Stride StrongStart

Learning in the Spirit of Wonder and Joy!

Look (closer)!

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!

Ms. Jenny



StrongStart at the Park too!

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!


Ms. Jenny




StrongStart at the Park!

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!


Ms. Jenny



A While In the Woods

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…

..and small.

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!

Ms. Jenny



Hych’ka, Trees!

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.



Ms. Jenny




Bees and Leaves!

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!

Ms. Jenny

Bug house!

Every day when we play in the Kindergarten playground, we find a bug or two.  Sometimes, we find worms digging in the dirt, or a spider on the fence, or a wasp on the tree.  A big part of the playground is covered in asphalt.  Although there are some ants who use it as a highway (a much faster way to get around than grassy ground cover), most of the time bugs on the paved ground are not in a safe place.  We talked about this as we gathered one day.

Some bugs like to be in trees. Here, we can see where one has eaten a leaf and another has laid some eggs.  Sometimes, bugs like to rest in trees.

Some bugs live under rocks. Roly poly bugs eat rocks!

We had a structure to move bugs to when they were in danger.  It had been a fence before and a cedar tree growing in a forest before that.

”Where should we put it?” asked Ms. Jenny.

“On the grass,” responded one child.
“Behind the climber,” said another.

“Under the tree,” said another child.
“So it’s protected,” said a teacher.

With all of that in mind, the bug house came to be on the grass, behind the climber, under the tree.
The next step was about making it comfy for bugs.

“A living room!”

“And, to bed!”

“You okay, buddy?”
“Don’t forget a TV!”

“We need a blanket for the couch.”

“We need the worm to be straight so he can be on the couch.”

“Don’t worry, I can get a leaf.”

“And a mom!  You can be the mom.”

And the tree became a home for bugs and worms and children’s imaginations.

To be continued…


Once again,

Hych’ka, Tree!


Ms. Jenny

Trees are a gift!

Once upon a time there were some teachers who wanted to share their love of trees with the children.

“Trees are a gift,” Ms. Thomas said.

One teacher showed the children their new “sit spots”.  “Do you remember when Ryan came with his loud chainsaw and cut the log into these for us? “


”The logs were from a tree that was leaning too much and needed to come down so that it was safe.  These are a gift from Ryan and that tree.”

The children looked closely and what did they see?

”Saw dust! Circles!”  the children exclaimed and they learned to make rubbings of the tree’s growth rings.  We counted the rings and learned that the tree had lived in the city for 31 years.  The same age as Ms. Orologio! 😉


Ms. Jenny brought helicopter seeds, another gift from a tree and we walked across the street to visit some maple trees.

What gifts do you see?


How can we give back?  Help the seeds to fly?  How can we do that?  “Like this,” one child said and showed us how she throws it up into the air.  We ran to try it for ourselves!  But, wait!  Look!  What does he see?


A worm, and it’s hurt!  What can we do?

And the tree became a blanket (those help us feel better).

Trees are a gift.

Hych’ka, Trees!

And Hych’ka to David and Ryan at Dynamic Tree for sharing trees with us!

Ms. Jenny



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