We make a point of going outside every morning, but it is usually for 30-45 minutes or so. This time I was determined to stay out for most of the morning, with little to no agenda, to just see what happened.
It was fun!
We went on a ‘hike’ to collect acorns. At least that is what I suggested at first. It gave us purpose, and gave us a reason to bring along baskets for our treasures.
The children were in high spirits as we sang “A hiking we will go” – my take on “A hunting we will go”! We found a few different types of acorns. Spotted some beautiful flowers. Saw a cow hiding behind a tree looking very odd indeed (the children were thrilled t o realise it was in fact a calf feeding from it’s mother)
We collected rocks and bark. We got an electric shock from a fence we didn’t realise was electrified. Oooops! And then when a sudden rain shower started we ran back to the Studio.
The children lay on the rug and looked through their treasures. They had decided to collect the bark so that they could make a princess castle, but after trying to build that they decided to use the bark to cut more bark. Yes it made a big mess but I decided to let them just go for it. It could all be cleaned up later (and yes letting go was hard for me).
They played at spelling out letters using acorns and then guessing the letters. The forms were not related to our alphabet, but they were showing an awareness of form and having such fun naming letters.
My conclusion? Well, I am very thankful that we have access to a safe and beautiful environment for the children to explore. I am also pleased that I pushed myself out of my comfort zone. I really want to be able to hold entire mornings in the forest so I need to work out just how that would work. So far so good and we will definitely just stay outside through the rain shower next time!
I am not sure how many of you read the comments in these posts, but a few days ago a teacher wrote asking for advice;
” My own school has only a blacktop parking loy for play. The bird feeders that we have enjoyed so much have been removed because the church where the school is located didn’t like the “mess” the birds made. I teach a 1st/2nd grade combined class. This is my first year teaching and I am trying to create a Reggio-inspired classroom. Any advise on how to “teach” the essentials while still keeping true to Reggio.”
As I said before, although I am a city girl, I have only been teaching in rural areas in these past few years so I can’t really help out that much here. Do any of you work in a school like Jacqueline? What is your approach?