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Week 4 Spring

Updated: May 6

What Happened?

The groups are coming together, each with its own distinct flavour. Common threads throughout the week included collaborative imaginative role play as animals and brave humans like warriors, cooks, scientists, and explorers. I noticed many children interacting with nature in ways that made them feel powerful. These interactions include big splashes in puddles, lifting big sticks and rocks, arranging natural materials to create play settings, balancing on slippery logs, and climbing on rocks and up trees. The children's faces during and after these interactions express focus, achievement, confidence and satisfaction.


Monday

We had fun in the light rain balancing on logs while pretending the floor was lava from a volcano that also erupted lava tigers and Godzilla! Some students also played the ancient empire game organized by Isaac. We were excited to have Hudson Forest Play alumni Barrett, Callum and Rose join us in the morning on their Kindergarten PD day. Sonny brought his Elephant and Piggy book so we could appreciate the little fly character that says "yah, man," in the story "I Love Slop!"


Tuesday

Found a worm and millipede larva in our explorations today. The children felt powerful sawing logs and hammering nails. Lots of pretend fishing in the puddle. Rain was much heavier than expected in the afternoon so we took refuge in the community centre for snacks, games, stories and a dance party.


Wednesday (littles)

A warmer and drier day! Lots of hide and seek. Some children pretended to drive a school bus and sang the "Wheels on the the Bus Go Round and Round." Some other children learned more about the butterfly life cycle through play. Thomas was pretending to be a caterpillar in a cocoon in the hammock and we went through the process of him becoming a butterfly and looked up milkweed (what we were feeding him.)


Wednesday (Big Kids Adventure)

Lots of discovery at Davidson park this week! Kids explored all the different areas, including the big marsh, the infamous “gnome village” and the newly dubbed “grumpy man’s creek”. Lots of climbing, bush whacking, exploration of fauna and of course - creek and mud play!




Thursday

A mellow day with a couple great walks! We found slugs and a salamander! Lots of great involved play between the kids- plenty of creativity and conflict resolution skills being demonstrated! Lots of fern arrangements, water play, scorpion attacks, floating objects down the rushing water like pretend boats. More discussion how it's OK to take a little of what nature has to offer but we always need to make sure we leave way more than we take.



Friday

A beautiful Friday! Such a great group of kids! This afternoon the kids dug holes and structures and collected sticks to make “bubbles” to protect what they were creating.

We went for a walk & went fishing, played Simon Says, & lava tigers! At the end the kids took turns playing the ukulele!



What Does It Mean?

Many of the children are learning the benefits of playing in a collaborative way that includes being more open to the ideas of others and accommodating their ideas in their play scenarios. This requires managing feelings of frustration that occur when collaboration doesn't work out as you hoped. Teachers tactfully suggest social scripts to help keep the play flowing in satisfactory ways for all. This is a healthy, and organic way to develop social skills.


The tension between wanting to pick natural materials (flowers for mom, or fresh herbs for the pretend soup) and also wanting to preserve and protect the beauty of the living plants on the land creates a dilemma for the child and the teacher. We choose to have a nuanced approach informed by Indigenous practices. Instead of saying "no picking anything ever," we seek to create sustainable and respectful relationships with the biodiversity of the forest. This approach involves, but is not limited to, discussions of the differences between dandelions and trilliums, considering the impact of our play on the public park, and the needs of other living creatures like butterflies needing milkweed.


What's Next?

Our partnership with Le Nichoir continues to thrive! It was such a pleasure to meet other nature enthusiasts at their World Migratory Bird Day event on Saturday, May 4th. Look for more exciting community events happening in Hudson!


We will continue to learn more about the plants and creatures living in the park starting with trillium and fern plants and salamanders.




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