A shorter blog for a shorter week, but a big main idea: thanks to the Family Day weekend, and, hot on it’s heels, Valentines Day, I have been thinking a lot about authenticity.
I have fond childhood memories of celebrating Valentines Day at school: certainly there was the chore of printing out classmates names, but also the excitement of sending a particularly sweet message to a special friend; a class party, with treats that were rarely allowed inside the classroom – a cookie, some pop, and maybe a foil wrapped chocolate heart; and, of course, a chance to make ‘pretty’ crafts with paper doilies, lace, and glitter! As an educator, I want to create opportunities for children to feel that bit of magic, excitement, and break from the usual routines that I remember, but I also want to be authentic to my adult values of including children in meaningful projects; minimizing consumerism and waste; and avoiding the tokenism of themes, (as if friendship lasts only a day)! Trusting that ‘something’ appropriate will emerge is not always easy, but invariably we are gifted…..
Ronan and Masa decorate their Valentines mail bags.
Finding the fallen tree bough.
Outdoor decorating table.
The Valentine’s tree!
Soyon and her Mummy deliver Valentines Cards
A rose petal pathway in honour of Valentine’s Day.
The Family Day long weekend was another situation that gave me pause: how to balance my own valuable family time with a long held goal of making and selling small, ‘authentic to TNNS’ items? The Rompers Preschool Vendor sale gave my family the perfect excuse to be creative AND spend time together, a lovely way to support each other and build community! Both the Owls and the Eagles classes were involved with making the Rosemary Salt and packages of scarlet runner beans that we sold. Thank you to all the parents who helped out, and in particular to our Nature School Knitters: Peggy, Penny, Dixie, Christiana, Ada, Viann, Joy, Shantelle, and Carol, for crafting the 60+ re-usable dishcloths we also had for sale!
Our TNNS community is especially rich thanks to the work of our staff and volunteers: Heidi, Tricia B, Misuzu, Shantelle, Barry, Jess, Chloe N, Zoleikha, Erin, and Chloe L., we couldn’t do it without you. Heartfelt thanks to each of you.
Erika is engaging in mathematical learning, using one-to-one correspondence to put beans on the bean chart.
Frazer was very engaged with counting the beans.
Nika and Ian use a bar graph chart to help them count the packages.
Brianna and Jason support each other by holding the tiny bag open while the other counts out the beans.
Nika, Ayleen, and Ken counting beans.
Vino using mortar and pestle to grind rosemary salt.
Elsa and Platon.
Owls parents helping out in the afternoon.
Our TNNS table at the sale.
Some additional pictures of friendship and community…..
Playing ‘beauty salon’ continues to be an interest for the Owls class. Elsa and Kingston demonstrate extraordinary trust and patience as Zoya, Audrey and Ohnyou become stylists with brushes and blow dryers fashioned from sticks and leaves!
Yi Teng and Masa are developing a friendship based on their mutual love of dinosaurs, seen here ‘eating’ a tree.
Tyler S. walked past his own family’s community garden plot, where, he informs Shantelle, they are ‘growing snow’. Later, when Tyler stops on the pathway, refusing to walk a step further, I ask him why, and he says “Tyler waiting”. “Waiting for what?” I ask. His heartwarming response? “For the rocks to grow.”
These are busy weeks for us at Nature School, with many visitors to TNNS, the registration of new families, professional development opportunities, garden plans and, always, working on dream projects for the future. For all of us it can be challenging to juggle our many roles, to allow time for deep reflection, or to trust that things will unfold as needed.Personally, I am reminded by our activities this week to show up as my most authentic self, both at home and at school, and to treasure this magic of working with children at Terra Nova.