This week was a wonderful week with our Outdoor Life Learners Nature Clubbers. It was truly fascinating to see the children engage in so many important areas of learning. It happened naturally. They needed no guidance from adults and this week, absolutely no facilitation. After a challenging hike and break on the “lunch log”, the children wandered down the hill to an area full of hemlocks along the large stream of the Skaneateles Conservation Area.
It wasn’t long before they had created their own village, complete with a shelters, garden areas and roles for each of the villagers. While developing their villages, the children had opportunities for teamwork and development of social skills through working together to create items and problem solve.
To watch the communication, language and literacy develop during this particular outing was delightful. After all shelter plots were chosen, the children began to assist each other in completing the initial shelters, all the while developing a world where there was a mayor, make-shift moon phase calendar (particular attention was paid to full moons) and even village meetings.
Each villager set out to create needed tools for their garden plots and weapons needed for protection from the “full moon hounds”. This self-initiated activity alone encouraged the use of fine motor skills, questioning and investigation. Imaginative role play was at it’s finest, experimenting with the social and emotional roles of life.
The villagers ended their day with gross motor skill work consisting of a villager-created game of balance on the log. Rules and regulations were determined, honing each villager’s communication and language skills.
Our philosophy was on display this week. Learning happened naturally.
*photo credits: 12 year old Nature Clubber