This week’s snowfall gifted us with many opportunities for exploring new materials, consequences, ideas, and strategies. Frozen puddles were fun for smashing with our boots, until we discovered that stinky mud still lurked beneath! Children declared “Let’s skate on the ‘lake’! Can ice be eaten, and how did those bubbles get caught in there?” We wondered, “what will happen if we put coloured water outside, or when we bring ice inside?”
The first day of fluffy snow was perfect for making a snowman, complete with kale eyes and a carrot nose from the garden, but the next day the crunchy, icy snow was too hard for snowballs. Throughout this week, all we needed was our warm clothes (often experiencing the discomfort of wearing so many layers and the impossibility of putting wet, cold hands back into mittens); snacks, eaten quickly; the occasional tool; and ourselves, as we set out to explore Terra Nova in winter.
Children asked many questions: “Where did the water go? Where did the ice come from, and why is it coming out of this pipe?”, and they tested new theories, particularly around movement and mark-making.
The landscape was transformed! Fields of tall grasses were suddenly negotiable, and pathway intersections were somehow less obvious. The snow encouraged us to move differently in this space, brushing off every bench and bridge that we passed, and slowing down to notice animal tracks. We found slugs under bushes, and even a vole! We are careful to let the snow geese eat in peace so they will have the strength to migrate, rather than chasing them to watch them dramatically take flight. This is children learning to self-regulate, Nature-School style!
Our inside time felt especially cozy as we decorated a Christmas tree – naturally with an eagle, rather than a star, on top; enjoyed hot chocolate and stories; figured out how to make paper chains; shared scotch tape; enjoyed new manipulatives and play mobile; and learned to play board games together.
Although it was cold, the bright days were a welcome reprieve from our typical rainy days. and it was a pleasure to experience a wintery curriculum alongside the children.
In gratitude, Kate.