Tai and I were deep in building tall towers and making homes for small animals. When he asked if someday
"when we are both here" if we could take a trip to the secret forest. My response was immediate and positive. The conversation then shifted to what the forest might be like this time of year. We haven't visited it since late spring. Charlie who had joined our chat thought that there might be less new flowers. Ellliot was pretty sure we'd find a bear sleeping. The continued their explorations while I thought about a secret forest trip. Today would be a good day. The weather was beautiful and Tai and were "both here" So I made the suggestion. We cleaned up and began the process of heading to the forest.
Once we got to the playground I let the children direct themselves to the forest. Tai was sure " you had to go around the bleachers to the left while Ada thought you could go either way. Ella wasn't sure which way to go because " there were NOT Porta Potties last time" Charlie was confident you needed to stay really close to the fence and the it would just appear. They successfully led us to the forest.
Once there we took a tour. I reminded the children of my boundaries. We made sure there was no big trash or glass that was unsafe. Once we were all clear on the expectations and it was safe to do so they began exploring.
The majority of the kiddos where interesting in moving BIG sticks and logs. They were making piles and exclaiming " Look at this one Rachel" while holding a 7 foot long log over their heads like He-Man. In an effort to be constructive. I set up an invitation to make a lean to.
They quickly began taking their sticks and logs and leaning them against the stick. Each child found a part of this activity that they enjoyed. Ella really took pleasure in balancing the sticks against the log. While Elliot and Charlie enjoyed going into shoulder high weeds and pulling out the biggest sticks the could find.
Spending unstructured time in the forest is such a gift.
While participating in these activities the children engaged in several Vermont Early Learning Standards (VELS) including, but not limited to:
Domain 1 (Approaches to Learning), Elements 1 - 3 (Play and exploration, initiative, and problem solving)
Domain 3 (Science) Element 4. (Engineering Design)