Rabbits, January 31st
The bike track has become our go to spot over the last couple weeks. The magic of the new snow was not lost on this group of forest schoolers. As we came to the bike track not only did we notice that it was covered in a thick blanket of snow (some areas still untouched), but that there had been some new additions. Some loose parts left by the BMX'ers like wooden pallets and stairs were assembled into a bridge over one of the pits. This drew everyone's interest and inspired their imaginations immediately. An installation of pompoms was also found. We gathered to make a plan for the day and to assemble our thoughts as a group. It was decided that free play was almost a necessity to explore and fully engage in the winter wonderland. Sometimes as teachers, it is our job to step back and give the kids the autonomy and creativity to fully embrace a space. Some of the Rabbits went deep into an imaginative game around the bridge. They built onto the bridge. They used their listening and advocating skills to work out the game and their different roles as they gracefully incorporated ropes, sticks and other materials brought to them by other students and the teachers. While the imagination game occupied the interest of about half of the Rabbits, the other half went about climbing trees, making fire poles to attempt to slide down, tracking the whole bike track to find prints in the snow and mapping out who or what may have been there before us.
This group could hold their own in the forest with no problem, but we had a surprise for the kids. We were heading to the rope climb that some of them knew from previous years and was brand new to others. We hiked as a synchronized group to the rope climb. The excitement was 100%. We scrambled to the bottom of the rope. It proved to be much more challenging than remembered by the kids or imagined. Every Rabbit was pushed physically and emotionally to get to the top. Perhaps ask your Rabbit if they decided to wait to use the rope or if they chose to scramble up the sides. During the climb we witnessed how amazing this group is. The ones that had made it up quicker than others were shouting encouragements to the ones still climbing. Advice was given as to the best pathways for the ascent. Hands were outstretched to help one another. We found spots to sit at the top. It is a small space and they had to negotiate with each other to find stable ground to take a breath, decompress and share their thoughts over a snack. We looked out at the city sky line and talked about what challenged us, what scared us and what made us feel triumphant. Not even prompted by the teachers the Rabbits singled out Theo and Irvin as being of great help and thanked them for their encouragement and advice.
Now it was time for the fun part....Sliding down! Everyone had their own style and everyone had a huge smile as they descended.
After the big climb we frolicked at the bottom. New climbs were attempted and new slides were made as some chose to rest in the snow. Once packed up and ready to go, the Rabbits entirely prompted by themselves chose to take a moment to meditate in silence.
Rejuvenated we headed back, with a little stop at the fairy house and lots of debriefing about the climb.