It's been good to get deep into winter at Fiddleheads this month, and studying and playing hibernation have felt very appropriate. It has been dark, rainy and windy many days this month. Being outside for 3-4 hours a day in this weather definitely brings up stuff for people. It can be a challenge. I make sure that everyone has lots of warm, dry clothes on, but that in itself is uncomfortable for some children. Gloves and mittens limit your movement, but then your hands get cold without them. It seems simple, but it’s this kind of situation that can be so challenging to deal with when you are 3 or 4 years old and live your life almost completely in the present moment. How to deal with discomfort? Also the woods are dark, the trees are bare, the wind blows in the branches and the rain spatters down. It makes us feel buffeted and insecure. This is winter. It’s good work for me as a teacher to lead children into and through this dark season and to notice what comes up and spark and find joy in days like this. Jumping and singing together to stay comfortable in the rain is warm broth for the soul. We’ve been doing extra exploring on the trails to keep everyone moving and engaged. Sometimes the darkest days can lead to the best new adventures and a true feeling of triumph. Winter gives us work to do and we are doing it!
We will begin studying migration this week. We will stretch our imaginations as we learn about the world as experienced by birds who travel so far and so free.
We had a nice short week last week getting back into the routine. We have been and will continue this week in exploring ice and water every morning, singing winter songs, reading stories about hibernation and animals in winter, playing pretend hibernation games and guided imagery in the forest, and making crafts around winter, ice, and snow. Last week we were lucky enough to witness flocks of geese over the park, a coopers hawk flying by, and to enjoy a beautiful, fragrant winter flowering shrub in our play area.
We have several friends at school changing schedules, adding days or switching things around, so as we start this 2nd half of the year we will have a chance to explore new social arrangements with our same peers, keeping things fresh and interesting as we deepen our connections and continue building friendships.
For those who haven't had a chance yet to meet him, we do have a new addition to Fiddleheads. Nimbus the giant black rabbit. Nim is a house bunny, and his former owners who also had several dogs, cats and a parrot, felt that he would appreciate more attention and freedom than he could get at their house, and they suspected that his unusually bold personality might make him a good fit for preschool. He is still getting used to his new home, but he has come out to play a couple of times during inside playtime and he has demonstrated himself curious, relaxed and unperturbed by noise, toys, dogs, children or much of anything. So welcome to Nim!
I hope that everyone has had a wonderful winter break and holiday season. I want to thank everyone for coming out for the winter spiral walk. It was so nice to have almost the whole school represented. I hope that it was a nice beginning to your holiday season and a reminder to enjoy the dark and quiet moments at this time of year. It was a ceremony in true darkness, but thank you to Jesse Narens who managed to capture this lovely photo below of the lighted spiral.
School begins again on Wednesday the 2nd. In January there is no school on Monday the 21st or Tues the 22nd for PPS days off.
We will be focusing on hibernation and migration and animal behaviors in winter. I expect lots of den preparing and migration play to be happening over the next month, so please feel free to encourage some cozy hibernation play at home.
A few things to look forward to: we will be having another full school potluck in February on the 15th at 12:30 pm. I will be scheduling parent teacher conferences for the 18th and 19th of February. And date tba, we will be planning an optional full school field trip to the Crystal Springs Rhododendron Gardens to get close and personal with the ducks as we transition from our hibernation/migration unit into our spring nesting unit.
A couple of business items: first January tuition is due before Jan 7th please, and I want to mention that in late January, early February I will start accepting enrollment for the 2019-20 school year. Priority will be given to returning students, so it’s never to early to let me know if you are planning on continuing your child at Fiddleheads next year. I will prepare 2019-20 enrollment contracts and will be accepting deposits to hold places. I will start holding open houses for prospective students in mid February. I am currently in the process of expanding my certification so that I can accept more students next year and offer afternoon care for a select number of students. I am hoping for next year to be able to have two classes of 8 students each, one class for younger 3 and 4 year olds, and another for older kids 4 turning 5 who will move on to primary school the next year. Each class will still have 2 adults per 8 children and we will continue to practice outdoor time and nature immersion as our primary focus.
Have a very happy beginning to 2019 and I look forward to seeing you all soon!