Originally posted October 22, 2016
Fresh Air Learning is in full swing in Vancouver. New students are discovering the joys of the forest, returning students are discovering the wonders of our new play space and everyone is building connections with one another and with the forest itself.
Our forest playground offers endless opportunity for open ended discovery and play. We found new spots to climb and logs that could effortlessly transform into canoes, slides, castles and whatever else young imaginations could dream up. We utilized the many loose-parts around us to build nests and fairy houses, create wands and fishing rods; sharing inspiration and our creativity with one another. We have watched with wonder and excitement as the days turned from warm to cool, puddles and mushrooms appeared and the leaves changed, fell and eventually crinkled beneath our feet.
Ropes were our main play things and we used them to further play narratives and expand the definition of the word “toy”. We found a new spot for a rope swing and a new method which requires the children to use their bodies in a different way than with our previous one. Our ropes became sling shots; with the children working with balance, aim and tautness of the line to see just how far a stick could fly.
We added a pulley and a bucket to transport various materials from one end of our space to the other; experimenting with different speeds, angles and weights and noticing the changes in the movement of the bucket. We used ropes for balancing on, climbing in and tugging on through using them in a variety of different ways and experiencing how one material can create and endless amount of options when used with creativity and imagination.
We introduced the groups to whittling. Returning students found comfort and new skill with the familiar activity while new students reveled at the carving activity, building their confidence while building a new skill.
At Southlands Farm we enjoyed our first visit of the year among the hustle and bustle of the harvest season. We spend some time with the animals; learning about how to listen to the animals ways of communicating without the use of words.
We fed the chickens and the ducks, getting close enough to feel the softness of their feathers.
We jumped and dived head first into the Straw Pile, wondering and discovering the difference between straw and hay. Some of the children went home with their very own pumpkins.
It has been a wonderful first month together building skills, friendships and confidence. We look forward to seeing what wonders lay ahead for us to discover as fall continues to change the forest around us. Happy Harvest Season!