When environmental conservationists were asked what factors influenced their life’s work, one thing stood out: many childhood hours spent in nature with a caring adult. We teach them about seasons and spiders, but mostly we let their hearts fill with love, knowing that’s what they’ll carry with them.
Looking at the photos from the last two weeks, I am also awed by the creativity we see, inside and out. We provide some interesting things and watch the play explode.
And the play continues inside…
And it’s easy to see how work is play and play is work.
As the leaves burst into color and then fell, the Oaks explored, learning about why leaves change color, how to find spiders, and the best places for slugs, worms, millipedes and Bess beetles.
At Hilltop Home, we played Meet a Tree, worked on the fairy playground (the fairies write back!), settled into Sit Spots, and played, played, played.
At the end of this week, we made Journey Sticks. The children each chose a special stick, added rubber bands and cloth. We went on a longer hike around Woodend, collecting small memories as we went. We added a colorful leaf or a turkey tail mushroom or a piece of licheny bark to our Journey Sticks, and then told our stories at closing circle and in journals the next day.
We celebrated a birthday, with a Circling the Sun ceremony. We read, and read and read some more.
We had a visit from our first Planet Pal, Mother Earth, who rapped about being green, then led the Oaks in a lively discussion about things we can do to take care of her. “Pick up trash!” “Take care of the animals!” “Drive an electric vehicle!” As a first step, we decided to let our class toads go live a happy toad life in the woods, so they have time to get ready for winter. This was hard, but we read the marvelous book The Bog Baby and got some encouragement from Mother Earth. Then the Oaks found some choice spots near the pond and stream bed and watched Mama and Papa Toads hop away.
Since Mother Earth also reminded the Oaks that their first job is to love her, we gave them lots of time to do just that. And no outdoor play in Autumn would be complete without some flying leaps into piles of leaves!