Climbing Challenges, in Community!

Our second week back was all about continuing to reestablish our routines, both old and new, and introducing new opportunities to play.  We began our day again at Ayeli, playing in the woods surrounding the porch. From there, we moved to Root World and played in some usual spots and new spots we are discovering.  During small group time, we found all new ways to play at an old spot just above Root World. And once we got back to Ayeli, we enjoyed our second shared lunch and continuing our routine of reflecting on our day and being grateful to the nature all around us!

At Root World, several children have discovered a “harder” place to climb that we only used a few times during the fall.  This area, which provides many tree limbs of differing heights and thicknesses, is an exciting way for the children to challenge their ever-increasing tree climbing abilities.  Sammy, Wendell and Felix are starting to seek out new spots on the trees that will be harder to climb to. Sammy tested several different approaches to getting to a seat on a new tree limb. He tried to approach it from several different angles, and although he didn’t succeed at getting where he wanted to be, he tested the limits of his climbing abilities multiple times and showed great persistence and problem solving abilities! Another interesting development arising from this becoming a popular climbing spot, is that many of the children are drawn to try climbing here.  Will, Ellie and Mabry also visited, as did Cristian and Maddux. Cristian, who has only had two chances to try climbing here, was determined to try and climb to new spots today. The other children, who had more experience climbing in the area, were able to coach him on where and how to try and start climbing. It was fun to watch the kids start to help one another in their endeavors.

During small groups, we moved up to our mud kitchen area just above Root World.  Although we have been to this spot before, the loose logs that exist there have not been used quite so extensively as they were today.  Children tried building a house out of them, discovered they needed more logs, and eagerly went to collect more. Eventually, some of the children who went to collect more became more excited by all the downed limbs that were on the site and began playing in this area that they referred to as a “junk yard”.  Others continued to build with the logs and eventually created a pretend fire!

The “junkyard” idea was a new one that really came to life and drew many kids! As Wendell, Sammy, Felix, Cristian and Maddux found limb parts to use for their rocket packs, others began to explore the junkyard like it was a jungle. August came crashing through the jungle, enjoying the sensation of breaking through the limbs and looking for places to climb.  Charlotte and Larkin dove deep into imaginative play, and became a mommy and a baby elephant. They played this game for the rest of Forest Kindergarten, finding places in the jungle to sleep, to talk sweetly to each other, and to find food! It is interesting to see how one type of play can inspire another!

The children got to practice our routine of reflection and saying thank you to nature at the end of our day. We’re working on introducing the concepts of ritual and symbolism by bringing out a candle to close each session. Since this was our second time with the routine, more children knew what to expect and tried it out on their own. We will continue this routine next week, and watch and see how children respond as it become integrated into the fabric of our Fridays at Earthsong!