Musings from the Educators
Alix: I found myself spending much of June reflecting on the year, and celebrating all that we have achieved since September. How much each child has grown. How much we have grown together! How the children have grown to love and care for the forest. And how much I have grown to love each of these children! In so many ways I can’t believe our first year is already over, and in others, the beginning of the year seems so far away. I am so proud of this group of children, who have come so far since the fall, endured many elements, conquered challenges both within themselves and externally as well, and gained uncountable skills that will be with them for the rest of their lives. I am SO excited to see where these children will take us next year in the Roots program! I really cannot say thank you enough for believing in this program, and us, and helping to get the forest preschool ball rolling in the Comox Valley! Have a fantastic summer!
Heather: I really can’t believe it’s over. All the bonds we’ve created – child to forest, child to child, child to teacher, teacher to forest and forest to families, have all been very impactful. Especially in this program’s inaugural year where we set the stage for years to come. When your three year old joined the program many of them had never been with so many strangers and away for their parents for so long. Now they do it with confidence and skills that they can take into other programs and into the wide world. This year I saw each child’s individual character and aptitude shine through in a natural, open, learning environment. They have self-awareness that may not have been fostered in the same way with an indoor program. These Seeds have shown they are capable, and up to the task – of learning and growing for years to come. I am so grateful for this journey we’ve shared together – through sun, rain, snow, wind, frost, dust – through it all. All I can say is thank you, thank you, thank you. Thank you for sharing an important, integral year of your child’s life with us. You should be proud, they should proud. We’ve accomplished a lot – now what remains to be seen is what kind of fun, magical adventures you will get up to with your Root this summer!
Themes from June
Soap making We were lucky to have Debbie Bowman (from D. Bowman Nutrition Services) join us to make soap. The children found the process very interesting and really enjoyed being able to participate by stirring ingredients together.
Continuing Physical Challenges Whether small or large motor skills were being tested, the children continued to push themselves to increase their physical abilities. It is amazing how far coordination in both areas has come since the fall! Most children are now able to put on and take off their backpacks independently, which is a big feat!
Deepening of Play Because the children are so comfortable with our daily routine, and with each other, they are able to fall into deep play quickly after arrival to a classroom. We have seen a lot of growth especially in their quality of group dramatic play. Throughout the year, building mouse houses, and playing out the dynamic of family life (someone is the mom, dad, baby, brother, etc) was common. Closer to the end of the year, we saw some play venturing from these repeated routines into new territory.
Kids Take the Lead Of course, we have been child-led in our approach to learning all year, and as we have grown, given the children more and more say over our day – where we are going, what we should do there, and guided problem solving. This month that growth could be seen in their suggestions even mid-route, which we followed whenever possible.
Strengthening of Friendships Over the course of the year, children have paired off in different combinations, and found friendships that are deeply valued. These bonds are the glue that keep our group close, and teach respect and caring for each other. It will be interesting to see how friendships develop next year when so many of the same children return, and new children join our group.
Celebration And then it happened. We had our last day – for this year! What an amazing first year Hand-In-Hand has had! We brought both groups together for a celebration at Kin beach, and to mark the passing of each group on to new things. (all celebration photos credited to Pieter Vorster of Pod Creative)
We then watched as the Roots children made their leap from preschool to Kindergarten, and enjoyed a potluck lunch together! It was a great end to our year! We look forward to seeing you in the fall!