This was QUITE the day. It started out completely different then Tuesday. Half of them were crying and Julian even needed to leave and then come to Lake Lagunitas later with his Mom. Ariel, Everett, and Thea were easy going but the rest, well, they were struggling. Jai was convinced the children wanted to harm him. Hana was drawn within and mostly just played with Ariel. Nico was basically fine but at the beginning of the day cried and cried for Mom, which seemed more like a reaction to others crying. Theron was basically fine yet a bit fiesty and easily ready to fight/defend himself against? Julian was basically settled by the time he got here yet reserved far more then usual and Velia, actually Velia was pretty easy going. So, I gave out a big amount of love, play and behavioral boundaries with hugging, supporting and drawing interest to the wonders all around us as opposed to focusing too heavily on the inner emotional rumblings of some of them. Inspite and in the midst of all of this the day was FILLED with a great deal of fun. The natural world flooded us with treasures and it began as soon as we got out of the bus.
Thea saw the scat that was near by that did not look like domesticated dog poop. We studied and studied it: the shape, colors and contents via our eyes. We asked a lot of great questions to help us with our clue gathering. Then, off we went to play and then circle and snack.
Today was the day we celebrated Everett’s birthday . He presented himself a bit quietly during the Birthday story and songs to him yet, he also had a joyful smile and showed delight with being celebrated and given his Tender Tracks gift. His snack was WELL received and completely eaten up!!! Thank you Everett and Mom!!! And, since it was his birthday he got to choose our adventure. He pointed to the North towards, the other Lake, and off we went. He had us check out a variety of options and then the group suggested we go the way we have gone before. But oh yes, before hand there was playing with the creek and on the laying down tree where we chose to begin our day. We/Everett, chose to begin our day in this particular spot as the usual place that he likes was taken over by a very large group. Now, back to our adventure. They all decided that they wanted to explore the, I don’t know what to call it, the water level equipment and driving wheels that were at the base of the lake. On our way there we found a small Newt that was walking across the dry ground. We watched it for a long time and then discovered how it’s tail and feet, made great tracks!!! We followed not only this little characters tracks but then we found a lot more and then began to make and follow our own! This continued throughout the day.
When we got to the metal wheels and locks on the contraptions there were great questions and deep noticing of what was all around us. What do all these things do? How come there are stairs below the grates that we were standing on? Where do those poles go to? Questions and questions with in depth exploration to try and find some answers. I went down on a very steep part that Theron was very concerned about. He did not want me to fall into the water. Yeah for support!!! Of course, my intention was to role model many things, one being exploration. And, it worked. Hana in particular came down, found a ledge to sit on next to the water and NOT fall in. She was delighted with this whole process. And during this we discovered an abandoned mud nest. We went to see, after exploring it a bit, if there was one on the other side but alas, it had no over hang. What it did have over there though were lot’s of holes. After our discovery of the snake partly in a hole we have been noticing LOT’S of holes and wondering what could be in them. There was some fishing line too and that, later on, was explored a lot as well.
I was curious about something so I ran off to check it out and Julian, Everett, Theron, Thea, Jai and Nico came with me, bit by bit, while Velia, Hana and Ariel stayed with Linsey. While the rest of us were playing with a big tube that went down to the water and making tracks we heard them yelling something at us. They were yelling “OTTERS, OTTERS!!!!” We turned to the water and, THERE WERE FOUR LARGE OTTERS swimming and diving about. We watched, sat still, then followed them further and further and further down the lake sitting every now and again then getting up to follow them again. They were delightful, playful, splashy and intriguing. We then discovered birds flying into and off of the water. I became curious if it were possible for us to walk around the lake on the other side to get to what Julian thought was a cabin. It appeared that we would need most of a day to do so, if it was even possible. We finally made our way back to discover that the girls and Linsey were exploring that Fishing line thread in many interesting ways.
It was then time to go back because I wanted to introduce them to Map Making. This is a traditional way of doing whats called “story of the day.” You get out a large piece of paper and share all the things you remember experiencing and seeing during the day and putting them on the map, where you think they would go. Well, four/five year old maps arent’ what older children and adults would do but it is more about playfully remembering what we experienced during the day. They seemed to LOVE this. And Nico said, “Can I scribble?”
Even though there were emotional wobbles the overall arc of the day was beautiful and enlivening with Earth and Sky giving us treasures in every moment.
Below: the California Newt we saw crawling on the dry ground; It’s tail drag feet tracks, ; the scat that we saw