In response to COVID-19, Barnacles & Bees has cancelled our Free Family Nature Play Classes for the remainder of 2020. Our Nature Immersion Program is currently in session with reduced capacity.
This month we have dabbled in plant life, trees, and wildflowers. But the real showstopper has been the beach. We have gotten very comfortable at our stump circle—but it is at the beach where the kids have been challenged in new ways and inspired into new realms of play. For those kids that feel more comfortable floating from group to group, I saw at the beach a desire to investigate and play on their own, guided by what held their interest. At the beach, there is no shortage of climbing opportunities, and kids don't have to wait their turn to climb our little—but marvelous—tree in our regular playing area.
April has seen our program building on our regular routines, adding layers of complexity. For those children who have taken to journals, their entries have grown more specific. Our class map has gotten more detailed with the exploration of new places (I have earmarked future cartographers). In our interest-led free time, the imaginative play has become more complex and inventive—and they mix up who they play with.
One final summary note: volunteers! A huge thank you to Alsea's parents for stepping in and making beach days less stressful. Not only were we able to keep tabs on all the kids, but we were able to have more intentional interaction in a rich new environment.
April Community Guest
Our community guest teacher, Kirsten Muller dug into one of our favorite subjects with us: worms. Kirsten is our children's librarian at the Downtown Bremerton Library and she is a gem! If you can ever make her story times on Tuesday Mornings at 10:30 am you will not be disappointed. The kids so enjoyed her—and the gummy worms that she brought along with her! We are hoping to make visits with Kirsten a regular occurrence in the future, and in the meantime, if ever you want to know more about a subject, I can think of no better librarian to help you find the books you need.
Lastly, while we don't spend a lot of time on books during our sessions together, it is important to note, as I am sure most of you know, that reading is so very very important. Whether you and your child are following a story or are learning more about a favorite subject, reading is an excellent way to boost vocabulary and focus and support your child's natural curiosity. Recently, I acquired a massive National Geographic Nature Encyclopedia and I cannot say how many time we have turned to it for reference.
Up until this point, we have served up hot tea for the kiddos and they have in the past been more than willing to drink up as a need to stay warm. However, I have noticed in recent weeks as spring has sprung that the desire for tea has waned. Therefore, we are going to try out infused water! I think this will be fun, and I have to say, the kids have already thought of some neat ideas for flavored water.
Earth Day and Kitsap Great Give
The entire team at Barnacles and Bees was floored with the amount of participation from our families in cleaning up Stephenson Canyon! In the end, nearly a dozen families participated, enabling us to haul no less than eight bags of junk—not to mention a couple of tires—out of the creek bed. And we even made it to the waterfall.
Afterward, several of our participants met us for a celebration at Crane's Castle, where we shared in delicious food and delicious brews with our community1 We loved hosting this event so much and would love to plan another one in the coming months. Following the Earth Day event, we announced our participation in Kitsap Great Give, a 24 hour period of giving though Kitsap Community Foundation. A generous group of local leaders and organizations created a bonus pool to help all donations made during that time frame go even farther, and we are proud to say that we fundraised $1,500 for our programs in this incredibly short window of time.
We are overwhelmed with gratitude to all of those who participated in our event to improve one of our local parks, as well as to all of those who gave or spread the word about our campaign.
Coming up in May:
Saturday, May 4, 10 AM - 12 Noon - Illahee State Park
We know that our current parents already love the program and how has grown this pilot year. But we would love for you to come out and help parents who are on the fence decide whether or not this would be a good fit. We are always grateful for opportunities to come together with our Barnacles & Bees community!
Parent Teacher Conferences
We last met in February to talk about your child's progress and it is high time to get together to share praise and discuss new goals with each of your kiddos. We can meet at the beginning of classes or towards the end. There are also some exceptions where I am available to meet outside of class time at Crane's Castle!
May Community Member
Wednesday, May 15
This month we are welcoming Washington State Parks Ranger Patrick Murray to the program and he is DELIGHTED. He can't wait to help bring up the next group of nature enthusiasts and show off his uniform. Ranger Murray was an integral part of our ability to launch our program, and we are thrilled to welcome him into our class!
Remember that drop-off and pick-ups are at the beach. The days chosen this month are purely to spread them out, so if high tide, fun at the beach at high tide, but if we have low tide we will try our best to hike down the beach, so help encourage your kiddos to go before the start of class.
Last month was the first full month for our new friends Seamus and Odin. As you may be aware, they are only with us on Wednesdays—which means they get less time to mix with the rest of the gang. So in an effort to help them feel more integrated, I just want to put out there, that meeting outside of class time—at a Hike-it-baby event or park is totally encouraged, as is mingling before and after class.