Just to be alive
On this fresh morning
In this broken world.”
~ Mary Oliver
I'll also include some ideas for what to spot outside this time of year, and some crafty/maker ideas. Feel free to play along and send photos of your creations to email@example.com.
Routine #1: the sit spot.
This often takes adults by surprise. The sit spot is quiet, introspective, calm, un-moving. Not always how we picture young children.
Here is the recipe for our sit spot routine: find a place in nature where you can sit for several minutes and open your senses. We give the guidance that this is not a climbing or a building time, or time to make silly faces at your friends time, but an opening your ears and eyes and noses and feelings and thoughts time. Some children choose to use a nature journal to record things; others just take it all in.
Sometimes we will have a story that leads in to a sit spot time. The Quiet Place by Douglas Wood is one great example. But most often, we will either sing a song to start it, or put down our "veil of silence", lifting our hands up to the sky, then lowering a pretend veil or curtain as we count backwards from 10 to 0. When we get to zero, everyone is quiet and finding their spot to sit.
Then we wait. Like a turtle, or moss growing on bark, or like us, quiet and still.
The sit spot encourages us to really get to know a piece of land. To notice the little things around us: the movement of wind, the call of a bird, the colour of the light through the trees, the buds or leaves or bare branches, the feelings that are inside of us today. It allows us to sit with ourselves and with the land, cultivating closeness to both.
Explore: make a sound map.
Create: make a map of Huron Natural Area.
- what special memories do you have of forest school?
- what is your favourite spot to visit?
- can you remember where there is water? where there is a favourite tree? Where there are meadows and creeks?
- have you spotted any creatures at HNA? If so, put them on your map where you saw them.
- do you remember any edible plants from HNA? If so, put the location of that plant on the map too.
This week, outdoors:
- Get outside early-ish in the morning and listen for birdsong. Which birds can you identify by their song? Cornell Lab's All About Birds is a great place to start for bird song ID. You could add these birds to your sound map.
- Robins have returned - have you seen one yet? Count the number that you see each day and keep track of it in your nature journal.
- Go for a walk or look around your neighbourhood. Can you see a nest in a tree that has been used by a creature? What kind of creature do you think used it? If you would make a nest, what would you use?