All of Us Learning Together

Last week we hosted our first Parent Meeting of the new school year, and one of our agenda items was ‘curriculum development’.    What do we teach?  How and why do we decide what is  important – for all of us – in our living together at Nature School?  It is an enormous question, and yet it is also very simple.  We teach the things that matter to us as educators: the moments we notice the children noticing; the social skills we deem essential to developing empathetic, confident, creative young people; and the physical and cognitive skills that support children to enjoy life-long learning.  We also teach ourselves, learning alongside the children every time we pause and take notice of a small wonder; whenever we talk and reflect with one another; and when we delight in sharing and representing our learning with parents, educators, and our larger community. Tonight and tomorrow our team will attend a conference to extend our own professional learning.  We look forward to generating many insights and ideas that I know will make their way back to our work at TNNS!  In the meantime,  I hope you enjoy this first, brief post, as I add ‘learning to blog’ to my own skill set!

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Small group time allows for conversation, comparison, and close attention to one another’s work. This Eagles group is counting and documenting apples collected from the trees around the Cottage.

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Sloan and Yohan are working together at the felt board, re-telling “I am a pizza”, a song we recently learned together.

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Ayleen is also re-telling the song, but she is ‘reading’ the words from the paper as she places the pieces on the board. She looks so cozy on the little couch!

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Jason helps Ashlyn by pulling off a snug rubber boot; helping each other with getting gear on and off is a big part of Nature School!

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It’s the season of Woolly Bear Caterpillars! These tender creatures curl up if they are handled, so instead we delight in learning to watch them carefully.

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We have also learned to be very careful around mushrooms: children are taught to observe, but to never touch or even kick the mushrooms, so the spores are not dispersed.

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Tyler and Darel observe a Willow tree that was blown down last year; Tyler recalls the story and shares it with Darel.

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Another ‘story’ that children have carried from one year to the next, new children learn to wait patiently in line as they order from the ‘ice cream store’ as Penny, an ECE student, looks on. Flavours available this week include chocolate banana, rainbow, and mushroom!

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Misuzu shares a new felt story with the Owls class. The repetitive structure of the story helps children to remember and re-tell the tale, and also supplies a framework for predicting – great critical thinking skills!

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When one of our wagon wheels went wonky, Heidi saved the day with her fix-it expertise, and the children were thrilled to be on-lookers! Learning to use tools safely is another skill we tackle frequently at Nature School!

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Nika and Ian have played together extensively this week.  They are learning to sort, count and share these treasures while engaging in deep imaginative play that seems immensely satisfying to both of them.

Catch you next time,

Kate