Hand-In-Hand December News
Musings from the educators…
What I noticed this month by Heather:
A chance to pause now, at the end of the calendar year. Taking a moment to reflect, all I can think is, wow, we made it – not just four months spent idly watching the days slip by but we absolutely kicked this program off to a great start! I am so grateful to all the families who took a leap with us and tried out a brand new early years program!! That takes some brave and creative parents to have faith in such an unconventional idea. You’ve probably noticed how your children have grown, in their social skills, their independence, their reasoning and curiosity, and their physical abilities! I hope it has transferred over to positive experiences at home too, and in this way we can build a strong community of learners. Speaking of community, watching the children form supportive and playful relationships this past month has been especially significant. The Roots will help each other with everything from buckling up backpacks to damming a ‘river’ with rocks or logs. Or assisting a friend with an imaginative car mechanical problem! This budding community has grown so much together, it will be a joy to watch where they go from here.
What I noticed this month by Alix:
We are halfway through our winter break – does anybody else miss going to school?! It has been what I would call an outstanding start to our program! Although we have only been together for a little over three months, the group has grown in leaps and bounds! These are no longer “little” four year olds – they are competent, confident and increasingly independent learners. These children have endured some challenging weather, experienced how familiar places change on a daily basis and have become comfortable in the forest. They have grown to respect and care for each other, as well as the world around them. They are adventurous explorers, inquisitive scientists, and avid learners – qualities we hope will stay with each child their whole life! I am looking forward to the New Year, to see where the children will take us, and to watch them grow even more! It will be interesting to see how the group welcomes our new Root- Jaelyn – to the group, and how they help her achieve all of the qualities the group has grown to acquire!
Themes from December:
From ice and frost in November, to snow in December, the Roots weathered the weather well! This month we saw sprinkling and pouring rain, dramatic windy skies, frost tipped bushes, sun warmed earth and, on our last day, snow! These variable weather conditions exposed to us many phenomenon of nature, and taught us how to prepare and respond to this weather so we can continue to play and learn in it. Everyday brought a new opportunity to challenge their bodies and minds. They worked hard by climbing frozen stumps or rocks, walking on slippery slopes, rolling down snowy hills, and going for long walks. They expanded their understanding of weather and seasons when they questioned the ‘rain’ on cloudless days or played in the curious new ‘creek’ that appeared on a path.
The trip to Mount Washington accentuated our investigation of the changing seasons. We spent the day walking as best we could through the snow in Strathcona Provincial park guided by two long time adventurers! Discussions of snow, winter and animal habitat followed this trip to the top.
Here are some other ways we interacted with the environment to further understand natural processes back in Coal Creek Historic Park in December:
The Roots took on many physical challenges this month, from long walks to technical climbing! As they develop their gross motor skills, they also build self confidence and body awareness. “We did it!” and “We win!” are commonly shouted amongst the group and it is clear they share a sense of pride in their accomplishments.
Another interesting development was the discovery and subsequent modifications of our Creek Path classroom. This dynamic little stream, that flowed following a decent rainfall, provided the platform for many experiments, discoveries and fun. We saw how water eroded the edges of the path like rivers do to their banks, we saw how a small waterfall produced frothy bubbles, we saw how undisturbed water cleared up and much more. Here is a sample of what the Roots got up to in this classroom.
On our first day in this classroom, the kids got very very dirty. They had no inhibitions about trying out new ways to play. Below, Trevor gets on his knees so he can scoop up lots of muddy water and friends run by splashing and crying out: