We enjoyed another beautiful day at Oak Openings Friday March 15, 2019. We warmed out bodies and hearts by dancing to the song " I am a Woodkid" (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J_K3COMOcA0&feature=share&fbclid=IwAR19CnYTjtkkP1lDhWUBdEJnklyN8o08TOvqH4L8nNyM6GheB3sixB5mU-0). The weather was substantially warmer than than last week and we could see signs that the ice on Mallard Lake was melting. There were so many ways to observe that Winter was on the way out and Spring was imminent. The lake shore now was water, but the middle was iced over. The children had a great time seeing this change and poking sticks into the water to see how deep it was now that the ice was gone. Our discussion of ice safety we had last week changed to water safety. The dam was especially interesting as the ice sculptures were now gone from last week and in their place was the roaring sounds of water cascading. At the shelter the Forest Friends helped gather firewood for our fire and explored the surrounding areas before heading out for a hike. Along Mallard Lake we found geese swimming in open water and walking across the ice. Some children examined that the geese must be light to be able to rest on the ice without breaking it. Another discussion broke out between two explorers about what animal the geese really were; one young explorer swore the geese were actually "ducks," while the other informed her that they were in fact, "geese." After a bit of debating and back and forth, the two came to the compromise that perhaps they were actually "duck-geese." It was amazing to observe how these Forest Friends found a way to work through a disagreement and come to a compromise! One adventurer stayed back with an adult to observe the water and geese fighting; while others went on to play in the woods and practice climbing, then we all went to open field and enjoyed a good old mud stomping. There was a giant mud puddle, or "muddle" as one of our adventurers called it, had such a wonderful time. The sound of the mud squishing beneath their feet, the water splashing around them as they jumped, and the pure joy on their faces was a truly wonderful experience for them and observers!
We moved into the woods and had bit of one-on-one time with the kids, while parents took a distance to allow the children to gain independence. Many children climbed trees again and others played make believe. Although the parents had found their own spots to think, the low ratio of children to teachers allows the teachers to still form an intimate connection and working with the explorers. Our youngest explorer climbed even higher than past weeks with Sherri's guidance and observed how the fallen tree had begun to rot and complete the circle of life by returning to dirt and dust.
After some time the explorers were hungry so we hiked up to the shelter again and had tomato soup and bread. Our group had a really great time connecting at the table. We sang songs of thanks for the food and practiced asking and listening to others. Everyone went around the table and expressed what we all enjoyed the most about Forest Time Kindergarten.
After our meal the Forest Friends were asked to gather nature items and then place them in a circle around Forest Friend, Danny, as he laid on the ground. Sherri expressed to the children that this circle we created around Danny was a safe space, and the importance of safe spaces especially if you get lost. Sherri explained that if you get lost create a circle around yourself and stay put until someone comes to help you. She sang a song to them about the safe space:
We have a safe spot,
we have a safe spot,
we have a safe spot...that will help a lot.
This week our explorers found that when there is quietness we don't always need to fill the void and that the quiet allows us to quietly imagine, wonder and just listen to the forest. The Forest Friends were anxious to get to the playground again as we did last week and we all traversed to the other side of the Lake to get some fun time in the sunshine! Two more classes in this Wonderful Winter session! Remember to stay tuned for Spring Session dates and sign up for our newsletter.
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for questions or to book Sherri as a Guest Presenter on The Beneftits of Outdoor Education at your school, church or event.
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