When It’s Cold Outside

When I was in Singapore in December, I marvelled at how lovely it was that everyone was outside, even late at night, during week nights. All over the city you could see people sitting on benches talking, eating together, strolling down promenades, sitting out and overlooking beautiful Marina Bay or having a refreshing drink outside. I saw people smiling, conversing, running, gazing, and  connecting in so many ways. It made me realize how much weather impacts our social life. Here in B.C., we have mild winters compared to the rest of Canada but even so we often complain about the rain or cold. Many times people hibernate inside for evenings and weekends, only coming out for work or to cheer on their child during a soccer game. True, there are folks that go for walks, make snow forts or enjoy snow sports, but I think there is a definite and distinct change in people’s social lives in the winter. This is not a bad thing, just something I noticed.

I also noticed how the cold at Nature School affects our programming. Each morning, our team must decide what activities work given the weather and the ever changing affect on the landscape. Is it too cold to do activities with mittens off? Is the field too mushy with bird poo and water to enjoy playing there? Is it too windy to be underneath trees? If they have rain boots, can the children climb safely? Do we need to keep our bodies warm and therefore stay on the move? And, I suppose, because this is just what we do here, we do not hibernate and lose connection. We face the elements, hand in hand, whatever the weather brings us each day. Together we take pride in our ability to be tough and forge ahead on our pathways, no matter what the weather.


Yun Lam, Ludwig’s daddy, built us this amazing greenhouse so we can start to plant our seedlings. We are so grateful for his time and hard work; it will be appreciated for years to come. Ludwig introduces the greenhouse to the Eagle group.


It is important the Owls know the story of the greenhouse too so we gather around to hear the story. This is a subtle component of our program- oral storytelling and creating ‘our’ stories together.


Ice, snowflakes, and cold air make for an invigorating day. Justine finds a thick piece of ice and shows it to Ian. What does Justine know about ice? She comments about the leaves stuck inside. If you were a teacher in the class, what would your provocation be to extend her learning?


Zoë uses a stick to draw a dream catcher in the light covering of snow. Our small group has been thinking a lot about dream catchers; they have been very eager to “just make one” but I have been slowing the process down so that they really have time to design and capture different ideas. It is so tempting to jump into a product but once it is made, the design process slows down a lot.


Can we all fit?


Barry reads to Rafe and Theia, asking them questions on each page and relating the text to their own lives. Barry’s knowledge of teaching really shines here as he opens the door for the children to create their own ideas.


Heidi spends time with Leo and Ohnyou, teaching them about the tire and its components. Inviting children to watch you do tasks or chores around the house is a wonderful way to model hard work and ability.


At the core of everything we do- caring deeply for each other and showing we care through our words and our actions.


Vino shows Rafe a tiny something ( I could not see). This gesture is such a natural way to begin a dialogue with someone. Is Vino hoping this exchange leads to further play? Why did he show this to Rafe? Does he know Rafe likes whatever it is he is holding?


The round building blocks almost always lead to steering wheels as seen here with Mattias and Darel. Perhaps we should offer them in a different capacity so they transform to something else. What else could we put out with them?


Misuzu leads our chefs in sandwich making- tuna with our own homemade pickled carrots and egg salad. Every child had at least one bite to try it and many had several quarters! Cooking and eating together, even outside in the cold weather, is so much fun.


Masa tells Tricia ” Choppy means the water is wavy.”



Maliya takes a quiet moment to do some research. We like that word here, for both children and educators alike. It is so active and urges one to really think deeply.


Owls enjoy their snack together, using please and thank you while accepting the sandwich.


This small group of Owls experiment with sharpies and chalk. Each drawing was so unique and represented what each child was thinking about.

And indoor, cozy time:

  • making beds for bears and birds
  • making sandwiches
  • doing art work
  • rehearsing an impromptu puppet show
  • investigating water and oil mazes
  • thinking about architecture











And, back outside, finding friendship. Hand in hand, facing whatever comes our way.


‘Till the next post,