Nature school in the time of covid

We’ve reached the end of the school year, and we’ve been silent for quite a while.  In the middle of March, we went to remote learning like most everyone else in the country.  We started off unsure what we felt good about offering, especially given the age of our students (3-9).  We realized that collectively all of us were going through a major life shift.   The children were experiencing all the same emotions we were whether they were able to articulate it or not, whether we recognized it or not.  When children are dealing with the kinds of emotions that come with major change, time in nature playing, engaging in an activity with no practical purpose, is what is best for children.  Spending time on a device seemed counter intuitive to us.

We decided to offer “suggested” activities knowing that it may not work out for families to use what we suggested, and we certainly didn’t want to add to the stress that everyone was feeling adapting to sheltering in place, working from home with children present.   We supported those activities with links to resources that would be needed and tried not to offer anything too complicated or that would require materials that may not be available in everyone’s homes.  

There was one aspect of using technology that appealed to us and that was using it for connection.  When we thought about what part of our program could be adapted to an online format, our morning circle time made the most sense.  When we met in person, our morning circle was a time to connect as a community, and there were repeated elements that would easily carry over to an online format that we thought might help children since they were familiar with them.  From this, morning zoom circle was born.  We carried on with our calendar cup, sang our morning song, did some mindfulness practices, read a book, and had a time for the children to share.  Each day we offered a nature wondering that we hoped would encourage the children to get out and explore and wonder!

Over time, we added other online activities that we could feel good about.  We added a Friday frolic opportunity for children to connect and play a game together.  We did read alouds.  We offered sing-alongs.  We also offered books that could be read online.  Mostly we hoped that children would get outside and play!

We will share some of our suggested activities here on the blog as a resource and/or inspiration.  We derive most of our inspiration from watching our students play so without that we looked to what we were drawn to when we spent time outside, and I also had my children to inspire me.  Many of our activities are very seasonal, but some could be done at any time of the year.  

We look forward to sharing these with you!

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