Yesterday I posted about how I wanted to create an Oasis in my Kindy Yard. Well today was simply AMAZING. Really, truly awesome 🙂
As I drove to work, I drove down a side street to avoid traffic and came across two large trees trimmed with branches ready for disposal. How could I pass up the opportunity to start on collecting logs?! I didn’t 🙂 Once I’d started though, I realised how pretty the branches were and how much they reminded me of the Christmas trees we’d have growing up. Trimmed branches and that fresh smell permeating the lounge. I filled the van with as many long, leafy branches as I could – including one which had a birds nest in it! (It was empty, scattered with soft seed pods)
Then as I turned the corner, I saw a plain pallet sitting on someone’s front nature strip, which is usually a sign of a give away in Adelaide. I knocked on the door, got permission to grab it and drove on to work with the biggest smile on my face!
This fantastic good luck meant that my daily plan went out the window! I filled in my co-workers – who all smiled that smile you save for crazy talkers – and prepared for a super exciting day. Ooooops, did I forget that today was the day that we were having our first visit from the “Quality Inclusion Support Program”? Yep I did! So this ex-Director, ex-Accreditor rocked up into my classroom to see how my team and I are coping with the high level of refugees and additional needs children, to offer ideas to help us run a smooth classroom. We got glowing reviews at the end of the day, but she’ll be around 3 times a week for 6 weeks to help out in the other rooms if we need her! But I digress.
We started the day by discussing what was going to happen, how excited I was, but also how important it was to have a plan so that we all knew what we were aiming for. Once we drew it up, we headed to the sandpit and began filling planters with sand, working lino circles into the bottom so that it didn’t escape.
While the kids got busy with this, I drove the ‘bus’ around into the yard and prepared for the kids to safely unload it! The excitement at seeing a ‘forest’ in their bus was huge! The energy they were putting into carrying the large lengths of tree or the shorter, but far heavier stumps was enviable.
Before we’d finished moving all the pieces into our yard, a number of children had climbed into the bus to explore it too. About half of them are familiar with it, from their daily trips to state Kindy, so they were able to show the others how to do up seatbelts and help out. Although at least one also wanted to jump into the driver seat and try out the steering! With all this interest in the bus, how could I not follow up with a quick trip around the block! It took two trips, but soon we were all back in our yard, ready to start building our new “Forest”
Digging into the pots, making our ‘trees’ stand up tall, patting the sand in to make it sturdy and testing out our newly carpeted ‘stage’.
Fantastic for exploring, hiding, imagining and socialising.
For testing out smells and textures, sounds and echoes.
Although some of us preferred to sit amongst it and watch the magic happen!
Knowing that the high levels of adrenaline we’d been sunnign with would soon cause this engaged bunch of learners into a crazed mass of wild animals, a quick discussion saw us setting up an impronptu art gallery along the fence. Aprons on, paper up, brown and green paint in tubs on a communal table and off we went.
We got some great impressions of our new ‘forest’ – I tried to go for ‘Oasis’, but the majority of kids recognising the collection of trees as a ‘forest’ won me over 🙂
Some were painstakingly etched out for details, time taken to plan, outline and colour their work.
And, of course, a painting of Ben 10’s Humongosaur appeared 🙂
The day continued, the play evolved and a range of animals appeared in our jungle.
Some of the children even took to calling the sand filled pots ‘deserts’!
While others explored every possible space for their animals to enjoy!
And so it is, that for No Money and No Program we had a brilliant day of interaction, hands on learning, exploration and rewards that will keep on giving us inspiration and creating play opportunities, just by being there for us. Just like all the best teachers!
P.S see the log at the front right? That one log was what changed all my plans today! When I was a kid, we’d play in the neighbours mulberry tree and a few metres up off the ground was a branch shaped like this that my brothers, sister and I would use as a motorbike. When all those memories came flooding back to me, I knew I wanted to share a tree climbing adventure as best as I could!