Back in the swing at RTH!
Welcome back to the school year! I am pleased share that our first few weeks have been off to a fantastic start. The weather has been incredible to kick-off our Forest School program this season. Sometimes maybe even a bit too hot. A reminder that sunscreen, hats and lots of water are essential in this type of weather. So far we have spent 100% of each day outside! Our staff have put out extra drinking water throughout the day, but it is always good to have full bottles when we set out first thing.
Right off the bat, students have jumped into Forest School with two feet! We have enjoyed getting started with core routines including wander time, outdoor stories of the day, sit spots, journaling and mapping. Ask your child what their favouirte nature based activity of the day is!
Students have been very engaged and energized by our initial boundary hikes. On these property based excursions, students spot hidden treasures to map out our route. Along the way they find nature surprises. The past two weeks our exciting nature surprises have included milkweed, moth caterpillars, monarchs, forest toads, an exoskeleton, a fox scull and bones, dragon flies, and a red salamander or Eastern Newt. Nature surprises provide an amazing opportunity to reflect and have conversations on conservation and what we can do as humans to protect the amazing creatures in their habitats.
Do you know what your child's nature name is? Picking nature names is part of our program and it is incredible to hear the creative thoughts that go behind their selection. The guideline is that names are local and nature based such as a plant, animal or element of the wilderness. My name is naturally "Red-tailed Hawk". Over time we reflect on how students can relate to the qualities of their nature identities.
Lilly of the Valley led our Music in the Woods program this week. Students love to select instruments and get their groove on in the woods! Tamarack starts us off on the right foot each morning with our welcome song, weather songs and our forest school song.
Out of all activities during our busy days at RTH, students seemed to really enjoy forest play, shelter building, improving last years forts, building nests in the forest with invasive vines, imaginative role play games, building fairy forts, enjoying new slack line and obstacle course!
We have hiked to the Silver Creek most days. Here students are looking for signs of September including fungus in the forest and salmon running the river. With the warm weather and humidity, salmon have been harder to spot but we anticipate seeing them run in the coming weeks as the air cools during the day.
Foraging for sumac to make iced tea and harvesting the garden to make soup over a fire, have also kept students busy and energized. RTH students love to create edible wilderness based recipes with the help of staff of course!
Sharing summer stories and nature themed literature has been a highlight each day. Nature inspired crafts, sticky nature collection bracelets and forest garden models with natural clay has also kept things very creative.
Overall, it was amazing to welcome in a new school year at RTH and watch our new cohort of students simply be free range kids!
We hope that our students and families are feeling adjusted to back to school and they everyone is enjoying September as much as we are at RTH!