire and cherish our parent volunteers! Ken’s mommy and daddy help clean up the overgrown beds. Thank you Keiko & Giovanni!

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A discovery in the soil- what is it?

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First game of Duck, Duck Goose. Ludwig runs with both joy and the fear of getting ‘tagged’. Playing games is great for team building and following directions.

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The Owls make flags and join in a parade behind Kate, enjoying the tambourine and delight of holding their flags.

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Justine and Nika work together to pick up fallen apples. As they pick them up, they toss out the really yucky ones and keep the only slightly bruised ones.

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Mattias is in awe of this flower as he looks at its’ petals and stem. He takes it back to the tarp so he may try to capture its beauty on paper. How lovely! Perhaps next week we can visit these flowers again, maybe even with a field guide? Or maybe it is best to leave it unnamed and ambiguous so he can formulate his own ideas?

‘Till the next post,

Emily