Last Friday we began our nature programme for term 4. I have written previously about this programme, but for a brief recap this is where we take our 10 eldest children into the bush for nature education once a week. On Friday we had three new children starting the programme, a very exciting time for them as they have been eagerly awaiting the day that they would get to go to the special places that they have heard about from their friends at Kindergarten.
Friday was a beautiful sunny day, spring was very much in the air as we headed down into the bush. One of our first encounters was with the flowers of the ‘onion weed’. This very beautiful spring flower gets its name as its edible and smells just like onions - the meadow on Friday was very fragrant – we all had turns of smelling the flowers (even though we didn’t really need to get that close!).
For me the greatest pleasure of the nature programme is to watch one season turn into another as the rhythm of the year is played out before us. I love this quote by Charles Dickens as he sums up ‘seasons’ and the almost imperceptible change from one to another:
“Nature gives to every time and seasons some beauties of its own; and from morning to night, as from the cradle to the grave, it is but a succession of changes so gentle and easy that we can scarcely mark their progress”
A sense of wonderment
Experimenting and risk-taking
We explored many areas of Mair Park on Friday, the children who have been on the programme for a little while – our experts – were keen to show their new friends all their favourite places. As the morning progressed we visited the bank, the magic tree, punga hill (where we slid down on our bottoms) and played ‘pooh sticks’ over the bridge.
Mike (Ollie’s dad, one of our parent helpers for the day) took our ‘pooh sticks’ game very seriously!
“Nature introduces children to the idea – to the knowing – that they are not alone in the world, and that realities and dimensions exist alongside their own.” (Richard Louv, Last Child in the Woods, 2008)
Socialising over lunch
Respecting the environment
Here is a small slide show from the rest of our morning...
A very big thank you to both Sharon and Mike - our parent helpers on Friday - support from our whanau is invaluable to us and is what keeps this programme running and so successful.