Morning Ant-ics!

We began the morning with some “ant-tics” —- seeing ant piles, counting how many, curious what happens if we poke them. Children noticed that the ants exited the hole when provoked. They quickly made the connections that it was the ants’ home. They hypothesized that the ants were either angry or going out to try to fix their home! Will brought over new dirt for the ants to use to repair.

In the woods, we stopped at site above Root World first. We visited our favorite mud kitchen site. Mabry’s interest in holly berries continued. Today she collected them for making ice cream for birds.

As usual the children gravitate toward climbing on downed trees. The children love to pretend that downed trees are vehicles. The Educators both noticed that the children are doing big and important work on learning how to navigate shared space on these vehicle trees. Eden showed new and inventive climbing skills on the trees, using her hands and feet creatively and other children mimicked her to experiment with their own bodies.

Our Forest-Helper today, Graham, discovered an interesting spider. Although privately she expressed her own dislike of spiders to the other adults, it was helpful to the children that she encouraged them to explore it further. All the children liked it but especially Will! He wanted to touch it, hold it on a stick, and watch as it created silk to anchor itself to the stick.

Felix: Found “helicopters” and wanted to play with them.  His interest caught Mabry’s attention and she became curious about what they were. Felix didn’t call them seeds, but knew to plant them. When asked by Amy what he was doing, he told her he was planting them. She asked if he knew what they were, and he said they would grow into plants! Mabry joined in this activity, and thus learned about plant life cycles from Felix. The recognizable “lesson” in this is simple and straightforward from our adult vantage point but think about the magic of piecing this together as a child, or learning it from a fellow child! Social Learning Theory helps us explain why such a peer lesson is more valuable and typically has more longevity than an adult-directed lesson on an adult-directed timeline. Tying learning to an inherently joyful and reinforcing experience with peers is powerful.

Today we came back a different way at the end and got to look for the ducks and the chickens in the garden.  Kids liked pretending to move like ducks or chickens as we went back to Ayeli. The beauty of an unstructured program is being able to follow the children’s lead and start lunch a little late because we got caught up moving like ducks! It’s a joy to quack with each of these children.