Our afternoon walks into the forest have continued this week. The children have found a perfect climbing tree in addition to the vine cave. It requires significant maneuvering to climb up the creek bed to get to the side with the tree and vines, but each day the children are getting better at it. They know just which vines to grab and can come down backwards, feeling their way with their feet. On the other side of the stream is the sliding side, with a steep hill for climbing up and sliding down. Again, they've learned just which vines to grab to come up the side. For the youngest of our crew who are not as able to climb, the forest has provided golden leaf treasures, which they enjoy gathering from the creek bed and forest floor.
The children have met two new story characters these past two weeks, and these characters will be joining us in the months to come. It is nice to have a character who we follow throughout the year, and the children connect with them. They look forward to the adventures and develop a fondness for them. This allows their imagination to also expand on the possibilities of that character, and even bring those ideas into their imaginary play. So earlier in September, the children were introduced to Old Gnome. He is a short, sturdy fellow who, like all gnomes, has a kind relationship with the local animals. This past week, the children met Mother Earth, who was just bringing a little baby out for a walk when she realized Autumn was coming and she needed to call the Autumn fairies to come and paint the trees, starting with the top leaves. Mother Earth is a big hand puppet, and the children are absolutely silent when she comes out and starts slowly walking.
As the days are getting slowly but surely more cool, the children have not been quite as eager to go water crazy, though it certainly still makes an appearance everyday. They've taken to making houses and caves out of the hay bales, and building with the big blocks. I am scouting out cozy nooks to create for the children, it seems almost instinctual that as the weather gets cooler, they begin fort building or asking me to help make a fort! Little nooks are also a wonderful spot for a little sensory bin play. Our circle time now includes a verse that goes "pull my cart my pony pull, careful now the load is full..." and the children form a little train. I've heard them repeating this verse in their play as well, especially when lugging something heavy!