Dec. 18. 2018
Waxing Moon
Lake Lagunitas

Well, another beautiful yet, holiday about to begin energy, day.  Yup, it was fun yet very loud and energized, at times.

It seems that our friends Nature Program will most likely be at Lake Lagunitas on the days we are there from now on and the children are enjoying this older bunch of kids very much!  From a healthy nature school perspective to have different age groups like this sharing space is the most natural, organic and healthy thing to happen. The co-mingling is superb.

Our day began quite late as we got up here late. By the time circle happened it was almost 11!!  No matter, the children were having such a fine time of it all morning.  They found mushrooms that were put on the table near our circle and they went to town playing with and exploring them. FYI, even poisonous mushrooms can be touched, and even those fingers put in your mouth. What they cannot do safely is be EATEN.  So I invite you to relax a bit around mushrooms and your children. And most importantly, if this information is unsettling please do some research. If I am wrong show me your source of info straight away. Thank you!:)

When we got to circle Theo did a fine Weather report and we all checked out the sky.  Then we sang and had our Birthday Story, songs for the birthday child, a gift for the birthday child and snack. Theo WAS this birthday child and, he did NOT like the snack that his family brought and did not eat a bit of it. Everyone else, however, wanted seconds and thirds.

After this belated circle the children got to work playing. I brought out cranberries to string and all the girls had such a good time doing this while Ruby finished the handles for their lanterns. The boys were having too much fun playing. They wanted to be near the other children below and were found there often. We asked the other group if they minded and let them know we were watching them. They had NO problem with this. Later on we played some games with them and went under the waterfall with them and laughed with them and, well just had a fine time of it.  We then went to lunch.  After lunch the children below showed us the meat they were cooking over the fire and we got ready to go on a little adventure to see how the weather was doing up above.

Some things we did throughout the day:
• In the bus first thing I had two hats with different items in them to feel, with out looking.  They got to guess what they were and then see what they were. One bag was pocky while the other a little rough and a little not.
• After lunch Theo, Holden and Eamon were the See no Evil, Speak no evil, Smell no evil monkeys. Each one were put in the position of the above and then their task was to smell, see and hear something. They took turns being with each one of  these senses.
• At the top of our hill on the walk way above, they all sat down and very quietly looked to see who was on the water and where it’s friend was. Then, they each drew straws and had a task to do on the way back to the bus. What they needed to find was their “bus ticket” to enter the bus. 🙂

Then a quiet singing of the song they associate with the Kalimba when I play it, Funga a Lafia and then I quietly played while they each shared something they loved from the day.

They went home with their cranberry strings and the Madrone berry necklaces and /or bracelets from a month ago. We let them really dry all this time.

 

Focus:

  • Learning that trees have a language all their own.
  • Learning that trees can be our friends, and can help us when we are sad.

This is a true story inspired by a three-year-old student I had in my Outdoor Preschool who was sad a LOT! I have seen this same thing happen many times since.

Recently, after telling this story to some three-and-a-half and four-year-old students, I thought each was going to find their own tree. When I turned around, all of them were hugging and snuggling up against a single tree. Since that time they have found trees wherever we are, and have gone to them when they feel the need. Hugging trees really works.

Playing with the story:

  • Adults: Demonstrate for the children playfulness and love for the trees.
  • Children: Find a tree in your yard and play with it. Look at it, smell it, touch it, listen to it. Bring it gifts.
  • Take a nature walk and discover what trees you want to be around. Go and hug them.
  • Have the children tell you a story about their favorite tree. Ask them how it got to be the way it is. Ask them its name and how it got that name. Write or record what the children tell you.

December 21, 2018
Winter Solstice
Waxing Moon (almost full!)
Deer Park

We had a misty, magical morning at Deer Park. The children helped carry all of the day’s important supplies from the bus, working in pairs and trios to carry crates and bags together. After settling in with a backpack spot and finding places for all of our gear, everyone was off to play. Some amongst the Redwood Fairy Rings and Miles, Blake, and Charlie went in the creek bed to climb the rocks to the other side. Violet found so many mushrooms of different sizes and colors and called out “mushroom! mushroom! MUSHROOM!” for all her friends to see her discoveries. Rohan turned into a Banana Slug, sometimes sleeping and sometimes dead. And Margot and Siena were Forest Princesses among the trees of their kingdom. Ruby and I finished the handles for the children’s lanterns they worked on last Friday.

At snack time, we shared a deliciously sweet treat of chocolate and raspberry cupcakes, made especially for us by Wendolyn. We also had some coconut nog which most children tried and some even liked. Ruby shared a story of gnomes and stones and brightly lit lanterns. After snack, we watched the wax melt on the camp stove and learned how to dip the candles for our lanterns. We had to dip into the wax, down and up, let the wax drip off and then dunk it in the cold water. The children marched from wax to water chanting the instructions of ‘dip, drip, dunk’ as their candles grew and grew with each new coat of wax. They were also fascinated by how the water in the jar made their candles look even bigger when viewed from underwater.

When the candles were big enough, Ruby and I set them in the lanterns with some wax to secure them. The children sang to invite the fire fairies and we lit each lantern. Our lanterns illuminated our journey as we explored the circles of Redwood trees and found a special treasure: the gnomes from our story with a mysterious rock tucked beside them! The children used hammers to crack open their rocks to find the sparkling crystals inside, and it was such a joyful discovery to share!

Grandpa Sun started peeking through the clouds and we were lucky again to have a sunshine lunch. As we ate, we chatted about our plans for the break and the many adventures and holiday fun we would have. Grandpa Sun kept warming us and the forest, and then we could hear all the birdsongs as they sang their appreciation for the bright, warm sun.

Ruby shared that her Mom lives very close to Deer Park and all the children got excited to gather some forest gifts to leave on her doorstep. We all found some lovely forest things; moss, lichen, branches, and leaves to bring on our walk. A beautiful offering was left on her doorstep as a solstice surprise for when she returned home.

Back at the Deer Park bridge, we turned into the fastest animals to run and retrieve our backpacks and treasures and all met at Juniper Rose for our cozy ride home. We had many gratitudes for the day and our picture was so full of wonderful things we saw and appreciated. Thank you all for a lovely 2018 and we are so excited to see you in 2019!