People have asked me many times this winter how the children have been coping with all the extreme weather we have been having and I smile to myself and think of all the opportunities for new learning and nature connection. First we had to learn to dress differently and keep moving, not too hard when your 4. We had to learn to walk differently on the ice, we also got to examine the differnt types of snow and see which was best for tracking animals and which was best for building snowballs and snow angels.
We had many different experiences with ice, from tiny crystals we chipped apart with hammers and chisels, to long icicles we knocked off the canyon wall to put in our icicle museum, and huge pieces of ice we managed to break free from frozen puddles.
The heavy snow and high winds left us with an abundance of shelter building materials with which the children were inspired to create shelters by working together. Working together , children leading children, is such an important part of our child lead philosophy at Freshair. Children assigning and taking on different roles, problem solving with each other and supporting each other is so vital to their devleopment.
When the solid ice became too difficult to navigate in our simple rainboots we seized the opportunity to move our location to Cates Park for beach school. This was an awesome opportunity and much loved by many of the children. Cates Park gave us the opportunity for some wonderful wildlife viewing, from Pileated Woodpeckers, Grey Squirrels, Harbour Seals, River Otters, Goldeneyes, Mallards, Cormorants, to snacking with two Bald Eagles. The beach inspired a lot of treasure hunting and searching for gold so Lisa and I combined this idea with some orienteering and simple instructions. The children loved the activity so much we carried on with the orrienteering in the forest and added some riddles to solve. This theme will probably carry on into Spring as the children are getting so much out of it. Learning to read compasses, working together, problem sovling and critical thinking.
With hopes of Spring arriving soon it was truly a pleasure to return to the farm to greet two new lambs. So cute! The chidren worked very hard to clean out the pig pen and chicken coops and are especially enjoying feeding the new Chinese ducks that get so excitied at feeding time. We planted some peas in our garden plot to see if they would survive the cold temperatures. We also planted a variety of seeds for the children to take home to their warm window sills. Here's to Spring!