I was going to skip this last week for a large number of reasons (and indeed may be already too late to link up) with the Sunday stills theme of the great outdoo
But…this week the theme was front and center at Nan’s house. I had enrolled my “littles” in at Timbernook for a session called “Little Wild Ones”. This international outdoor school has a location literally right across the road from me; 1.5 km down a big hill. Our outdoor adventure included getting there.
It’s nestled in the grove of trees and year round (+35 or -35) you will find Miss Shelley and a wonderland of opportunity. There was, for this particular camp, no specific focus but rather just a chance to explore, play and interact.
Which is exactly what my grandchildren needed. They’ve spent a great deal of time outdoors in the pandemic; with momma, daddy, Grampa and Nan. They have rarely seen other children except our rare zoo outings. So it was time and with their parents blessings we kept them for 3 nights and off we went.
We started each morning with story time up in a little tea nook lying on cushions in the shaded little corner. Unknown to me, after we read all the stories on the first day, Young A asked Miss Shelley if there would be new books each day. I felt that was a very independent idea that she carried out.
It’s a good thing there were no real expectations. They were not really glue sticks to me but they certainly spent a lot of time beside each other. The wee lad said exactly one sentence that wasn’t addressed to his sister or I. He asked a 2 year old girl “why did you put the doll in the big bucket of water”. She didn’t answer.
On day 2 they both explored alone a bit more and Young A interacted with another girl about her age and her little sister. They all spent some time on or pushing the swing which was a hot ticket item for learning to share. The little sister had a life crisis when Young A pushed her gently and slowly. She also stopped the swing quickly and then she and Miss Shelley talked about how sometimes it’s not what we do that makes other react but rather how they feel.
It was hot hot hot out so each day had a water theme to the outdoors. The first day was thunderstorms (the sprinkler rained on us), the second day was water play and there were buckets of it everywhere and the third day was bubble day. Interestingly enough the wee lad, on day 3, spent most of the just observing. He’d had a less than stellar night and perhaps was just over tired or over heated. By the time he got into the bubbles the session was over!
The great outdoors and “big play” are important for development of many life skills. Which makes my grandchildren triply blessed as they live a rural life with regular access to life unplugged. Plus they get a lot of native prairie time here where we focus on flowers, plants and animals. Then add in the outdoor school session and they have such an advantage.
One that many children do not have. Made all the more obvious as we learn more information about residential schools. Even now it’s a very uneven playing field for many Indigenous and Inuit children; especially those who must still leave their communities to get an education.
Which is one reason I felt some hesitancy about posting. But life goes on. We need to find the balance on how we work on truth and reconciliation while continuing to live our lives mindfully enjoying our privilege and blessings. It’s complicated or at least I am finding it that way.