Sunday, April 3, 2016

Noticing the small things

Today at the park our attention drifted to the small things. We are in the cusp between seasons, no longer Summer and not yet Autumn and there are so many small things happening. An oak seedling emerging from it's pod, green acorns scattered on the ground. The green leaves dappled with the first tinges of pink and yellow, red berries, toadstools of various colours and creepy crawlies. All this before we even made our way up to The Shed!

Leaves beginning to transition
Jenny shows the tamariki some berries

A baby oak tree

A collection of some of the interesting things we found

The plan for today was to investigate The Pines. A lot of the other groups had been to this area recently already and today's group wanted to see the changes to the area since the storm.
As they say, sometimes the journey is just as exciting as the destination and this was the case for our tamariki today. Some of them found a chair, carved from a fallen log, to sit on for a rest.

Our sharp eyed explorer's discovered a nursery spider guarding her web. She sat there on alert as our tamariki observed her web making talent and marvelled at the size of her. She was there waiting for us on the way back as well, possibly regretting her decision to spin her web so close to the path.

The Nursery spider which captured our attention.

After encountering our spider the tamariki became interested in the various other webs that we found along the path. The one in the photo above was interesting because of the way the dew clung to it, making it sparkle.
Once we got to The Pines we all went into explore mode. Our tamariki were anxious to get into the fallen trees and practice their climbing skills. We spent some time teaching them how to test the safety of a tree before climbing onto it, looking for weak and slippery spots and sharp sticks jutting out. Tash went over to the trees to be the spotter and the children challenged themselves balancing and climbing on the branches on the mission to find caves.

After a break for morning tea, the group embarked on a new mission: collecting pinecones. We split into two groups, one group went pinecone hunting with Jenny whist Tash's group stayed behind and practiced sawing the pinecones of the branches. The pinecones were still held very tightly by the branches so it took a great deal of work to sever them. Jenny's group found some interesting stumps and roots as well as a whole trolley load of pinecones.

Teamwork was the goal for the rest of the session. The group and the teachers took turns to push the trolley, heavy with pinecones, all the way back up the hill to The Shed. Our tamariki were so keen to help that we had to work on our turn taking skills on the way up. What a great way to learn about how to communicate with a group while trying to get a job done. Apart from strengthening our teamwork skills we also strengthened our muscles. That trolley was heavy and the terrain at times steep and bumpy, but we still made it to the top.

At the shed we encountered a friendly dog walker who let us pet her dog. One of our children had carefully selected a walking stick and the playful pup decided that he wanted to play tug of war. The dog won and made off with his prize, much to the dismay of the child.

We had a great morning at The Pines today. Thank you to Jenny, Tash and Karl.

Post written by Tash

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