June and July have just flown by like a hot summer wind and our kiddos have been soaking it up and going with the flow. In our group picture taken half way through June, we were all amazed at the children's ability to gather and follow directions as a group. Of course we had hoped that they would pick this up, but to seeing it in action and how much they have grown together is breathtaking and inspirational.
This month we gathered together in a circle holding hands, taking steps in and taking steps out, wiggling our arms, and acting silly. The act of creating this circle together really seems to have brought them all together despite different personalities, which has been amazing to see. The circle has also been excellent practice in focusing their attentions...and being silly as a group.
Speaking of group activities, something that we had been wanting to try since we chose our location is creating a river down our dirt slope from the bathrooms. It was amazing to see a group of kids work together as they created a production line of those fetching water, and those clearing the stream of rocks; it was proper fun outdoors and the level of interest and energy was wonderful.
In these last weeks together we experimented with the idea of wandering about the forest in new places that we have not been to before. The kiddos have grown so very familiar with their forest, along with the map that we have filled in together, that they were willing and confident in exploring new terrain! On our first day, the kiddos learned to make arrows on the trail so that those following us would know which way we had gone.
On our first day exploring we found ourselves at the end of a path by a large cliff. It was here that kids settled themselves near the edge and took in their view. One by one each kiddo was invited to see what it looked like from a spot that jutted out some. Alsea found a spot quickly in a gully that she imagined her dad could build her a house. Barry pointed out a spider that was right in front of him on a delicate web. Owen chose a tree far off that looked good for climbing, and on went the observations unique to each explorer.
We have also explored the steep trail taking us to the top from the beach, taking the fork both ways, the journey ALL THE WAY down the beach. We found the trail took a loop through the forest, over a bridge and back to our stump circle. Mid way through these wanderings there was a problem proposed: we are lost and are not sure how to get back! The kids kept their cools and helped to find our landmarks and clues left behind. They all have a natural-born sense of direction ( all the same we will continue to teach North, South, East and West).
Hunting Stories and Bows and Arrows
This Summer, we were certainly the most active we have been in our program to date: in the way that we told stories, in our games, and just in how we moved about. The kids all wanted a part to play in the story when a tale was spun about how the children set off to find food to bring back to the group, or in telling about their adventures in the woods -- all except Gillian, who wanted to make it clear that she would NOT be living in the woods to collect food and sleep; she would be in her bed at home.
Clustered around, the stories went a little something like this: One morning bright and early, everyone gathered around a fire eating some breakfast and preparing to go on their hunt for food. All the kids went in different directions in the park and had different methods for collecting and had different tools (and here the kiddos would chime in). One time Paisley was sitting up in a tree, waiting for an opportunity to find something with her bow and arrow only to walk away with a whole sack full of acorns. In another story, Alsea found herself in among berries and gathered enough for her friends and herself to feast on. Other kids had stories where they tried to catch larger game but found out how tricky it was to be stealthy because either the birds would give them away or their footfall was too loud. They had to settle for less ambitious sources of food, like crabs, fish, honey, and rabbit.
These stories were such a fun way to connect with the kids in the outdoors, and then we added the bow and arrow as a prop and activity. This toy was excellent as it not only practiced gross and fine motor skills but also perseverance when they were not successful. By the way, everyone should buy bow and arrow for their home. It is great fun.
We would love to see our regular families at the class, it would be a great way to stay connected! Just let us know that you are coming on our website: www.barnaclesandbees.com
July 12th: Smith Nature Play Park 1 to 3 pm
August 23rd Illahee State Park 1 to 3 pm
August 30th Illahee State Park 1 to 3 pm
First Day of School
Monday September 2nd 9am to 12pm
EVERYONE is invited to come to this day no matter the day that you are registered for, just to meet everyone in the program, and say hello to all the staff. The only thing is that you have to stay with your kiddo that day!
Fall will be coming before we know it! Please, if you haven't yet please fill out the medical form online that is at the back of the parent handbook and send it to firstname.lastname@example.org