Well, we've started with the first very wet and blustery days. It always feels like an adventure to be outside in such weather, and I'm so grateful for our routine that allows us to experience being outside in all that the seasons have to offer. Thank you everyone for sending appropriate layers and rain gear. In wet weather like this please make sure that your child at least starts out with rain pants or a waterproof layer on their legs too. We spend a lot of time sitting outside on the ground in all weather.
We've had a lot of fun talking about spiders. We've read some really lovely books about spiders. We've been playing spiders in the big web in the play yard. We've talked a lot this week about shapes and designs as related to spider webs. We practiced making our own web designs both in string and by drawing with sticks on the ground. We also did some fun games working together to build webs, once by passing a string back and forth until every person in our circle had anchored an edge. We used a heavy rope to makes shapes together, including a circle that supported us all as we held on and leaned back all at the same time.
Next week we will begin focusing on the glorious autumn foliage as it falls down around us. We will start with leaves, and spend most of the next month or so talking about trees in various ways.
We've seen some real progress this week at morning circle especially in doing head to toes check ins and sharing about our feelings. We do a practice every morning where we check in with our bodies and minds and hearts and practice articulating the feelings that we find and listening to others as they share their feelings. This is hard work for young children and requires focus and listening and control over our bodies to stay present. This daily work leads to increased emotional intelligence and a better ability to communicate and empathize. It also leads to group bonding and a deeper knowledge of each other. It is nice to see how hard the children are working at this and the increased ability to speak and listen that we have seen already since the beginning of the year.
We had a visitor this week, another forest school teacher from Indiana. It was a pleasure to talk with her and to get some perspective on how lucky we are to have this school and the resource of Mt Tabor and the community and values that we live with here every day in Portland. She, as many others have done, commented on how happy and peaceful and free the children are outdoors at our school especially in comparison to many other indoor programs. As always I feel lucky to be a part of it.