What a fantastic day we spent with the bugs group at our bush kindy site today.
The weather was perfect and the children spent the whole day engaged in the most amazing learning and discovery. The bush kindy experience provides children with such an authentic way to engage with nature and to challenge themselves. It allows for unequalled rich and varied exploration of self directed play experiences, and always impresses apon us the amazing skills that our children carry with in them.
To have the opportunity to watch children at play that is self chosen, self directed and such an intrinsic and natural thing for children, is an honour and privilege. It does come with the downfall that usually this type of play dissipates quickly once an adult tries to question or join in. Sometimes it is the best feeling in the world to be given the opportunity to be tolerated close to this type of play, to be trusted enough that the children allow you close enough to listen and observe for a while. Its often even harder to not break this trust, and to resist the temptation to try and insert yourself into the play verbally or physically. Sometimes, they continue to play and let you take a small peek into their amazing world of real play, but the second that invisible line is crossed or that invisible time is reached the play inevitably changes.
Today the creek was dry, but the lure of the old pipe and the challenge and fun it presents as a way to cross from one side to the other was no less.
As always, for those that need it there is time to sit and just be
To see the continual joy on the faces of the children as they explore the environment, find treasures – alive and dead, and are given the time and opportunity to discover new things is an awe inspiring thing to witness.
Pinecones, feathers, flowers and grasses are examined, explored and the amazement of how varied and different they can be is continual. The world of worms, spiders, millipedes and ants is a continual fascination for all the children.
We sometimes forget that children are seeing some things we take for granted for the first time . Today I was reminded of this, and stifled a laugh as one of the children ran yelling at the top of his lungs from a tree he had been attempting to climb “there is blood in the tree, there is blood in the tree” Together we went back to the tree and discovered the glistening and crystallised red sap that had oozed out from the jagged tree bark.
With the assurance that some tragedy had not occurred in the fork of the tree he proceeded to hoist himself up in to the branches to join his friend and her birds eye view of the world.
Our walk up the summer track was filled with discovery and wonder.
AS we wandered along the track, chatting and laughing, we looked at all the different grasses and flowers,
saw seed pods
and spiders webs,
extremely interesting leaves,
nature hard at work,
and broken birds eggs in the hollow of a tree.
More treasures were collected.
Sticks were used to write in the hard dirt track.
Children found secret paths off the main track and giggled as they met back up with us.
The giant fallen tree was climbed on and through and under, and provided a time and place for a rest, group photo,
and the place to turn back and head back ‘home”.
The rhythmical beat of Katies drum drew us all together to share our lunch and rest time under the dappled shade of the huge gum trees that fill our bush kindy site.
Its a totally different perspective to spend rest time outdoors. Watching the sky and tree canopies as you lie on your back, the gentle breezes brushing over you, and the rays of sunlight warming you. The sound of the birds filling the spaces between the relaxing words of a told story and the occasional whisper or giggle between friends.
The afternoon was spent climbing,
adding to cubbies,
searching for birds in the branches above,
running, flying kites and paper planes.
digging for worms,
using charcoal found from an old fire pit to draw on anything and everything – including themselves – The found pieces so precious they accompanied many of the children home.
A tree branch, which until today had sat barely noticed became a challenge of mighty proportions with a few of the children.
Problem solving, and amazing climbing skills were needed to conquer even the first few steps up this tree. It took persistence and practice, and eventually one of the girls mastered it enough to reach the first small branch and swing herself down from there.
Only one other child surpassed this feat. He thought it would be easy, but it took every ounce of persistence and determination until he finally managed to grab that same branch and haul himself right up into the tree, He sat there watching child and after child try to make it up there with him.
Children gathered to have a try, groups needed to discuss rules, and decide on ways to take turns. Some took run ups, some tried roughing the bark up with a stick, some piled a few rocks at the base to give themselves a start, they tried in shoes, in socks, in bare feet.
Every child that had a go seemed proud of their efforts.
A few children, had a try, and then moved on, happily accepting that they did not possess the skills required to master this tree. They found another near by that provided an alternative challenge for them to master.
Some children were content to hang in the low braches and watch the world go by.
Magnifying glasses are a great way to get up close and personal with everything in the environment and provide another perspective on the awe and wonder that surrounds us.
As the day drew to an end, we came together one last time under the shady trees. It was a wonderful end to the day to see so many parents to take the time to wander around and be shown special places and things that their children had discovered during the day before they took their tired children and headed home for a good nights sleep.
PS…in true Janice and Nic bush kindy/outdoor kindy tradition there had to be selfies – since Janice and Lee couldn’t be there today, these are for you. We missed you xxx
Written by Nic