Raindrops

It has been a whirlwind of a week; literally and figuratively! The wind howled and the rain pelted down sideways, forwards and backwards! We were wet and then we were dry. We were wet and then we were dry.  We were wet and then we were dry. This is what we do here at TNNS, weather the storms with courage, togetherness and joy. Thanks to an incredible bunch of children, parents and staff, we all loved our full and challenging week.

Barry starts the week off one a delicious note as generously brought both Eagles and Owls bannock from a special baker in Kelowna! This traditional fry bread is scrumptious with jam- thanks Barry!

As you know from our emails and videos, Chris Roskelley came out for a visit on Monday. The children sang, used instruments and danced their hearts out!

We were honoured to host the beginning of an exciting project titled ‘Changing results for Young Children’, a partnership between the Richmond, Vancouver and Burnaby School Districts with Early Learning Centres.  Through dialogue and reflective documentation, primary educators and Early Childhood Educators, will be working together throughout the year to increase understanding of early years best practice. Heidi will be representing TNNS at these sessions; her knowledge and expertise will be an asset to her group and we are looking forward to learning from the other educators via Heidi.

Work inside and outside-

William and Oliver work with focus as they draw their own faces for their binder self-portrait project.

Love the smile Clark is drawing!

Laren tells me “I want to do my whole body.”

Lilja carefully notices the various parts of her face. She narrates her observations as she transfers them onto paper. (by Heidi)

Heidi teaches ‘mushroom’ parts and safety with a song.

Kye and Ronan help to do our family chores and offer to fold laundry. They both fold carefully and with precision!

Myles spends an extended period of time focusing intently on shelling all of the beans in the basket and placing them into a single cup.( by Heidi)

Yehuan and Mia wordlessly add ingredients to the pan with, “the cooking fire.” (by Heidi)

Cordelia and Emma attempt to figure out how to dress the small dolls, trying to determine where the limbs go and how to manipulate the buttons. ( by Heidi)

Yehuan notices something in the blackberry bushes. “This is a digger and this was a machine from the farm. The farm was here for a very long time and when the farm grow bigger the blackberries grow old over the digger,” he determines. ( by Heidi)

Clark spends a long time carefully choosing his shapes; he is developing mathematical skills and the ability to follow through on a task.

Theo and Masa sing and play and laugh loudly together! The beauty of childhood!

Kate is on her way to becoming our resident Apple Expert! With a deep interest in apples. Kate went to the UBC Apple Festival, with our own varietals in hand, to have them identified by their apple specialist. Here she is sharing some of what she learned with the children. Thanks Kate!

Budding friendship between Aaron and Elizabeth. What are they talking about? I cannot hear as it is raining too hard but I would be interested to know.

Daniela and Oliver investigate a mushroom, know as Amanita. Learning to respect its beauty, without touching it, is something we work on a lot in the autumn.

We hosted our first parent night of this school year. What an amazing turnout of dedicated parents ( If you could not make this meeting, no worries at all- next time!). We were so grateful folks braved the weather to join us in a discussion about outdoor childhood experiences and what long term value they have in life.

With gratitude,

Emily

Side by Side

Each moment of each day we are all learning side by side. We all work hard to do this learning, really hard! Children are working hard to figure out this new world of being in a large group. Educators are working  hard to support all their learning and social interactions. Together, with our families, we work hard to create a place where children are valued and recognized for the intelligent, creative beings they are! We also work together to ensure these children are kind; to each other, to the land, to the animals and to themselves. This is not easy, nor should it be! It takes love and commitment to work, learn and live side by side. We love it!

Reya, Emma and Cleo try to find strategies in order to pull down a tree. “You hold on to my waist and I hold on to the rope and you pull my waist and I pull the tree,” Reya suggests to Cleo. ( by Heidi)

Who doesn’t love a home grown pumpkin? Janina loves it so much she rests her face along its cool, smooth surface. This is truly connecting with nature! How beautiful and organic!

In our small group, we are exploring lines. Ronan is experimenting with creating shapes with his string. Is he thinking about the shape or the act of unrolling the string?

Heidi shows the children an old piece of wood that was uncovered. She invites them to think about what it might be, how it got there, and what it could be used for. Opening dialogues where children are encouraged to brainstorm ideas is an important part of our curriculum.

We had not really planned on digging in the garden but there were some requests so out came the spades! Sensory activities, such as this one, invite calm, social and solitary play.

These Owls are assembling the squash and kale quesadillas for snack. They harvested the kale, cut it up and are now learning to use the pepper mill. Cooking together is a way to create shared experiences that carry into our other moments together.

Rhys and Aaran work with big trucks. There is such an attraction to big trucks and wheels- how can we expand this play to go deeper?

Daily visits to the garden help us all to see what is growing and what has perished and is now rotting! Observing seasonal changes first hand is the best way to connect with the world around us.

Vino and Frazer admire the big carrots. After I took this photo, we harvested a couple of big carrots and shared them. Delicious and sweet!

I am not sure what Elizabeth and Barry are talking about but I do know that I heard them both laughing a lot!

Audrey proudly shows us the pomegranate seeds her and her mommy prepared for our snack today. Thank you for the healthy treat!

Kate starts to walk back to the Cottage with our newest Eagles to allow them some more time to get changed in the pod. I just had to snap this photo from behind as the group looks so adorable!

A small amount of hail incites elation as children touch, stomp on and ‘skate’ along the pellets.

Yehuan notices the nests in the art studio. He carefully looks at each nest then announces that one nest has whole eggs but no bird; Another nest has broken eggs and still no bird; The last nest had a bird, but no eggs. He wondered why and began to look into a nest book to see if he could identify the birds. He informs Tricia that he believes, “the egg is too small to be an owl, maybe it belongs to an eagle.” ( by Heidi)

Winnie tenderly tucks a teddy bear under a silk blanket while talking to it in a quiet voice.

In the art studio, Wayden and Myles are presented with oil pastels and a paper canvas table covering. Initially they use the oil pastels to mark the paper, but when Wayden realizes that the pastels are covered with a paper slip that can come off, they both focus intently on removing all of the paper slips. (by Heidi)

Ginny and Janina work side by side scooping, pouring and smashing flax pods. ( by Heidi)

“Mia, should we build a ladder or a tower?” Lilja asks as she adds another piece to her structure. ( by Heidi)

Vino makes a squid. This piece of art demonstrates the ability to bring an idea to a concrete representation.

Ryan uses these shakers to test balance and weight. Typically these are used in our dramatic play area so it is interesting to see that he took them away from that area to use them for something unconventional.

All Eagles and Owls will do a self-portrait for their binders.

Eagles making our quesadillas; most children gobbled them up at lunch!

Kye and Theo use the rain sticks to create “Loud, loud noise!”

Uncovering gems and sequins is so exciting! Even as an adult, uncovering or unwrapping something makes your heart beat a little faster.

Some focused work!

‘With gratitude,

Emily

October 6, 2017

This week at Nature School we had an interesting encounter at a place we call ‘Muddy Hill’, so-named by the children in our first year for the steep, slippery mud track that leads walkers to a bench at the top of the rise.   We have come to know  this place as a site for particular opportunities: it is a challenging area for individuals to bravely tackle gross motor skills; it is a place for complex social interactions and negotiations as children engaged in imaginative play amongst the trees; and it was a place for children to feel safely ‘out of sight’ of adults while safely playing within boundaries.

This place has changed recently – the young birch trees that covered the hill were removed to keep sight lines open and to maintain low-growth areas for raptors.  Consequently, the area now looks very different.  The unexpected change had children and staff alike feeling shocked and dislocated from a familiar landmark, but we have made a point of continuing to visit the area, despite our sense of loss, in order to observe the children’s process of re-establishing their patterns of play.

This week a group of thirty or more adults from Surrey Parks and Recreation came out to visit Terra Nova Rural Park, and they happened to walk by Muddy Hill while we were there.  The children froze as they watched the group of adults approach.  I have no doubt that the adults regarded themselves as the observers  – such colourful and cute subjects! –  but it was apparent to me that the children did not take this view.  Despite its changes, Muddy Hill was very much their familiar territory, and the adults were the interlopers there.  The children were not afraid, rather they seemed deeply curious and focussed.  Observing and reflecting on the children’s relationships, their behaviours, interests, and strengths is the foundation of our work as teachers.   Paying close attention – to each other, to the land, and to all it’s inhabitants, is what resonates with me as I peruse this week’s photographs.  Enjoy looking!

The gazebo offers a challenging climb for those who are ready, while others take time to become comfortable with the height.

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Climbing trees is exciting and daunting.  Children are learning the mechanics of where to put feet and hands, as well as learning to judge the safety of the trees branches and how to avoid damaging these precious young fruit trees.  Others learn through observation, or find a role for themselves as cheerleaders!

So many ways to gain physical strength when playing outside, whether using traditional sports equipment, the built environment, or props such wagons, wheelbarrows, rocks, and squash.

The children are looking closely at homegrown squash, pumpkins and garlic, which gives these focussed drawing times purpose and develops an eye for detail.

Eagles and Owls alike have been learning to use binoculars.  We were particularly delighted to hear and see Bald Eagles returning to ‘Eagle Tree Tunnel’ just west of the parking lot.

Testing theories and ideas to solve problems is the work of childhood.  We try to minimize our adult intervention, supporting the idea that there are many solutions.

And a few final pictures that capture the joy of being together in this beautiful space:

With heartfelt thanks for this gift of Terra Nova Nature School – enjoy a restful long weekend together!

Warmly, Kate

 

Autumn Sunshine

What a spectacular week it has been! Children settling into routine, smiling and enjoying being in a group setting. Enjoy a few photos from last week and many from this week!

Masa & Anderson explore colour as they look at each other’s faces through coloured glass. The combination of colours sends them into fits of laughter.

Hillary supports sharing and turn taking at the play dough tarp.

Using chalk pastels to express a design idea, Quinn & Ashlyn work alongside each other in silence.

Based on observed interest in tubes and cars, we bring the long “roadways and ramps” down to the healing garden. How will a new place change their play?

Apple & carrot soup, using up veggies from the garden that are not great for raw eating. Teaching children the importance of using what we have is important here at TNNS!

Atlas enjoys digging for potatoes, finding spiders and scooping soil.

Thanks for all the watering Daniela!

At first, Wayden is hesitant to get his hands dirty in the soil but it sure doesn’t take long for him to realize how fun it is to harvest veggies grown underneath the soil!

Fresh tomatoes off the vine- the gifts of a late summer! Cleo and Lilja eat several each while Reya looks on, curious but unsure of eating one herself. Maybe another day!

Edible wilds grow plentiful here at the farm so we dialogue a lot about safety and mindful harvesting. Heidi picks a fresh clover to share with everyone.

Lining up for clover petals! Don’t you love Nature School?

Soyon finds an old lean to shelter made in our summer camps. Hiding in small places is always intriguing. What other play can happen here? I wonder what we could place inside to add to this space?

Working in teams to investigate and record garden finding, Audrey, Ronan & Tyler look at drying beans. Crossing fingers they dry in time before the rains come!

Dion & Justine draw watermelon and cantaloupe growing on their vines. How wonderful to really see where these fruits come from and how they are grown.

Many chefs may quick cutting of potatoes for roasted potatoes for lunch.

Roy & Masa use elastic bands to explore geometric shapes and designs. This activity also builds strength in hand and finger muscles.

Owl Chefs on potato duty!

The magnetic maze allows Reya to look for pathways and figure out solutions.

Avalon is on a mission! She wants to do every single shape board all by herself!

Barry points out a Great Blue Heron, one of the first we have seen this school year. Theo and Roy are trying to get an eye on it but it is far away and quite camouflaged.

The Eagles use binoculars to look for birds and planes.

Ryan and Quinn work long and hard at filling up the tower with gravel. Barry adds encouragement and helps to stabilize the structure for them. It was beautiful to watch them all working together.

Eagle chefs making mashed potatoes at the harvest tables in the Healing Garden.

Roy is climbing up here for the first time! Challenging our bodies and taking risks is something that is supported here at TNNS!

Thank you Soyon!

Owls learn new lyrics to a familiar tune; Misuzu does a musical version of Old Macdonald.

The Owls go through their first emergency drill of the year.

Owls cutting potatoes for our outdoor cooking project.

Ezrah and Misuzu share a giggle as they tickle and hug each other. These early stages of a relationship are so important for future interactions.

Bowls and dishes create pretend play opportunities to make ice cream and cupcakes!

Oliver enjoys filling the pots with dried grass and then pouring it out. Allowing time for exploration in sensory play is important for young children.

“I found a snail, I found a snail “, exclaims Avalon with excitement!

Jess & Erika continue to develop their relationship from last year. This is exactly why we are here, doing what we do. To love and nurture each other and grow together on this land! Thanks for volunteering Jess!

Yay, Yi Ting!!

In gratitude,

Emily

Eco-Dyeing Workshop with Natalie Grambow

Supporting and providing a creative, intellectually challenging and artistically provoking program does not come easy. It takes work and commitment from everyone to continue to develop and grow in this area. It is vital to look for ways to spark creativity, to make sure it moves forward and has an active life of its own. It is sort of like caring for a child-it takes time, attention and care. Creativity is fostered and challenged by amazing artists such as Natalie Grambow ( see her biography at the end of the post). Kate did a workshop with Natalie at Maiwa  https://maiwa.com last year. Kate and I are huge Maiwa fans, always dreaming about spending our extra time in their studios! Kate was struck with Natalie’s incredible work and reached out to her to come to TNNS to offer us a professional day for our team. After many emails, gathering of supplies, and a trip to Maiwa, our eco-dyeing workshop came to fruition yesterday! What a grand day it was as many educators and volunteers from our team gave up their Friday afternoon to be with us (others on our team had to work at other jobs so we will share our new knowledge with them!).

Some thank yous are in order:

Thank you Natalie for being the generous, inspiring and beautiful artist that you are!

Thank you Kate for reaching out to Natalie!

Thank you to Carol, the team at Thompson and the Board for supporting professional development opportunities!

For our TNNS families- look for stories with play silks incorporated into our play scapes.

 

Read Natalie’s bio:

Natalie Grambow has an extensive background in design, teaching, and textile arts. An accredited Interior Designer, she spent many years in Ottawa working within the architectural design field and teaching Design Theory. Natalie’s first deep exploration of textiles began during her Visual Arts/Photography studies at the University of Ottawa when she experimented with non-silver techniques of transferring photographic imagery onto cloth. She subsequently studied at the École d’Impression Textile à Montréal and later travelled to Asia and Latin America where she spent six months learning to weave with local Mayan weavers in Guatemala. Shortly after completing the Textile Arts program at Capilano College in 2001, she was awarded the BC Craft Association’s Award of Excellence. Natalie has exhibited her textile art installations in the Lower Mainland, Vancouver, Vancouver Island, and on the Sunshine Coast. Currently living in Roberts Creek, BC, she continues her art practice and studies from her studio.

With warmth,

Emily

Beginnings

I equate the new school year to most people’s New Year, being January 1st; I think most teachers would agree. We ask ourselves deep questions and make new resolutions about how we want to move ahead. It is always a time for reflection and excitement as we imagine our year to come.  Interestingly, despite so many years of teaching, I still get nervous with butterflies dancing in my stomach the weekend before school. I know my amazing, experienced colleagues feel the same way. I love that we still feel this way- the spark that ignites for a new year of growth and relationships. We are so grateful to be in this place- here on this land, with all of you. Thank you for joining us as we journey through our year together, seeking new pathways and connections.

Enjoy a glimpse of our first week together which included learning to say goodbye to special people in our lives, meeting new children and adults, organizing our belongings, figuring out schedules and systems, garden visits, cooking, art and PLAY!!


With gratitude,

Emily

Never goodbye; see you later!

It’s been a joyful whirlwind!  The past few weeks of school were packed with exciting activities for both the Eagles and the Owls. As the year end approaches, it is tempting to just ‘power’ through, but our team was determined to enjoy our time together with the children, and to find stillness even in the busiest of days! We hope you enjoy this summary of some of our last events.

Sharing First Nations Knowledge of Indigenous Plants: We have been in discussion with Lindsay, Ashlyn’s mother, for a long time about coming in to share her culture and knowledge with our children. Lindsay is the incredible artist who painted the meaningful and beautiful piece in the Cottage. Lindsay has been studying and teaching ethnobotany at SFU so she has a wealth of knowledge regarding Indigenous plants and their medicinal uses. As well, her daughters, Ashlyn and Rylan, Pow Wow dance, so we have been eager for them to share this special dance for with us. First the Eagles families joined us for an educational walk during which we learned about salmonberries, horsetail, plantain -or ‘frog leaf’, sticky grass, and herbs. Each child put together a medicine bundle with sage, sweet grass, tobacco and cedar boughs, not to be ingested, but to keep in one’s pocket for comfort and spiritual wellness.  We were honoured to feel our TNNS values and curriculum come together in such a special day, Thank You Lindsay, Ashlyn and Rylan!

 

Farmer’s Market: The idea for the market sprouted last year, after visiting Quilchena Elementary students in-house vegetable market: How cool would it be to do a market together, using both our school’s resources and building on our joint interests in  gardening, the environment and food security? Very cool indeed! So, many months ago, we sat down with teachers Kevin and Andrew from Quilchena to discuss this possibility. The concept of children being visible and engaged in meaningful and relevant work is an integral part of the Reggio Emilia philosophy: the children are viewed as capable and valued citizens, worthy of participation in community events. We wanted our TNNS children and our buddies to have this kind of opportunity in our own community, as people who can contribute in a meaningful way to our world (hence the title, “Young Citizens Farmers and Artisans Market), and that they did!

Thanks to a wet, cold Spring, the actual event seemed to sneak up on us – we have a new appreciation for the weather anxiety farmers experience!  However much thought and time went in to choosing crops that could be grown and harvested within the school year; working in the garden (preschoolers LOVE filling wheelbarrows with soil!); making the signs; and planning the day. Parents also helped, both in the garden and on market day.  The City of Richmond were incredibly supportive, kindly providing tents and tables.  We wanted the children to experience giving back to the community, so we asked all the classes to donate some of their prize produce to the Minoru Seniors Centre for their hot meal. We were honoured to have Mayor Brodie, and Councillors MacPhail, Loo, Au, and McNulty pop by, as well as many Richmond School District staff.  A portion of our proceeds from the day will be donated to the Stanley Park Ecology Society to support their Co-existing with Coyotes educational programs.  The day was very successful for all involved, so of course we already have plans for ‘growing’ this project next year to include both TNNS classes!

Planting Trees: At the end of our first school year, we planted a commemorative Oak tree behind the Cottage.  It was so much fun that we seem to have created an annual tradition, planting three more trees last year, and four this year!  The trees were donated by the City of Richmond, and Shane and “Tillia” from BC Plant Health Care came out to help us with digging the holes and teaching us how to care for the trees (water! water! water through the summer!).

End of Year Celebrations: What does a Nature preschool do when it rains on your party?  Put on our raincoats! Truthfully, the Owls children hardly seemed to notice it was raining, especially with the luxury of eating and dancing under cover at Mary’s Barn! The Sharing Farm kindly worked around our activities both days, so we could use the long harvest tables on Friday under sunnier skies.  Thank you to everyone for walking this land with your children and celebrating our wonderful year together!  

Our concluding slide shows are always bittersweet and a wee bit tearful – an emotional reflection of our relationships with one another and this place.  From deep within our hearts, we extend a thank you for being part of TNNS and look forward to many future times of connecting through nature!

‘Till the next post,

Emily & Kate

So many projects!

We have had a busy couple of weeks in both the Owls and Eagles classes!  Our last visits of the year with our buddy classes from Thompson and Quilchena Elementary schools are always bittersweet, as we realize just how much the buddies have grown together and formed caring relationships with one another!  Some relationships are fleeting, but no less special, as we saw with a visit from a local high school class from McMath Secondary.  Although Mr. Fraser brings his class just once a year as part of a bike hike, these teens are always enthusiastic partners when they start gardening and cooking with our preschoolers!  We also piloted a few ‘Grand-pal’ visits with senior volunteers at the Sharing Farm, planting sunflowers and hunting for herbs.  The Owls had a visit from Mike and his recycling truck, as well as some exciting cooking on the Coleman stove using tofu and freshly harvested stinging nettle. We are busy with several surprise projects, and lots of planting and planning for our upcoming “Young Citizens Farmers & Artisans Market” on June 13, but we still make time for playing in tall grass, ‘cooking’ with mud and buttercups, stories, songs, and plenty of snuggles and giggles with friends. Enjoy!

A Little of this, A Little of That

This week has been filled with a little of this, a little of that- no real common thread wove through this week; perhaps it was the mid-week event but each day came and went, always happily and with learning opportunities but without a force tying it all together. Some weeks are just like that! Enjoy the photos, they always put a smile on my face and I reckon they do on yours too!

The Eagles help weed the garden bed in preparation for more herbs.

Kate purchased some perennials and used them as a morning circle provocation. Brianna and Zoë are leading a guessing game to name the herbs.

 

Ashlyn plants 3 varietals of herbs.

A rainy snack- eat quickly before your food gets soggy. These TNNS students are so weathered- they impress us each and every day! In the background, you can see Ward, Kate’s husband, also an Early Childhood Educator- he came to visit and chat with our Eagles!

Before offered a real hammer, these Owls are draw their ideas about hammers- what is a hammer, what does it look like, what can it do, when do we use it?

Barry holds the nail upright so Nicholas can hammer it into the wood piece. Using real tools develops confidence and skill, as well as concentration.

We think we hear an owl but I think it is wishful thinking. Probably a pigeon or dove- drats!

Masa and Anderson build a dinosaur house, even leaving room for the dinosaur to stick her neck out!

Ibrahim learns how to play dominoes with me and then continues to play on his own. Is he making up his own rules now? How can we extend this interest? Is he interested in the numbers or patterns?

Soyon and Yi Teng create designs with a variety of sea shells. Loose parts enable creativity, patterning and investigation.

Annabelle and May create a dramatic story about a caterpillar and bees, using the figurines and grasses. Adding invitations such as this one, opens opportunity for new stories.

Mattias is looking for very specific shell sizes to continue his line.

Mud and water.

WEE WALK-2017

From Heidi:

Finding forms in the clouds. Many children see a boat.

Not yet having even opened his letter, Masa turns to Yi Teng and says, “It says: thank you for spending time in the rain together.”

Zoë begins building a nest. Frazer notices and joins in, as does Ian, shortly after. “I made a place for the slugs and snails to climb up too,” says Zoë as she places tubes down to the ground.

Pretending to be eagles leaving the nest for the first time.

Maliya turns back momentarily before disappearing into the jungle of tall grass. Look carefully in the background for the tops of some other heads.

Ted, May’s uncle, volunteers hours of time making these wood animal figures for a special TNNS project! Thanks so much Ted!!

‘Till the next post,

Emily

Growing up green!

‘Growing up green’ was the first song we taught to our very first group of nature school students.  We used it as our opening welcome song, until we finally mastered so many verses that we had to open with a more concise ditty!  With the sun finally emerging, evidence of ‘growing and green’ seem to be all around us at Terra Nova, with the trees, shrubs, and grasses changing our sightlines in the park,  and our raised garden beds looking better than ever, thanks to a mountain of compost and many helping hands to tackle the endless seeding and weeding.  We hope you can find a wee spot to plant your Mother’s Day gift: the homemade, seeded paper that will grow into pollinator-friendly plants.  Dandelions are amongst the first foods for bees, so we have been talking with all the children about mindful harvesting: picking a few blossoms for a bouquet, mud kitchen soup, or even real dandelion tea, while leaving plenty for the bees.  Learning to identify both pollinators and plants has renewed the children’s desire to research using field guides and encyclopedias.  And the soon-to-be Kindergartners in particular are demonstrating their understanding of the purposes of letters and words – to communicate and share stories – something else that grows in abundance at Terra Nova Nature School!

 

 

 

I Love this Place!

It’s true, I do LOVE this place. One early mooring this week, I was leaving the Buemann House office when I bumped into (literally), Kristyan, a farmer with the Sharing Farm. We had a quick hello and comment on the weather and the crop fields. Then I ran into Leslie, the beekeeper for the Sharing Farm. We spoke for a few minutes about splitting a hive. I looked ahead to choose which path I would take to get to the Cottage. I opted for the one through the Healing Garden, past the Cobb Oven and herb beds. On my walk, I looked at tilled fields, an owl nesting box, community garden beds, gazebos and more. I heard crows, black capped chickadees and other birds that I am still trying to learn to identify. As I approached the field near the school, an eagle called out. My feet wet from brushing through the tall grasses of the field, I arrived and declared to our team– I LOVE this place! It just feels amazing to work here, with people that care and are dedicated to the same things I am. To be on this beautiful land that surprises us and calms us each and every day is a gift. Kate and I pinch ourselves every day and say to each other “We actually get to work here!”.

Our week together: The following 5 photographs speak to the relationships we foster and grow here at school. Taking the time to listen and connect with each child, each day. Our ratio of children to educators is not only necessary in terms of safety on our land but also allows for deeper relationships and more time spent with each child. Thank you to our volunteers and students for increasing our adult to child ratio as well- look what a difference it makes!

Tricia and Leo

Barry teaches Kingston, Will and Vino about rust in the water.

Erica, a practicum student, provides a cozy and grounding place for Annabelle during a story time.

Shantelle waits to see if Justine needs help getting a cap off a pen.

Chloe joins us on her pro- d day; what an awesome young person! Her presence is appreciated by all.

 

Heidi teaches the Owls a new game, based on the Farmer in the Dell.

Erica shares a story from her childhood, Nanabush Steals Fire. It has been so lovely having Erica incorporate her First Nations background.

Sadly, especially for the Owls, who climb on the tree almost every day, the City takes down the olds, fallen ash tree. Children are sad about this loss. On a happy note, we now have tree cookies and stumps.

Finding this little secret hiding spot, the children yell out to me as I approach “No grown ups allowed!”. I respect their wishes- it is so important to allow children room to breathe without an adult hovering over them at all times.

Frazer, Ariel and Tyler S. plant some squash and pumpkin seeds to put into our greenhouse.

Inspired by Audrey finding a flower and then sketching it in the studio, Vino and Will want to try the same still life.

The Owls enjoy listening  to Heidi read a story about “Frog and Toad”. There are very few pictures so the children are simply listening, which is something we have been working on lately.

A piece of old wood becomes a bridge. They form a line up to cross the bridge- is this idea connected to us crossing the bridge to the playground?

Avery experiments with drawing with wet pastels and wet markers. She seems to be interested in how the colours are blending together. She also seems intrigued by the fabric changing colour, as do the others in her group. I wonder about dying fabric?

There are many people building along side each other. It is rewarding to watch them figure out how to use their bodies and materials in a close space so that others can also work.

Nika is back from her extended trip and jumps right back into our schedule! She works diligently to complete this puzzle.

The Owls find a long branch which leads to a friendly tug-of-war. Allowing opportunity for this type of physical play is so vital for healthy child development. It does challenge us as educators to be very aware of the energy and amount of risk in a situation.

The first hot, sunny day this spring is welcome! The Eagles lounge over a long snack time.

The children are getting very good at seeing things that are far away, which is so important in this world of close screens. Nika spots an eagle landing on a branch and points it out to the class.

Brianna and Ludwig make ‘bandaids’ out of grass. This idea soon spreads to others in the group and continues into the next day. Why are small cuts so fascinating to children? What can be the ball toss to offer something back to continue to develop this idea?

‘Till the next post,

Emily