I will preface this by saying I’m a bit biased by being a founding board member!
We often take adventures to the Illahee beach on a weekly basis, rain or shine. This class was held at what my daughter, Eva calls, “her beach”. On the dock, Ms. Robin had put out ‘spyglasses’ (binoculars), crayons, and paper so that everyone could draw what they could see. We arrived early and were able to help set up the book and digging station for the class. We knew a few other playmates from previous classes and met several new ones. There was a welcome circle and with Eva being one of the younger participants she did not really want to be a part of it.
Ms. Robin took this in stride and moved onto the next child and asked each one their name and the favorite find at the beach. This helped me in that I didn’t feel my child was pressure and nor was I embarrassed that she was uninterested at that moment. There was a certain flow that Ms. Robin brought to the circle and story time that I’ve only seen in a few other events or classrooms. The last part involved having free play for everyone. Many children caught crabs, found feathers, sticks and shells. Having been there so many times ourselves I knew how to find a Moon Snail and was able to dig out a younger snail and let the playmates and parents that were interested touch or hold this amazing mollusk. Our family is curious by nature and therefore I also knew how they laid their eggs and ate the clams on the beach and therefore a mini Biology lesson was presented.
One child was super excited to hold the snail, others would not even touch the snail. None of this was a requirement. This was a free learn based on the kids inquiry and while not really planned, it was more than welcomed. Some playmates just splashed in the water, some wanted to learn about anemones, and others were just happy to build things in the sand. This was what made it so special for us in that everyone learned through a different media, a various avenue, or a novel (for them) item. We’ve attended other Family Nature Play Class with Barnacles and Bees but for Eva, this particular class has been a bit more cemented in her memory and we are super grateful and looking forward to the Fall ones!
Post written by Colleen Lux