Oaks News from the Wild #14

After winter break, the children hit the ground running, literally and figuratively.  By this point in the year, they are completely bonded to each other and to Woodend. We saw so many examples of teamwork this week, so wanted to share a few with you.


The Oaks found a bird bath full of sand next to the Mansion at lunch time. Children will make play where-ever they go, with whatever they find. In this case, they decided to make “rock throw-up.” Adults don’t always feel comfortable with children’s play themes (especially after the holiday stomach bug…), but we can appreciate the moment of connection and collaboration.


How deep is the stream? Deeper than ever before. The one with the tallest boots goes first, with a measuring stick.


Using sticks to measure depths. “We can’t go in that one, it’s too deep!” they warned all their friends as they approached.


Building a bridge took a lot of planning, thinking and teamwork.



Or you can cross using nature’s bridge. At least half-way.


Or under…


Sometimes you need a little help from a friend.

Processed with MOLDIV

Empathy in action

Several of the children have been working for weeks to detach the end of a long vine (aka fire hose) that hangs near our lunch spot. They’ve done tug of wars with five or more against the vine, tried sawing and whacking it with sticks, and finally at long last, they peeled the bark back and freed the vine. Part of it still hangs from the tree, so of course they needed to try to climb up to it to slide down. If one end is a fire hose, the other is a fire pole, obviously. In the end most of the children couldn’t get up this particular tree, so they called on our star tree climber. He got up, and the rest of the children handed him the vine. Huge cheers from all when he made it down. Team bonding  – when another’s success fills you with as much joy as doing it yourself.


How will we get up?


Teamwork log-carry for a step.


Living vicariously through our star tree climber

We decided to celebrate the New Year by asking the children to bring in their favorite books to share. On Thursday we read Hansel and Gretel. Since we’re starting our mapping unit next week, we decided to connect the story with some concept seeds for mapping. In teams, the children counted out thirty pebbles each, and laid out small trails from one landmark at Hilltop to another. Their partners then had to follow the pebble trails like Hansel and Gretel to find a treasure at the end. Treasures were then left at our new Treasure Tree. So far we have bones, quartz and other rocks, mushrooms, and special sticks. The stone layers helped each other count out the stones, figure out the best way to space their pebbles, and how far their trail could actually reach. We didn’t ask them to help each other – they just noticed when their friend needed help and offered. We showed the children how to group the pebbles by fives in order to count them. Loose parts like these make excellent math tools.


The Treasure Tree is a big hit. After rain got into our Ziplock, we had to make a new Guest Book for Hilltop Home. A few of the girls wanted to add cover art, and decided to draw the Treasure Tree. They approached it like a still life assignment, going to look carefully at the actual “tree” before adding elements to their drawing.


Looking at the tree from afar in order to draw it.


Leaving the drawing to check on details. All done as a team and completely child-led.


Storytime under the Portico


Time for quiet reflection

Books we read this week (the children’s favorites):

Baba Yaga and the Wise Doll by Oram Hiawyn

I Am Not Sleepy and I Will Not Go to Bed by Lauren Child

Hansel and Gretel

The Christmas Wish by Lori Evert

January Circle Song 

Come sing a song of winter, of winter, of winter

Come sing a song of winter, the cold days are here.

With winter winds blowing and rosy cheeks glowing

Come sing a song of winter, the cold days are here.

Closing Poem

Animals burrow

January whispers snow

Bundle head to toe

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