After observing our sharing stones routine, a question was posed to me by an adult, "What are the children who don't get called supposed to do? Be disappointed?" The answer, friends, is yes.
The 'why' also has to do with the story about the bungie cord. Who am I to say what a comfort item should be? A comfort item is something that helps you connect with others, right? It could be a bungie cord or it could be a toy. And it could even be a fully branded, plastic, mass-produced toy!
In the end, talking and listening in a group setting is, as any teacher will tell you, a delicate balance. In order to bring it into balance, begin with adjusting the central pillar, the teacher's perspective rather than individual and group dynamics.
The pair proceeded to wrestle, but interestingly, the gentle partner did not know the point of the demonstration and did not go down. He was doing what he always does during their matches, providing a kind of shifting wall of gentle resistance. Our torch-bearer remained unperturbed and kept up the demonstration.
"We go far from the purple school. Up and across the stone bridge." "The creek had ice between the bridges and it went under the stone bridge and the regular bridges."
"You go across the stone bridge and when you get to the next bridge you turn left to get to the creek."
"The mountain is easy to get up and hard to get down."
These are quotes from the children's map reflections. The maps were made after their third trip to the forest. This time, the ivy still had a covering of snow and there was ice in the creek. We drank warm fruit tea from a thermos we brought along, the steam rising up as the children drank deeply.
I would not describe the mountain as "easy to get up". I found it very difficult myself. The melting snow on the ivy, with mud beneath, created a slick surface, but the children persevered. Not all of them, but this is such a great part of this story, the climbers this time included a handful of children who did not attempt the climb the last visit. I can also tell you that it was not hard to get down the mountain. I tumbled quite easily, head over heels, and made it down in mere seconds! Fortunately, the children figured out how to slide down though it was hard to stop.
The partially frozen creek was such a bonus. During our last visit, the creek was running as it always does and it was familiar and perhaps not as compelling. The ice changed that. All of the children wanted to play along its banks and once the climbers had returned from their trek, we all gathered at the creek.
The light, the ice and snow, the blue sky, the dark lines of the trees and green of the ivy -- all made it into the painted backgrounds of the children's maps. Then, later as the children placed the dotted lines of the path, the bridges, and because it is was so impressive, the creek and its iciness took center stage on this collage map.
"Are we going to the mountain today?"
One of the Leaves asks me this each day. "Not today," I say, "But soon. Soon we will go back." Wonder what challenges and changes we will find next time we venture out.
I shared this on the "Outdoor Play Party." Check out the Outdoor Play advocates' blogs along with the many other great posts shared there, just follow this link...