Thursday, September 4, 2014

Outdoor School

By Donna Klockars 

Just because it is summer doesn’t mean Melanie and I have forgotten about “Growing up to Read”.  We just moved outside...we moved our learning, our exploring, and discovering out the door and into the sunshine.  We start the morning with “Who wants to go to Outdoor School?” and head out to discover nature’s gifts and treasures that appear at every turn of the path.

A list of learning aids is not needed for this school time.  We have our eyes, nose, fingers, and toes to provide all sorts of important clues as to what is happening all around us.  We try to be aware of every natural object in front, beside, under and above us. 
We felt the soft summer breeze and smelled the tiny strawberries hiding in the grass. Crumbling white birch bark held our attention for a long time.

Once we were zoned in to the treasures all around us, it was a matter of deciding which of the fascinating earthy wonders would make it into our treasure bags.  Smooth stones, pine cones of all shapes and sizes, mushrooms, feathers, and yes, even deer poop were gathered.  Problem solving came up when we decided we needed to cross the creek.  Hmm how about that scooped out cedar tree bridge? Three year old Arianna didn’t blink an eye when she saw that everyone was there to encourage and help her up the steep nature designed bridge.

After scrambling up the slippery hollowed out old cedar we reached the other side of the creek to find a meadow with tall grass all flattened.  When we saw fresh deer poop close by, we decided that several deer had spent a relaxing evening on a soft bed of grass and wild strawberry plants. Ethan wondered if the deer liked the big moon that was out last night?
But nothing prepared us for our next discovery!  A construction so beautiful, we stood in awe.
There were two parts to the structure, an entrance that was in the shape of a triangle, and a big room with a grass roof.  We walked a little further and discovered a fence made from cedar branches.

We all agreed that whoever made this epic wooden palace had chosen a beautiful site.  The creek was thundering passed and providing a dramatic sound as well as natural cooling. Everyone had a theory about how it was made and why it was so well hidden.  Pirates?  Big Foot? Forest Fairies?
But the most important thing we learned from the wooden palace was that we could build a fort almost as good as the one by the creek if we set our minds to it.
Here  is a pictures of our outdoor school work. Well, it really wasn’t work...more like awesome fun!

Making forts and learning about learning outside is going to be all about for the next whole week.  We will let you know how it goes.
Until then we will be busy  “Learning and Loving it” because we are learning and playing outside.

Donna, Melanie and kids

P.S. We sang a song called “I Love to go a Wandering Along the Mountain Path” but we didn’t know all the words.
P.S.S. When we got home we decided one of our forts needed chairs for shorter people.

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