Emily’s post of last week, “Encounters”, has had me thinking about a word that represents my own intentions for this New Year of 2017. In this, our third year of operating Terra Nova Nature School, I am enjoying a feeling of ‘finding our feet’ – we operate with proven systems and routines; we have names for places within the park; our staff know each other well and trade in and out of tasks seamlessly – there is a rhythm to our work that is reassuring. And certainly we have no shortage of encounters! But, as Emily suggests, how do we deepen our encounters? How do we stay open to all possibilities, while maintaining particular values and philosophies? How do we know when to change course, and when to continue working towards specific goals for the children, the curriculum, the school community, and ourselves as educators? This is my on-going internal debate and joy as an educator: the known is never certain, and what seems certain always has hidden surprises, so this work never feels boring! And my word? Joy! Every day I am reminded of the reason we dreamed up Nature School in the first place – because even on the toughest, wettest, crankiest, trickiest of days, there is always an encounter that has me smiling, always a moment of joy to be encountered. Enjoy this glimpse of our most recent week together!
Running to keep warm by the windy river!Ken notices the dark clouds and predicts more rainy weather.Figuring out how to share the big blocks is a challenge, but always results in interesting structures that support dramatic play.
Zoya, Elsa and Leo are making pizza in the ‘oven’ (cardboard tubes)….And making pizza inside the Cottage.
Soyon and Yi Teng have caught something on the end of their sticks!Using real tools, scaled to kid size, offers the satisfaction of doing real work.
Just add water and the play lasts for hours!
Kye and Kingston have a chat about organizing a playdate, and wondering where each other’s house is?May and Vino are playing superheroes.Sloan, Zoe, Hayden & Ludwig mess about with cornstarch goop and colouring.Tyler is thrilled with the colours he has created, especially the way the blues and pinks swirl over the dissolving sugar cube.Both the Eagles and Owls have been noticing the birds – here Sloan, Avery, Darel and Justine are playing in their ‘nest’.To assist with bird-watching, Emily teaches Tyler and Yohan how to hold the binoculars.Yohan and Zoë refer to field guides for making their notes and drawings.Zoe keeps a tally sheet for the group during morning walk: one line for every crow we saw.Brianna and Ludwig are ‘tracking’ the birds; “take 3 steps then stop, okay?” says Brianna.The arrival of the septic tank truck is a perfect opportunity for more observing and drawing.Emily teaches the Eagles class some calming yoga poses…..….. and Darel is calm and relaxed, breathing deeply while keeping his eyes closed.The children offer many theories about why the rodent is lying on the pathway – a common thread is that a cat, or maybe a coyote, caught it and hurt it.Although the group has moved on, Erika and Ayleen stay to look more closely. “Wake up! Wake up! Wake up!” calls Erika.After learning about Richmond’s Food Security Charter at our recent parent meeting, parents planted seeds as a gift and provocation to the children. Parents in Reggio Emilia schools often create artworks, garden projects, or other surprises for their children’s classes.