When our adventurers come to us that first week of each term, we are a group of individuals.  Each bringing their own unique set of skills and interests, experiences and excitements.  Each week, as we come together and experience the same natural materials, work with the same tools, and practice similar skills, we begin to become a class.  Experienced students, who have attended our programs before help spark excitement in the new students at returning to favourite spots and engaging in favourite activities. While the new students, provide new ideas and fresh perspectives on how to play differently with different environments and tools.  Before long, friendships form through shared interests, helping one another with challenges and hearing one another’s ideas.  Games and common themes present themselves and before long, almost without realizing it, we have become a class.

At the cedar trees, returning children quickly climb to their favourite branch.  The new adventurer’s will look with admiration and wonder asking “How did they do that?” or “Do you see where they are!?”.  They begin to climb along the lower branches, working with balance and strength.  More experienced climbers are often eager to show the best hand holds and offer encouragement from beside or even above.  Each branch higher represents growth of confidence and ability but also a growth in friendship as the children begin to trust the strength of the tree, the gentle support of their teacher and the experienced advice of their peers.

When the ropes come out, it isn’t long before they are spread amongst the group.  The games of former classes return as some remember favoured times in the program.  New children watch and gain inspiration to begin to experience working with ropes.    Knots can be tricky and often young children can find them intimidating.  A game of “pass the knot” helps to introduce the material for those hesitant to try.  For this game, one person (usually the one more experienced with knots) ties a simple knot.  They then pass it to the next person and they try to untie the knot.  After doing so and seeing how it came apart, they can try to tie a knot and the next person can try to untie it.  This can get passed back and forth as the children gain experience working with ropes and tying knots.  Before long, they are making pulleys and traps, playing tug-o-war and hanging swings.  Anything can be done with some rope and a few good knots.

At the beach we come to learn about one another: chatting about favourite foods and those foods we would rather stay away from.  The tools must be shared so this is an excellent place for developing social skills and emotional awareness.   At times, there appears a common goal that can only be accomplished through cooperation.  This term, the children came together many times to move large rocks around the beach and dig streams, or “pipes” deep into the sand.   We share ideas and work together, celebrating together when we have achieved our goals.

At Out and About Adventures, we value each child as a curious, and capable individual.  We provide tools with endless possibilities for creating and for fine and gross motor development.  Together, we whittled and hammered our imaginations into reality.

This season, we were granted access by the Cedar Cottage Food Network to help out at their new Medicine Wheel garden project in the park.  We are overjoyed and full of gratitude to be able to help with such a wonderful project that aims to raise awareness and create space for traditional, first nations medicine plants in the city.  We took some time this term to prepare the new garden for the winter season.  Together, we gathered bags full of leaves from the surrounding area, looking for different colours to add the most amount of nutrients and covered the soil between the plants.  Over winter, the leaves will help to protect the soil and provide much needed nutrients to be used by the plants when spring arrives.

We have had a lovely year and the classes of fall 2017 has come to an end.  We are looking forward to the return of familiar faces and meeting new adventurers this coming winter to form a new class for a new term!  Happy holidays!