• Andrea Eilers

January is a Friend of Mine

Winter is here with 20 different kinds of rain: side-ways rain, misty rain, torrential rain, pitter-patter rain....! It amazes me how there can be a lake on the trail one day and the next day the trees have sucked it all up! Thirsty suckers!!!....

The rain isn't slowing us down though is it kids! NO WAY!

We've been fishing for sea bass, building dams, diverting puddles, rescuing worms and yes, even had the occasional mud bath.

Lately my colleague and I have been noticing how the forest, farm and beach environments serve to further build the children into strong, resilient, able-bodies. The bumpy terrain calls on the brain to pre-plan it's maneuvers. The stabilizers recruit other muscle groups that over time, with more experiences of trial and error, strengthen and adapt for greater success. Little tumbles, bumps and bruises teach our kids that they can pick themselves back up and keep going. Carrying their own gear and making attempts to open snacks and ask for a hand gives them a real live sense that life has struggles but these efforts reap rewards.

Having taught for a while now, I wonder sometimes about activities that occur frequently such as outdoor kitchen....I ask myself, is this getting over-used?...Not for the children! Just this week one of the older boys asked if I brought the kitchen tools. He said he really loves them and wants them around all the time. This is true for almost all of the children...they love the close connection with the earth, each other, home, service to others and naturally- the space to be creative with feelings of success and home-cooked happiness. Yup, that's the joy of cooking.

New and innovative play happens everyday in unexpected ways, a spatula becomes a lever in a stump that becomes a rocket ship. Bark debris become walkie-talkies, and bendy branches evolve into life-long horsey friends. These kids are sooo lucky their parents believe in free-play outside!

Having such an intimate and regular relationship with our outdoor spaces, we notice the little things in greater detail. Song birds are returning, leaves are budding, skunk cabbage is rising out of the water,and mosquitoes drone overhead. It's such a treat when the kids notice their forest friends and make note of their return.

One of the kids found critters in stream water. His questions were so awesome:

How do they stay warm, what would happen if we moved them to our meeting area, why do you think they like to live in this part of the stream and not further down where the water is flowing faster?

Having these opportunities to get to these questions on their own, along with having the biology in their hands, scaffolds the foundation for life long passions.

Cultivating a curious mind and an agile body is what forest play does naturally.

Kids have a dragon ride with Drift:

The wind storm left us a cool new bouncy log!

Ducks are hungry on rainy days. The kids look forward to this close encounter.

Thank you FAL families for allowing us the pleasure to grow along side your children.

Have a wonderful February.



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