Fall Classes

Fall 2019 REGISTRATION 

Registration is open for Fall Classes! Classes will run from September 18th – December 7th.  Click here for more information and to sign up! As always, contact me with any questions – I am always happy to accommodate anyone who wants to participate!

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Photo by Hyejin Kim

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The free play movement has been great. The staunchest of critics can see that a 2 year old’s play allows her to explore emotions, roles and experiences in which she is not quite ready to engage. It’s easy and joyful and important. We are just starting to remember that this is true for our 4-7 year olds too. But on Friday, with these 10 and 11 year olds, I sat back and watched them play. Truth: I almost cried, like more than once. They were practicing all sorts of complicated and challenging skills in their games (wolf family) and adventures (climbing trees, building a bamboo pole vault thingie). What I saw most is how they got themselves involved in stories and situations that allowed them to practice kindness, respect and encouragement with each other. They were doing it on purpose, practicing being good people and, in turn, just being good people. It has been an unexpected joy to see how free forest play creates a unique space that gently encourages kids to cooperate, to empathize, to listen, to help. Big kids need play too, maybe now more than ever.

Poetry Unit Begins…

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This is our 9-10 year old class, Nature Writing and Plant Study. In this picture, I can’t tell if the the sun is lighting the girls or if the girls are lighting the sun. That’s how I feel about them most of the time. They are thoughtful and funny and kind. They are trying the interpret the language of the woods every week and every week I am amazed at the sight and intuition in their writings. We have been studying and making poems for a couple of weeks now. We asked them to pick a plant with which they felt a connection. After the wrote them, they chose to sing them. Out loud. Together. I KNOW! Amazing. Here is one for you to enjoy!

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My loved plant, I love the way you sparkle in the sun. You are a fan of beautiful scents. The delicate little hairs on your arms. I know it is a forbidden love, a plant and a flower, but I can’t help it. Meet me at the lake at midnight. Sincerely, Billy Bob Joe

 

 

 

 

 

 

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We made plant paintings at Wonder Walks yesterday. Goldenrod, pigeon grapes and muscadines, fern leaves, kudzu, black walnut ink (made by my wonderful co-leader, Katelynn Dillard 😊), red clay, sand, charred campfire wood, fungus. It was easy and beautiful and got their hands in the earth. We will do this again and often!

We’ve abandoned our old “main camp” this semester. We realized that although our numbers felt small, we had affected the landscape in a significant way. In the area we lovingly laid our blankets and babies, the mosses and ferns were eventually cleared, the ground flattened and then smoothed into dusty dirt. Newly treaded shortcuts became well used paths, wider and worn. And of course our beloved little Dirt Mountain, which had been used as a treacherous slide, a climbing wall, a hiding spot for secret clubs and a home base, looked very different than when we first arrived. It had patiently helped our kids to learn that they were stronger and braver than they (or I) thought. But today, it is plant-bare, except for the roots of the giant trees that the eroded soil has exposed. A few months ago one of those giant trees fell down. As they conquered the newly minted balance beam, we started wondering if our little spot needed a rest, time to reroot and regrow. The evidence of our impact was all around us. We are grateful to that place and will check in on its restoration. It was a good lesson for all of us and I couldn’t help but hope that these children would remember that just because they can, doesn’t mean they should. That they don’t have to use all of a thing, just because it is there to take. That they can care for a place, as the place has cared for them. Here are some Wonder Walkers today, at Forest School, forging a new path.

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