Deepening our connections to place

While observation is always important in an emergent curriculum, it is especially apparent in the first couple weeks of a program. Children and adults are observing space, materials, one another, and themselves as they begin to build relationships in and with the forest. The forest too, observes. Just as the deer leave evidence of their use of a ground nest we built for snack time, we leave evidence of our presence and play. We are in conversation with the forest.

In our third week together, educators invited the children to consider place in their play. What do games and narratives look like if we play in ways that only the forest allows? What does the forest make possible in our our imaginations?

  1. Eden and Larkin observed a group of spiders under the bridge and, after counting them, spun a narrative about the family and each spider’s role.

  2. The story of Little Buddy (the frog) trapped in a log with needle ants resurfaced several times as a physical, logical, and emotional pursuit. The children showed an interest in drawing/writing, and Beck, Sammy, and Wendell worked to draw up and follow plans to save their froggy friend.

  3. Many times, the rocks of the forest have captured attention for their sparkly surfaces. We have rock collectors in Eden and Larkin! Charlie noticed that hitting one rock with another can manipulate shape to create tools.

  4. Kylie introduced the possibility of building fairy homes on Thursday. Charlie spent deliberate and detailed time with his constructions, while others popped in and out of that particular invitation.

  5. Of course, I cannot forget the dinosaur skull! The act of digging around roots produced this storyline of finding the fossils of a new species of dinosaur (name TBD)!

As we spend more time together in the forest, we notice the possibilities are endless, and we continue to look forward to all these moments and relationships in/with the the forest offer.