While this week didn’t start off as sunny as we would have liked, the warmer temperatures made for a lovely week. And we did see some of that sun shine down on us, especially towards the end of the week. Our skating rink of a field is rapidly shrinking, which we couldn’t be happier about. The ice on the paths is dwindling as well. The mercury is still dropping low enough over night to re-freeze some of the shadier areas but we’re hopeful that soon enough, the ice and snow will be all gone and MUD season will begin in earnest.
This week, the children spent some time re-learning and honing their skills with a long time favourite game. “Cougar stalks deer” is always a lot of fun for the children to play. It takes a lot of concentration and focus to move slowly enough as the cougar to avoid spooking the grazing deer. We discuss what the word stalking means, and why such a big animal can be so quiet (hint: it’s all about their paws). We also discuss how the cougar’s coat acts as very good camouflage, so when the deer turns to look, as long as the cougar stays perfectly still, he can’t be seen. Our little cougars worked very hard at being stealthy this week. The deer, on the other hand, had the opportunity to practice patience and experience the thrill and a tiny bit of the fear of being hunted. It was a topic of concern from some of the children who chose not to take a turn as the deer this week. It’s really scary to be hunted, even if it’s just a game!
This week was week 9 and marked our last week at our current play sites. The melting snow and rapidly drying forest also marked this week as our last week practicing fires as well. Our play sites have changed a lot in these last three weeks. Going from mostly or completely snow covered to completely bare, or much less snowy at least. This week saw a lot of imaginative play happening among the children. Their comfort with the play sites and with outdoor preschool itself has grown to allow for them to spend a little less time in exploring the sites and more time in engaging and manipulating their surroundings to suit their narratives. And changing their narratives to suit their surroundings as well. Some favourite climbing trees became vehicles: cars and trucks and airplanes. They needed repairs and gas and propelled a multi-day narrative for several children.
With the snow retreating and the ground thawing, we also saw a lot of children engaging with the mud kitchen this week. Mud pies, birthday cake, and soup were much in evidence around our play sites. The creek is also beginning to attract more attention, as the weather warms up and some wet hands aren’t such an unpleasant thought. It’s very nearly time to switch out snow pants for rain pants!