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This beautiful Spring weather had our Forest Family feeling energized and renewed as we met again at Oak Openings this past Friday, March 22, 2019. This adventurous day led us to new distances and destinations, dreams, imaginings, and a perfect, child-led venture. We took our time walking to our shelter-house, taking in the beauty of the morning and finding new discoveries on a familiar path; we lived in "forest time," knowing that the journey is oftentimes the destination.
At our home base we built a fire and everyone pitched in finding kindling and wood. Then the adventurers sat down to a story with Miss Sherri and voted about which one of the three books she brought they would read, they decided to go with "Happy Dreamer," by Peter H. Reynolds. By allowing the children to vote as a group on the book they learn a variety of skills: collaboration, acceptance, and team mentality. After they read this wonderful book about dreamers, they picked which dreamer they were; we had quite a variety: Dancing Dreamer, Couch Dreamer, Goal Dreamer, Dinosaur Dreamer, etc.
The Forest Friends were ready and excited for our hike today, and desperately wanted to find the "muddle" again. In preparation of our hike we had a bread snack to help our little legs go further and it proved to be a great decision, as this hike ended up being close to 2 miles! When we reached the field of muddles, everyone ran wild and had a grand time. After awhile, Miss Sherri followed our youngest explorer to a log in the field, but to our youngest explorers this log was not just a log... it as a horse! Sherri and this explorer played pretend horse and soon other adventurers came to see what they were doing. Soon this game became, "is this a horse? Or is it a dragon?" The Friends had a great time squeezing onto the log and acting out the new imaginings of each explorer as they came to join the fun. The explorers were allowed to freely play and imagine, giving them confidence explore their own ideas with their fellow adventurers and find their voice.
The explorers soon decided to return to our "climbing tree" but instead of the path we have taken to climb the last few weeks the children decided to try a new path. This path was full of deep puddles, bridges, mushrooms, streams for throwing rocks and sticks, and many other adventures. It took us deeper into the forest then we had been before, and led to a child-led vote on what to do: continue to head to a tree to climb or head back to our home-base for lunch. The vote sided with continuing to the tree, and we soon came to one at a crossroads in the path. Miss Sherri and some of our friends explored balance as they worked together to lift up a large fallen tree by using their weight to lift one side like a see saw. The time passed quickly and soon the adventurers' minds turned again to snack time and we decided to hike back. One volunteer dad went ahead to tend the fire so we could warm soup upon our return, the rest of us began our trek back with many jumps and songs and ideas and explorations. Upon our return to the field, Miss Sherri picked up a large stick and showed the children how to use the stick to help carry their bags all together; working together to make a heavy task lighter. Our little explorers skipped and played the whole way back, just taking in the air, the joy, and each other.
We had a lovely lunch of grilled cheese sandwiches (the children tried vegan cheese if they had not already had it before!) and tomato soup, trail mix, and veggie straws. Everyone pooled their snacks together for a beautiful picnic and gathering. Next week is our final class for the Wonderful Winter Session! Stay tuned for a free class coming this April, and Spring Session dates!