Rabbits, 4 Oct
“Every leaf speaks bliss to me, fluttering from the autumn tree.”
— Emily Brontë
Fall, oh how you make for such unbridled joy!
Our rabbits class took such pleasure in the leaves of the Fall today. We had role playing, group cooperation and coordination, and leadership dynamics at play as our class saw the possibility in collecting the Fall leaves to make a huge pile to play in. They gave themselves roles as security guards, leaf collectors, etc. and they demonstrated exceptional cooperation as they coordinated their efforts to achieve shared goals. We enjoyed seeing how they organised themselves organically without teacher guidance, and managed to accommodate everyone's desires.
Last week Lloyd told us he loves to throw big piles of leaves in the air in the Fall, this inspired the class to share similar cherished experiences of Fall. Seeing the interest we brought big bags to see if they would choose to use them for leaves this week and of course they did! You likely saw results of their work as your child hid for you in the leaves to surprise you at the end of class. :-)
We have been thoroughly enjoying the social dynamics of the group as we see growth in each child... some children that previously were interested in battle play or independent play are engaging in rich imaginative role-playing in collaborative play. Some children that were previously playing along with big groups are forming intimate partnerships and shared projects. We are seeing modelling behaviour with peers teaching each other skills they are proficient in and children who previously jostled for control of play are leading and following in equal measure.
It is so rewarding seeing this growth. The unique dynamics of our group and the curation of their play, which we have been very mindful of, has helped these shifts occur. Balancing structured and unstructured activities with intention has helped keep interest high and the culture of our class very positive and rewarding for all. Whether it be bringing equipment for a game we know a certain child has an interest in and allowing them to lead it, or making extra space for relationships to develop when the opportunity arises, engaging in one-on-one conversations to listen to each child's thoughts and feelings or taking our class to novel spaces, or providing challenges at the edge of a child's familiarity but in-tune with their interest... the attentive observer gets to know each child and is privileged to create opportunities that may help them grow. This is the joy of forest school!