Update - December 24th 2016

Hello All,

            This week wrapped up our last week before the Holiday Break, and once again we packed in lots of action here at RTH! 

            Our learning focus this week was on December holidays around the world.  We shared information on various celebrations of light and discussed light as a common theme across cultures within our celebrations.  We read holiday stores from different countries around the world including Scandinavian Countries where Forest School originated!  We also completed holiday nature crafts this week including wooden ornaments and dogwood reindeers.  Students enjoyed many Holiday art activities this week.

            Following the theme after reading The Night Tree, students asked about making snowmen with food for the animals.  Heron also brought in his copy of Stranger in the Woods, with beautiful photographs of animals in the forest feeding from an edible snowman.  It was perfect packing snow, so groups enjoyed making snowmen families complete with carrots, other root vegetables, raisins, pretzels, and bird seed.  After building our families we would go for a snowshoe and return to try and identify which animals had visited our creations.  We also checked our bird feeders from last week and were happy to see that they had been eaten up!

            Sledding was another highlight this week!  Students kept busy climbing the hill, making paths, and sliding.  Many also brought out shovels, (we now have a class set), to build other creations. 

            This week also included establishing new and great connections with staff from Headwaters Academy.  On Monday afternoon Swallow and I travelled to the beautiful Kimbercoat Farm which is the new location for their school.  We were met by Mark Brown, the founder of Headwaters, who was generous enough with his time to bring us for a guided tour of their astonishing property, and follow up with a meeting on their academic curriculum.  Headwaters plans to have a heavy focus on incorporating learning in the natural environment into their academic program.  They also have scheduled every Thursday to head out into the local community for outreach projects.  We have welcomed Headwaters to join us for field trips here at RTH, and look forward to building a partnership with them! 

            On Wednesday of this week, Mark travelled to us for a well guided snowshoe tour by the students!  We spent the morning reviewing our fire building skills and preparing soup over the fire with guest visitors Grey Wolf and Raven!  When Mark, or Bear, arrived, students jumped at the opportunity to share their space, and lead a tour of the pine forest and all through the river trail.  After the tour we enjoyed our lunch of campfire soup together around the fire, it was a magical moment.  We also enjoyed treats brought in by Eagle and Artic Fox’s families – thank you!  We did the same on Thursday with treats Horse brought in, all were delicious!  Mark wrote a wonderful post about his experience here at RTH which is available on the Headwaters Academy Website.  Please do visit the site and read his kind words, thank you Mark!

            We ended our week with a wonderful gathering in the Forest to Carol!  Thank you all for supporting with wonderful event.  It was so amazing to have families come together to sing and celebrate in the forest, I can’t thank you all enough!  We were all very sad that Lily of Valley could not join us to lead caroling after all of her efforts to prepare for this event!  Her dedication shone through during the songs she prepared and practiced with students for weeks leading up to this event!  We are all thinking of Lily as she joins her family to cope with a family emergency.  We must extend a huge thank you to Tamarak who, without hesitation, stepped in to fill Lily’s role!  The show would not have gone on without Tamarak, and Lily was so pleased for this as well.  This was a wonderful experience of RTH families supporting each other, and I feel overwhelmingly fortunate for this, and for the support of all families who were a part of this event, and our amazing program!

            Happy Holidays, and we look forward to everyone’s return in the New Year!

Shannon