The last two weeks of summer were our busiest of all! We finished off the season strong with two “exploration” camps, one offered at each of our locations. The first of these camps took place at Cole Harbour Heritage Park and boy did we really explore that park! We set up a new “base camp” somewhere new in the park every day, sometimes even switching our location halfway through the day to get the most out of this beautiful location.
This day was the most exciting of all; though I wouldn’t say a favourite. On the first day of camp the class learned early on in the day that sometimes playing in nature means you’re entering other creatures homes and not all creatures are okay with that. On this day all it took was one unhappy bumblebee to make its way through camp, making it very clear it was did not want us there. After aiding to several stings and relocating to a new location, that basecamp was not returned to this week and got the new nickname “Camp Bumblebee.”
Though our venture through the park was involuntary, we discovered a lovely new area with lots of room for hammocks and games to play, or read books – we will definitely be returning in the future.
Day two was our beach day! The students enjoyed “making” crab apple soup, building traps and searching for all the creatures of the ocean. We even found a nice little spot nearby to hang out hammocks in with a view of the water. It was a beautiful and windy quiet time.
Did someone day thunder? Unfortunately sometimes it’s just not safe to play in the forest. On days with severe risk of thunder and lightning, extremely high temperatures or very gusty winds, we cancel for the safety of everyone. We must teach in risk assessment while playing, noting the need to check in with the environment around us and our bodies. [ between you and me, I heard many of the students enjoyed their day of screen time and movie marathons , no harm in a little balance , we will see them again on Thursday 🙂 ]
We begun our day at the park map, like we do every morning, take the time to indicate to them them on the map everywhere we have been and everywhere we could still go. We took a group vote on whether they would like to go to one of the three locations we’ve already explored, or somewhere new. They UNANIMOUSLY all voted to go to a new spot. So off we went, to adventure on a new path!
We found two locations to spend our day in on the same trail, just tucked into the woods. The first location had an abundance of slugs and lots of room for tug-of-war competitions. We stayed here until after hammock time, leaving everyone lots of time for exploration and imagination.
Our second location allowed for forest play farther off the trail with lots of sticks to use in their games. A bonus field nearby allowed for the group to split off for some games while a smaller group could practice their whittling skills.
Again we started our day at the park map, and yet again when given the choice to go to one of our previously explored camps of somewhere new, they unanimously voted to checkout somewhere new. This time they agreed we should make the trek to the look-off. They couldn’t have chosen a more perfect location to end off the week, a new favourite all around. This site gave access to the ocean, the forest and a river – with a little bench to hold our water bottles, to ensure everyone’s staying hydrated.
Once at the site the students spent the day building forts, throwing rocks, finding toads and finishing off their bow and arrows they begun to whittle. After hammock time, before we had to get ready for the long walk back to end our week, we took part in foraging Friday. Each student was given a cup and and introduction to foraging; we focus on both importance to only put something in your mouth if you know exactly what it is and to always leave food for the forest. We took a walk down a nearby trail, picking out berries, leaves and twigs that they could add to their cups for their forest tea. The collection of the ingredients is always more fun then the actual consumption – no surprise the bitter taste that can come from some of the plants aren’t the children’s favourite … cup of tea 😉 now to just chew on a couple winter green leaves to get that bitterness out of your mouth on the walk back and savor the last moments of forest school.
Until next time you wild children !