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A new session has started and we are so excited about all our plans for this Wonderful Winter group! We had such a lovely time meeting with our new Forest Friends and we know that so many great adventures await us.
The Forest Friends made fast friends to start of the session and we started the day with songs and games. We then hiked to our Fallen Tree Natural Playground and the children had a great time climbing the trees and discovering new heights for themselves physically and mentally. As parents we always want our children to be safe and careful, but sometimes we can stop our child before they learn something invaluable: self assurance. When we watch our children learning in a way that seems, and can be, dangerous we tend to jump immediately to the phrase, "be careful!," but there are so many other ways we can tell them learn to be careful but not stop their play. At Forest Time Kindergarten we always try to find new words to encourage children's play/learning without discouraging their momentum. When we use other words than "be careful" we also provide another learning experience that helps our children become more aware of dangers and provide them with better motor skills to maneuver through difficult obstacles. The Forest Adventurers had a great time finding sticks to create a fort near our playground and we discussed how to stay warm using this fort and emergency blankets.
Near our Natural Playground our adventurers had a great time exploring a large patch of ice that provided so many opportunities to learn: safety, music, motor skills, etc. Sherri explained to the children that ice is slippery, and more importantly, can be slippery even when you can't see it. We discussed ice safety and how you should approach ice. If youstep on ice and hear that "crack" what should you do? Slowly step off from the ice, don't flail about. If you slip on the ice, try to control your fall onto your bottom, as it is the most padded. If you find that you have fallen through ice, and into the water, use your arms to drag yourself up and out of the ice.
A common safety theme this week was: lower your center of gravity. When a child was climbing higher than they felt comfortable: "get down lower on your bottom;" Near water and needing adult assistance to approach: "crouch down to the ground to safely sit near the water;" Fall on ice/through ice: "disperse your weight more evenly by staying low to the ground."
After our hike to the Natural Playgrounds we came back to camp to enjoy some hot-ish soup and bread. We colored rocks with colored pencils and set out to hide them in the woods. With renewed energy our rock hiding adventure led us to the river where the children wanted to throw rocks and sticks in. Our Forest Friends were advised to sit on the ground and wait for an adult to assist them on their approach to the water. After throwing our sticks and rocks and commenting on the noise and ripples they made we found ourselves in the perfect position for "sit spots;" an opportunity to connect with ourselves and nature. The sun was shining beautifully as Sherri led the group through some mindfulness routines and it gave us all a chance to recenter and reflect upon our time and the nature surrounding us. We were all given the opportunity to calm and center and think. For more information on sit spots, check out this article: http://worldreflexion.com/sitspots
Tired, but happy we trekked back to our camp base and parted ways for the week. We had such a nice time on the sunny, beautiful day in the Winter We won't be meeting next week due to teacher training, but joyfully await our next class January 25th. Here's hoping for more snow and Winter Wonderlands this January and February! See you all soon.