Meanwhile, back at Stride….
The Kindergarten classes have been busy! We’ve been working on adding new, exciting elements to the Kindergarten outdoor play area. Here are some photos of what you can look forward to when we return in the fall!
A garden to gather in. We’ve been adding plants to support the pollinators; bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds. Find a quiet moment to relax, sit, and enjoy this space together. There is always something new to discover in the garden.
We have also installed a magnetic wall. Here, we play with water, balls, ramps, and anything thing else that sticks!
Welcome to the mud kitchen! Mix, pour, stir, and serve! You never know what creative offerings will be on the menu when child chefs are in this kitchen!
As the world reopens this summer and we look forward to returning to StrongStart in the fall, we invite you to come by the garden and say hello to the many flowering plants and bugs. We’re looking forward to being together again one day soon!
Our play at the Park has been about making new discoveries. Tsleil-Waututh, Squamish, and Musqueam lands are vast and we are honoured to have the freedom to explore and learn together with them!
Sometimes, we discover interesting forest folk and say a gentle “hello”.
We find new ways to play together with trees,
Sunshine and shadows,
And even the mud (otherwise known as clay).
We’ve discovered rainbows we can play with,
and water hiding in the city infrastructure.
Best of all, we have re-discovered each other and look forward to learning more together in the days to come!
A blanket to hold,
A story, told.
A recipe for developing motor skills, math concepts, learning surprises, creating stories, and more!:
2 cups flour
1 cup salt
2 tablespoons Cream of Tartar*
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 cups boiling hot water
food colouring optional
Mix dry ingredients, add oil, (adult) add boiling water and stir to combine. Knead for a few minutes.
*Cream of Tartar is available at grocery stores in the baking department, but it is expensive! Galloway’s on 6th Street in New Westminster sells it in bulk for less.
Spring is finally on its way! Signs of the coming season can be found all around the city; flowers are blooming, birds are signing new songs and interesting creatures are coming out to play in the park! We’re even seeing more of the sun!
“Looking closely” at things has been capturing our attention at the park lately…
Noticing the shadows of the drum strings and patterns in the deer skin of the drum Tracy made for us.
We collected Cedar pinecones to share with our friends.
Looking closely in the stream, we noticed Earthworm had come out to say “hello”! Our friend Angela brought us a special magnifying tool to take a really close at their shiny body.
We traced the spots the sun dried on the path before finding our own way.
We discovered rocks in the tunnels…
and sunshine coming through the other end! How will we clear the tunnel so we can have more fun sending things through to the other end? Hmmmm…stay tuned!
What signs of spring will you see looking closely?
Hych’ka Sun, Stream, Earthworm, Rocks, Drum, Tracy, Angela and friends!
Once again, find ourselves in the midst of giant trees and forest beings and acknowledge where we are. Musqueam, Tleil-Waututh, and Squamish peoples have gathered here since time immemorial and and continue to do so today. What about the animals of this place? What animals continue to gather? Which animals have moved away from the cars and buildings of the city? Where did they stay when they lived here? Where do the animals we see and hear stay now?
Sometimes, we spend time under the trees to look closely and think about these things.
There are lots of ways to play with nature. Did you know, mud makes fabulous, biodegradable paint?!
Add a little moss to make to see if that will change the colour.
It can be a different experience painting with paint that has smells and textures because it is made with things that are alive.
We even find that nature has made its own “stripes” and “dots”. How did the rock come to have these markings, we wonder? “It’s nothing,” a boy comments.
Time spent wondering is time well spent! You never know what you’ll discover next!
StrongStart in the Park has been an adventure! We’ve made all sorts of discoveries that I hope will inspire you and your child for your next outdoor play!
First, a “hello” to the forest. Taking a moment to recognize where we are, the ground under our feet, the trees, plants and animals. The trees are so big and tall, they must be very old. We wonder if these very trees knew the land and people before settlers, like so many of us, came. We acknowledge that this has been the home of the Musqeam, Tsleil-Waututh, and Squamish Nations for generations and generations and it is an honor for us to gather together on their lands.
After songs and stories under the trees, we wander over together to the clearing.
Usually there is water in the stream, so in we go, boots and all!
It’s a great place to float your boat!
Or dive into a quiet pool…
Each day, it seems, we discover a new neighbour to say hello to…
a quiet toadstool who grew so tall so quickly!
And some moles under our feet digging along with us,
The moss on the maple trees is so warm and soft on a cold day,
It’s been fun, warming our hearts together!
Up next: mud painting!
Today a three year-old showed me around Byrne Creek. I was curious! Where would he take me? What would he show me that I had never seen before? Will we be here for the hour we planned in this rainy, windy weather? He has been spending every morning in these woods. What has changed for him? What has stayed the same? I like to call this forest “The Whiling Woods”. It’s a good place to take a “while” and explore.
The mud and the puddles were our first stop. (They aren’t there every day!)
We checked in with the fairies to see if anyone was home.
Next, we found ourselves in the clearing where the space opens up and invites us to run!
Here the old walnut trees offer their roots for us to practice balancing and hopping.
We spent a while fishing in a favourite spot.
It takes a while to appreciate things large…
There is always something new to discover and more to learn about.
We will always find mountains to climb, but we will get there…
…it just takes a while.
Hych’ka, Whiling Woods! Hych’ka, Whiling Child!
The rain and winds have brought most of the leaves off the trees around us. It’s been exciting to see our play spaces change as nature continues its seasonal rounds.
As educators, the Kindergarten teachers and I can see how liberating being outside with children has been. The fresh air and ability to move through spaces has been welcome and good for us all. With so many changes happening all around us, watching the seasons change has been something to celebrate together.
As we learn and play outside with the flowers, bugs, and trees, we wondered how we could thank them. How can we give back? We remembered one child’s comment about how the leaves on the ground “are making a home for the plants.” Let’s help with that!
We went back to the where we knew there were leaves to collect.
Next we brought them back and made a mulch to spread around the garden beds. “This is how we turn dirt into soil, making it good food for plants,” Ms. Orologio said.
We also had some fun making faces for the trees! We used play dough and gifts from the trees to make biodegradable decorations for everyone to enjoy!
Here is a play dough recipe if you would like to try this on your adventures one day! Clay and mud also work really well 😉
2 cups flour
1 cup salt
2 tablespoons cream of tartar
4 tablespoons oil
food colouring (optional)
2 cups boiling water
Mix all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl.
Add food colouring and oil to boiled water.
Add water mixture to dry ingredients and mix with a spoon until all combined. Knead the dough until everything is incorporated.
The trees across the parking lot from the Kindergarten playground continue to change their colours. They’re beautiful and often our attention is drawn to them. Their leaves change colour, the wind and the rain help them fall to the ground and from there they turn to dirt. “The leaves are making a home for the plants,” said a child. Another gift from the tree!
Leaves can be dipped in wax to preserve their shapes and colours. Luckily, I know a few bees who had some honeycomb to share. (Beeswax can also be bought at your local craft supply store.)
We took a looked at the wax before and after a few hours in the crockpot and then it was time for dipping!
Now the leaves are soft and their colours are brighter still. And they’ll be like that for as long as we are gentle with them.
Some leaves for us to play with and enjoy, some for the dirt to help more trees and plants grow. How do you enjoy theses gifts from the trees?
Hycha’ka bees and trees!