Walking is something we do a lot at Terra Nova Nature School. Ann Pelo, a wise and distinguished Early Childhood Educator, in her book The Goodness of Rain, encourages us to “Walk the Land” as a way of supporting children to develop an ecological identity. Walking encourages us to slow down. When we walk regularly we become sufficiently familiar with a place that we begin to notice change – changes in plants and animals; in colours and sounds; in the textures of a place.
Walking outside the fenced playgrounds of childcare programs or schools is not necessarily a common practice, however, so we are particularly proud of the City of Richmond and it’s local Community Associations for organizing ‘Wee Walk’. ‘Wee Walk’ is just one of many initiatives that encourage Richmond’s citizens to get out and move their bodies! It is great to see this event moving to include not only physical literacy, but also nature literacy. Garden City Park is a treasure – an expansive green space in the heart of the city with places for both active movement and contemplative walking. And did you know that it is also an ‘arboretum’? The park’s collection of varied tree species are marked by informative signs to help “Learn the Names”, another of Ann Pelo’s suggestions. Whether we are children or adults, when we walk, we learn to make connections across places and experiences. Imagine my excitement at finally recognizing a familiar tree common to Terra Nova – ‘Western Crab Apple’. In fact, my neighbourhood biking route is called ‘Crab Apple Ridge’! So keep walking! Not just once a year as a special event, but as a daily practice in your school, alone, or with your family. Moments of wonder await, just around the corner.
And some additional pictures from our week…. here Kate’s small Owls group is observing pond insects using the water magniviewers:
more pond life, Eagles notice a frog!
art-making in the fresh air:
outdoor blocks and loose parts always stimulate creative and cooperative play, such as Frazer and Darel’s ‘cookie making machine’:
An opportunity for quiet sensory play in the shade using small bottles, droppers, water and colour:
Working collaboratively with a partner to render a bird drawing from a photographic image as inspiration:
And, always, cooking and eating together! Our newest volunteer, Ruth, demonstrated her hydration backpack to the Owls, we enjoyed sushi made with local ‘fuki’ – thank you Misuzu – and rapini fresh from Kate’s garden!
Finally, we never forget to play and find joy with one another! With gratitude for our full weeks together, Kate