We officially say goodbye to November and are excited to see what December brings to Oak Ridge Nature School.
November moved fast. I don't know if it's because it was so much fun, or because we were so busy, but it came and went just like that.
November 2022, our sixth month open in the new location was full of learning, adventures, and seasonal changes.
The kids have become quite skilled in directing their own learning and interests. They seem to look to me less and less for guidance during play. Instead, they come to me with deep questions, impressive observations, and invitations to join in on their fun.
November has been a great month in teaching all of us flexibility and adaptability. We've had freezing cold days, unusually warm days, booming thunderstorms, and a fair amount of snow...all within 30 days.
What stands out most to me this month is how adaptable these kids are.
We went from sweaters and one pair of pants in October to thick mittens, multiple layers of clothing, and heavy boots in November.
They lost the use of their fingers very rapidly. Mittens eliminated the ability to touch the trees, feel the fuzzy moss, and gently pick up toads.
Large boots and thick socks made tree climbing a little more challenging. Wearing 3 pairs of varying thickness pants forced them to stretch their legs a little harder. Thick hats made them speak a little louder to better hear themselves and each other.
But they did it.
And they did it very well, with minimal complaints. They did it with lots of questions and a lot of trial and error. They quickly learned that snow is just too cold on fingers. They learned that wet feet and socks can give you a blister or really cold toes. They understand why we need the hats and hoods and snow goggles.
For information on what we wear, check out this post
This month, we welcomed a new teacher, Ms. Carolyn. She has graciously volunteered her Friday mornings to spend time playing and exploring with the children. We take long nature hikes, build dens in the woods, and climb new trees and boulders together. Ms. Carolyn is a student at a local college, majoring in environmental studies. She volunteers her time at a local middle school and spent the summer working with a local folk school's summer kid's camp. We are very happy to have her here with us at Oak Ridge Nature School.
We also started to make some changes to our backyard play area, now renamed "Home Base". This is where the children are dropped off and picked up each day. We've included more natural materials to the area, to give the kids more open ended choices. These materials include heavy logs, big branches, log slices, and various stumps to be used however the children decide.
Our month ended with a (finally) frozen pond that has been a popular stop along our hikes. The kids have used it to slide, sled, skate, and play pond hockey with an old toy tire and sticks. We smell it, some have tasted it, and we look as far into the frozen ice as we can, pointing out new discoveres trapped deep inside.
December, here we come!