What we do in the Forest.
Earth and Sky school is rooted in the belief that children need emotional and physical space to allow themselves to Unfurl, as we see the Leaves around us do in early Spring.
The Forest welcomes us and the children are given significant freedom to explore, discover, create, connect and play. ( With a low camper/counselor ratio, we can give children this freedom.) Our time together is intended to nurture children's creativity and instincts .
Our Summer Camp Schedule runs roughly like this:
Listening Log: Immediately upon arrival, we take 3 deep breaths to attune ourselves to the energy of the Forest. In addition to general reminders, greetings, etc, the Group Leader shares nature stories and we as a group discuss the meaning of a story and what it can teach us.
Free Play at Base Camp: Resisting the urge to immediately press the kids for activities, we hold a space for the kids to settle in and self-direct their play. Counselors are present to facilitate this play and if appropriate, suggest or engage the kids in some ideas. Craft materials are on our tarp and available for projects. We have a lengthy time to get settled in, make connections with the Trees and Terrain, connect with other campers and our wonderful counselors and CITS and unwind and play.
Food/Eating: Kids can eat whenever they feel hungry, but are always asked to eat before our walks. Please pack whatever and how much food you think your child will need.
Adventure Walks: We take an Adventure Walk after a chunk of time at Base Camp. Backpacks are left there and water bottles are encouraged to bring. Our walks take us to favorite spots in the Woods approximately 15-20 walks each way to our destination; many of which have accompanying stories and legends, i.e.Sleeping Giants; Dead Deer Valley, Triple Twin-Tree Valley. Upon arrival, we play and explore the area.
Afternoons: The afternoon group has a settling-in quality where we move at a slower pace, read and hear stories, connect with a new group, continue play. They love spending time in our beloved Base Camp, where very quickly the children feel completely at home. Depending on the day, we may go for another short walk.
Earth and Sky School seeks to illuminate the ways we are Nature and the lessons we can learn when we feel that connection. Woven through our time together are stories that are told and the freedom to take what you will from them.
Lessons such as 'Paws not Claws" in which Ms. Angelique shares how at first her two cats would fight with their claws. Which of course, the children tell me are 'retractable' - thereby a choice.
Eventually the cats stopped; and now they like to play-fight with their paws not their claws. I like to ask the children why I would tell this story to them and hear their interpretations.
There after, a simple 'Paws not claws" is a gentle reminder to bring it back to play.