Our fall session at Trout Lake has come to a close and with it, we say farewell to some very good friends. Farewell seems a proper word as the friendships we have built here will last much longer. The friendships between the children that were made and strengthened throughout the term are important, building confidence and social skills even when those friends lose touch. However, the friendships we have made and nurtured with the trees, with the mud, with the rain, worms and even with our own relationship to self will last a lifetime.
Our time under the cedars saw a lot of cooperative, imaginative and social play this term. Games of house emerged quickly, as did many relaxed conversations sitting in the cedar branches. Our adventurers challenged their bodies by climbing different ways, finding new places to sit. Or even strategizing how to move a big stump to help reach new climbing spots.
They learnt new skills through working with ropes, pulleys and knots and using vegetable peelers to whittle wood. These materials give children the ability to shape their environment in small ways to realize their goals and work cooperatively in play. Tying up an adult was always a popular endeavor among our groups this year.
Our role as facilitator is often about offering small and quiet observations. Modelling the joy that comes from having a well-established relationship and comfort with the natural world. Sometimes a simple fiddling act (creating something beautiful) can bring the group together and form new interest and ideas for play and bonding.
Our natural play spaces are changing all the time. Our adventurers this season witnessed cooling summer days turn to fall. They watched the leaves change a magnificent rainbow and then swirl to the ground. They watched dry, grassy fields turn into soggy marsh land filled with inviting puddles. They watched the world around them change, creating new opportunities for play.
The return of the rain was perhaps felt the most at the beach. The always moving and every changing water is an invitation to observe, interact, learn and experiment. In Vancouver, you certainly cannot beat the rain, so you might as well celebrate it!
Mud painting is a fun way to get artistic in a big and messy way! A second hand sheets, a few paintbrushes and a good muddy spot is all you need to bring leave-no-trace artwork into the outdoors.
Amazing things can happen when children are given the time and space to play and become friends with the natural world. We look forward to seeing what new opportunities the winter session with bring. Happy holidays!