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Last Week of February

What Happened?

Changing weather kept us on our toes this week on Monday and Tuesday and then a sudden temperature drop and extreme gusting winds led to the cancellation of Forest Play on Thursday.


Monday:

Chubby snow-horse “Rusty” gave rides. Lots of tree climbing, snow sculptures, balloon animals, and snow cupcakes followed by more climbing, music, drawing & breathing exercises! So much fun! What a beautiful Monday.



Tuesday:

We welcomed the first wild bird workshop led by Elise from Le Nichoir was a great success! Elise provided an introduction to Le Nichoir, why counting birds is important, and practicing the skills involved in bird watching: learning to be extra quiet through games, learning how to use binoculars and ending with a bird-watching walk with a checklist of common birds found in the nature reserve. The next workshop will be from 10-11am Wednesday, March 13th and Thursday, March 14th. If your child joins on Mondays and would like to participate in either of these workshops, they are more than welcome to attend!


We enjoyed being outside all afternoon in the beautiful sunshine and warm air! Some kids opted to eat their snacks outside so they didn't interrupt their play. There were some knights with swords, a dancing flower merchant, a crazy driver who kept honking her horn (Luna!), a dance party, some escaped zoo animals, and a new kind of pet called a "break," came to play. Lots of time playing in trees, then migrating back to the open space near the tent. The kids also enjoyed splashing in the puddles made by the melting snow and making mandalas and little houses with natural materials. Some kids decided to take a break in the tent to draw and write stories. We also found a spider and a caterpillar today!










Wednesday (little kids):

A slower-paced day after all the excitement of Tuesday. Some highlights were Sally and Milo's hair salon, more mandala making from natural materials, and there is always time for some tree play.



Wednesday (big kids):

We started off with an opening circle where we chatted about how we felt, the weather, the birds coming back and what activities they wanted to do in the forest. The snow melting exposed lots of interesting forest treasures to be found and free play had the children digging out the roots of a fallen tree for a while. Marion proposed a trail marking game called "Mammoth Hunter," where a team of “hunters” had to track a team of “mammoths” who left a trail of water tinted with blue food colouring from a squirt bottle. That led us to Sandy beach where we checked on our dead hawk and also collected some natural materials for an after lunch activity. We headed back to the community centre for a lunch break where after some free play, the kids dug into our “nature clay” activity (clay play incorporating found nature elements). Then it was back to base camp for some free play before pickup time!



What Does It Mean?

The children have made some powerful nature connections with the Clarke Sydenham Nature Reserve, the land, trees and environment have provided a safe space where the children feel safe to express themselves freely, the especially love to dance!


Emergent literacy skills are being fostered through drawing and journal writing, as well as through creating art with natural materials. A story can be told in so many ways to develop confidence and comfort with their language skill development. Read more in the article linked here by Edutopia. We also enhance this development of literacy skills by reading stories with vibrant illustrations each session. Children's increased confidence and comfort with their friends, teachers and environment has evolved to greater participation in dramatic play and storytelling.


Finding natural materials to be creative and create various art projects creates an opportunity for children to investigate the properties of natural materials. Read this article as a reminder of the enormous benefits that come from building nature connections.


What's Next?

March break is next week and we encourage you to play games with your children! Click here for an article by Edutopia that shares the evidence of ways games enhance maths skills. We look forward to Matt returning to Forest Play and to continue with our last three weeks at Le Nichoir for the winter session.

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