News from the Forest
by Miss Belinda
Though King Winter has struggled mightily to continue his reign o’re all the land, his icy grip is slipping as Lady Spring, quietly but insistently, implores to him in the following verse:
There came a knock at the outer door.
“Who’s there?” King Winter cried.
“Open your gate,” said Lady Spring,
“For you reign no more as king…no longer here abide.
This message from the sun I bring.
The leaves grow green.
The birds do sing.
The hills with Joy are echoing!
So pray, Sir, step aside.”
Being outside in the forest over the past couple of weeks, we have born witness to the tug-of-war between King Winter and Lady Spring. And though King Winter appeared to have had the upper hand over the past few weeks with the cold, rainy, raw, blustery weather, we still were able to observe the subtle entrance of Lady Spring with the grasses growing green and lush, many of the trees dressed with tiny, green buds waiting to open, the blooming of the tulips, daffodils and jonquils in the gardens surrounding LifeWays, and the beautiful blue and purple hued carpet of scilla growing abundantly on the floor of the clearing. This past Friday, while playing down by the river, we observed not one but two families of geese complete with a Mama and a Papa goose each with five to six goslings in tow. One family of geese was waddling on the grassy bank opposite from where we were playing, and the other family of geese was leisurely swimming up river. And then to our wondering eyes, that same family swam across to our side of the river (further up from where we were playing) with six little ducks swimming in a row behind their Mama and Papa. All of this activity was worthy of the children stopping their play to observe the goings on with awe and wonder. These truly are the days of miracle and wonder as we observe new life returning to the forest in all its glorious forms
Media play has been abundant with super heroes leading the way. Batman and Robin, Superman, Spiderman, and Star Wars characters appear to be the current favorites, and then an occasional tornado is thrown in (from The Wizard of Oz) just to mix it up a bit. This type of play tends to occur during the first 30-45 minutes of our day but eventually phases out to allow for more imaginative, creative play, i.e., gathering sticks, twigs and branches to make houses to play house, the howling of “coyote and wolf” packs, and games of chasing and capturing. Of course, fallen trees and branches still need to be climbed and jumped from. I do allow some time for superhero play, because it’s one of the ways in which children process and make sense of what they’ve seen and/or heard either through the media or from their friends. However, if the play gets rough and/or hurtful, it’s time to ask the superheroes to go home for lunch and a nap. Generally, I’ve found that following snack time, it’s a good time to ask the superheroes to go home for lunch and nap while other types of play are encouraged.
Lastly, it has been such a pleasure to work with your children throughout this past year. It has been an incredible growth experience for me professionally and personally. Bonds of friendship have been formed even through the challenges. It is soul satisfying to watch how they help each other with getting backpacks on, dry tears, use words of encouragement, and laugh hysterically at each other’s jokes (sometimes much to my chagrin).
To our friends Clayton, Everett, Zeya, Ian and Jolene, who are moving out into the world to start school in the fall, blessings on your new adventure. I will miss you! Always remember that you are capable, brave and strong! Remember the “Little Engine That Could” story…”I think I can, I think I can, I think I can!” To our friends Xavier and Silvia, we look forward to seeing you back at LifeWays after your summer adventures. And please remember the “Little Engine That Could” story as well…”I think I can, I think I can, I think I can!”
This is one of the songs that parents and teachers would sometimes sing to the graduating 8th Graders from Prairie Hill Waldorf School on the occasion of their graduation ceremony:
“I can give you roots,
I can give you wings,
But only you can know when to fly.”
Love and Abundant Blessings,