Today was the fifth trip of our nature programme, where we take our oldest twelve children into Mairpark once a week. Despite all the rain (and thunder storms) that were forecast we had beautiful weather to go exploring in today. As usual we met our parents at the Banff street entrance of Mairpark and here we sang our ‘Morena’ song and welcomed our parent helpers Matt (Finn’s dad) and Holly (Shinayah’s mum). We also had another visitor today, Richard Storey, General Manager of the Northland Kindergarten Association who was spending the morning with us to experience first-hand our new programme.
After reiterating the few rules we have and setting up our home camp, we asked the children what they wanted to do first. With a unanimous decision, they decided they wanted to go to the bridge and play ‘pooh sticks’. Several children and even Zair had never played this before so the children that were with us last week explained how to play, and after collecting sticks we were off. We observed several differences in the water as we looked down from the bridge. The children noticed how the river was running slower today – our sticks were taking longer to appear . “Was this because of last weeks rain” they considered? They also observed how last week several rocks were stopping the sticks in their path down the river, but this week the rocks were under the water. Why was this we wondered, when there had been less rain? All fantastic questions which really opened up our thinking and discussions.
Richard demonstrated how to weave palms which could protect us from the sun on a hot day and provide shelter.
After morning tea at the ‘magic tree’ lots of the children went rock climbing up the bank, while others had a go at painting. We initially started painting with the water colour paints, but then added some of the natural mud we were surrounded with to our brushes, and added this to our pictures. A great way to be creative with nature.
After a while we headed back over the bridge – stopping for another quick game of ‘pooh sticks’ – to the muddy patch we discovered last week. Once again the children discovered that although it was still muddy, it was a lot dryer than last week. How great for children to revisit familiar areas and notice the changes that occur due to weather - and as this programme continues – the seasons.
The morning was passing really quickly so we decided to show Richard our ‘singing log’, where we enjoyed a few renditions of ‘yellow speckled frogs’ and ‘yellow submarine’. Then off we went up ‘rocky mountain’ and doubled backed on ourselves to the river where we threw some bread Brearna had brought for the ducks to eat. It was then time to head back to home camp for lunch and a few games before home time.
We really have had a great time exploring today and through our shared enjoyment I hope we are all developing a further appreciation for our local surroundings and the natural world around us.