Lunar New Year

The arrival of Lunar New Year, celebrated by many Asian cultures, and arriving this year on February 16, has been cause for continued celebrations in both the Eagles and Owls classes.  Throw in the lingering Valentines decor (it’s so hard to put away pink and red sparkly things!) and some late season snowfall, and you instantly have a ton of fun photos for a blog post! Enjoy!

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Lunar New Year activities included learning about the animals of the zodiac; dancing together like a dragon; writing characters for decorative banners (thank you Angela for the beautiful stones and paper lanterns, and also to Dion’s family for the decorations!); and of course, eating! Thank you to Tyler’s family for the delicious Lotus Root pockets – (did you know lotus root grows in mud? how fitting for Nature School!) – and the Owls class enjoyed homemade dumplings!

Last week Kate’s very small ‘small group’ managed to pull out one unnecessary sign, this time we had reinforcements.  Never underestimate kid power! (Wearing a bird cape helps!)

Sharing space has been a focus of the Eagles class indoor time together this week, whether figuring out how to cooperatively build with a limited block supply; how to invite a child to join in; or how to preserve a special moment between two children.

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There was plenty of interest in sorting and cataloguing Emily’s donation of children’s books.  Including young children in real life tasks provides concrete opportunities for learning such as sorting, problem solving, and writing, and also offers  an authentic sense of accomplishment.

Representing ideas artistically has been a focus of Emily’s small group work – here the skills learned are carried over to free play in the studio, where May, Ohnyou and Anderson choose to take time drawing their own ideas with fine line markers and embellish with watercolours.  They also cleaned up their supplies, stacked chairs, and wiped down the table before leaving – real work in action again!

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Staff took a mid-week break from teaching children to engage in professional development together.  Collegial time to discuss, debate, brainstorm and problem solve is so valuable, and an integral component of the Reggio Emilia practices we embrace at Nature School.

Snow changes the landscape with which we have all become so familiar, so a few reminders are in order: when is it safe to walk on ice? how do you know what is underneath the ice – a little stinky mud, or water so deep it would cover your boots, or more?  Children who run ahead of the group are expected, and trusted, to stop at bridges, benches and intersections; Nicole and Darel debate where exactly is the intersection?

Snow! Makes everything more fun, and it’s physically tiring too!

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We may be in a unique location, but there is no shortage of happenings and helpers in the park.  Thank you this week to the crews who have been out cutting back blackberry brambles and clearing the drainage ditches, and especially for putting on a little ‘back-hoe show’ for us!

Embrace the snowy weekend, you hardy, brave, and fabulous Nature School families!

Warmly, Kate