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Week ending Mar 22: Our Journey of Growth and Learning

Updated: Mar 28



By Paulo Coelho

A man spent hours watching a butterfly struggling to emerge from its cocoon. It managed to make a small hole, but its body was too large to get through it. After a long struggle, it appeared to be exhausted and remained absolutely still. 


The man decided to help the butterfly and, with a pair of scissors, he cut open the cocoon, thus releasing the butterfly. However, the butterfly’s body was very small and wrinkled and its wings were all crumpled. 


The man continued to watch, hoping that, at any moment, the butterfly would open its wings and fly away. Nothing happened; in fact, the butterfly spent the rest of its brief life dragging around its shrunken body and shrivelled wings, incapable of flight. 


What the man – out of kindness and his eagerness to help – had failed to understand was that the tight cocoon and the efforts that the butterfly had to make in order to squeeze out of that tiny hole were Nature’s way of training the butterfly and of strengthening its wings. 


Sometimes, a little extra effort is precisely what prepares us for the next obstacle to be faced. Anyone who refuses to make that effort, or gets the wrong sort of help, is left unprepared to fight the next battle and never manages to fly off to their destiny.


What Happened?

Hudson Forest Play's children and teachers have been hit by various illnesses leaving very few children participating in our program this week and we appreciate everyone's help in finding coverage. Our environment has become a third teacher as children explore how the melting of snow has changed the terrain and signs of spring appear. The environment has also become a safe space for children to express themselves and experiment with social dynamics and how they interact with nature, themselves, and each other. Emotional self-regulation, social skills, expression of emotions, and conflict resolution continue to be hot topics of discussion amongst our teachers and parents as we enter into our last two weeks of play. These children have built strong connections with nature and each other. As they grow in their understanding they continue to test boundaries, emotions, friendships, actions and words as they learn more about who they are.



Monday & Tuesday: Monday morning we read "I'm not scared, Your're Scared" and were inspired to explore deeper into woods behind the vine climbing spot, to the west. We found a beautiful ravine where two streams connected. Had a lovely (muddy!!) Monday afternoon, snake and monster search and lots of giggles. We read "Rechenka's Eggs" and "The Most Magnificent Thing". The children also pretended to be three bears tracking Goldilocks by following strands of her golden hair (cut pieces of yellow yarn.) See our book list linked here.



Tuesday afternoon we had castle building, a soup for dinosaurs (or made with dinosaurs?), and some climbing. There were lots of opportunities for Jess and I to speak to the kids about their feelings and ways to deal with or redirect their anger or frustration. We decided to move to the tent for some quieter solo time as they all seemed tired. There they colored, made paper airplanes, and perused Jess' lovely collection of "I Spy" books!




Wednesday: lots of fun in the water and the sun provided enough warmth for an outside picnic!



Wednesday's older kids: The blocking off of a portion of the park didn't stop us from exploring, playing and learning more about Sandy Beach Park! We were respectful in staying on public property which luckily included the flowing river, which is always such a huge draw. We spent time poking in the mud, floating sticks and exploring the shoreline. Examining greenery, polypores and moss as well as examining, collecting and throwing rocks into the water. Our explorations brought us up the creek towards the northwest where it leads into the marsh, where we were delighted to find fresh signs of a local beaver!! And then ... we had the enormous treat of several sightings of the beautiful creature!! We even found the entrance to his den! The kids were giddy with excitement over the sightings.


Thursday was too cold and windy to capture many photos, but the kids had fun both indoors and outside playing games and moving! They also enjoyed planting grass seeds and eating honey.




What does it mean?

Child development and learning profoundly shape our teaching practice, imbuing our daily or weekly interactions with profound significance. These interactions are crucial for gaining the deepest understanding of the children engaged in our program at Hudson Forest Play.

NAEYC (National Association for Education of Young Children) outlines 9 key Principles below:

  1. Development and learning are dynamic processes that reflect the complex interplay between a child’s biological characteristics and the environment, each shaping the other as well as future patterns of growth.

  2. All domains of child development—physical development, cognitive development, social and emotional development, and linguistic development (including bilingual or multilingual development), as well as approaches to learning—are important; each domain both supports and is supported by the others.

  3. Play promotes joyful learning that fosters self-regulation, language, cognitive and social competencies as well as content knowledge across disciplines. Play is essential for all children, birth through age 8.

  4. Although general progressions of development and learning can be identified, variations due to cultural contexts, experiences, and individual differences must also be considered.

  5. Children are active learners from birth, constantly taking in and organizing information to create meaning through their relationships, their interactions with their environment, and their overall experiences.

  6. Children’s motivation to learn is increased when their learning environment fosters their sense of belonging, purpose, and agency. Curricula and teaching methods build on each child’s assets by connecting their experiences in the school or learning environment to their home and community settings.

  7. Children learn in an integrated fashion that cuts across academic disciplines or subject areas. Because the foundations of subject area knowledge are established in early childhood, educators need subject-area knowledge, an understanding of the learning progressions within each subject area, and pedagogical knowledge about teaching each subject area’s content effectively.

  8. Development and learning advance when children are challenged to achieve at a level just beyond their current mastery and when they have many opportunities to reflect on and practice newly acquired skills.

  9. Used responsibly and intentionally, technology and interactive media can be valuable tools for supporting children’s development and learning.

As a dedicated educator with a passion for science, these principles underscore the critical role of early learning in laying a robust foundation for a child's future. Moreover, it's a multifaceted and awe-inspiring journey. Each interaction is a nuanced dance where a child navigates their understanding of the world and self. At Hudson Forest Play, our goal is to cultivate a safe space where children feel a profound sense of belonging, value, and confidence to engage, take leaps, and revel in joy. When such an environment is nurtured, children feel truly seen and heard, fostering an open mindset to flourish in their learning, embrace challenges, and evolve!


What's next?

Spring!! As we approach the end of our time at Le Nichoir and conclude the Winter Program at Hudson Forest Play, we eagerly anticipate embracing each day of this final week within the enchanting tent and Nature Reserve environment. With each passing day, we anticipate the weather growing warmer, inviting us to immerse ourselves in muddy adventures! Please remember to pack extra clothes to ensure our little explorers are ready for whatever nature presents us with!



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