What’s Newest!

02/15/2018 – Skulls, Bones, Eagles, and Shelters – A Day with Coyote Kids

i Feb 17th No Comments by
Wow, what a delightful early spring day — cool, but no rain, and so much emerging growth to discover!
We began our day exploring a nature mystery from Jane’s own “backyard” — a set of small skulls and a couple of gloopy gray-black cylindrical bundles filled with tiny bones and lots of short gray hairs. Guesses went back and forth, and we peered at a field guide at all manner of mammal skulls. What kind of animal(s) does your child think the skulls are from? What is their guess about the bundles with bones and fur? Since these things were all found in the same place — under some Doug Firs at the edge of a forest near a grassy field — does your child have some ideas about how those skulls and bundles came to be under those Doug firs?
Next we shapeshifted into small mammals, and scurried across the field, pausing in safe places we managed to find. What were the places like in which we sheltered? What were we trying to shelter from?
At our Coyote Den the kids immediately resumed work on their shelters, as well as diving into new fun: making a small mammal nest, some new hideouts and “rooms,” discovering a magical smooth green bump on a downed Madrona, crawling through bushes, climbing on downed trees,and coming up with all kinds of questions, ideas, and imaginings.  We listened to a story about Jumping Mouse, in which (among other things in the tale) the mice feared the “spots” — eagles high in the sky who might swoop down and catch them. We played “Eagle Eye,” and then like Jumping Mouse traveling into new territory, we scouted some trails not yet taken, running down a little ways, and then soaring back as eagles. Next time we’ll head further out!
Some of us also learned how to pick the newly emerging Stinging Nettle and to safely sample leaves. No stings!
Spring is beginning in the forests and fields, and there is so much to discover and enjoy. May your family enjoy some lively and sweet outdoor time in the coming weeks!
We look forward to sharing time in nature with your children again next month!

02/10/2018 – Story of the Day – Blindfold Hikes and Other Magic with Woodland Ways

i Feb 17th No Comments by

Our Woodland Ways kids hiking up a sand dune – blindfolded!

Saturday was a dream! Cold for sure, but the sun was glorious and made everything it touched light up with pure beauty!  I don’t know about you, but for me something magical happens when the air is cold and the sky is blue. A certain kind of vitality, motivation and joy that is reserved only for winter days such as these.

We began our day venturing to the beach, stoping just before we made it to the water for story and snack. Jane told us an epic story about a mouse who journeyed to the sacred mountain, learning the magic of giving and receiving. With the help of many friends along the way and his own selflessness he came to know the truth of his soul and growing wings he took flight.
After story we made our way to the beach, spread our own wings and set to exploring and relating to the rocks and water, sand and animals in which ever way spoke to our own individual spirits. There were rock collectors, beach artists, thing finders, village makers and sea explores to name a few. Each and every child seemed truly engaged and smiling from their hearts. It felt like we could have stayed there for hours. However our time was coming to and end and we had quite the hike ahead of us….
…but first there was a sandy mountain to climb..blindfolded! And and then to roll down again…up and down, and up and down they went. It is a wonder we made it back to the top, and all in good spirits too! It must have been that cold air and blue sky:) 
We all agree that this group of kids is something special. All so connected and kind, truly excited to be outside and with each other. It is really very sweet and we always look forward to spending the day with them.
Thank you, Thank you.

02/09/2018 – Story of the Day – Jumping Mouse and other Mammal Adventures with Wind Gatherers

i Feb 13th No Comments by
Last Friday we stayed dry!  All day!  And the kids had Spring fever for sure.  
We started our day with either a fun game, a weaving project, or creative play in the huckleberry forest.  This choice based, slow start to our day allows the children to gravitate towards what they love.  And allows us to see those inspirations and get to know them better!  
We are entering the world of small mammals now which is really fun as many of the children’s nature names are in this category.  Do you know your child’s nature name this year?  From douglas squirrel to deer mouse we learn to appreciate the small ones in the forest by thinking about where they live, what they eat, what they do when it’s so wet outside, and how they contribute to the overall health and ecosystems of Vashon.  Through story and games the children become these creatures and embody all of the magic that happens when you connect with the animals that live all around us all the time.  
After a story about a jumping mouse that travels through the vast worlds of bogs, prairies, and mountains only to learn to fly, we set out to wander the land in search of signs of small mammals.  We looked for squirrel homes, middens, and vole trails.  We found caves, nests, old paper wasp nest parts, and the best jumping hill at Camp Sealth!  
We end the day by coming back together with the whole group to tell our Story of the Day.  Last Friday we gathered with a sweet song and heard from the other group about worms, jumping off of huge logs, and something about a chipmunk 🙂  It remains a mystery to me!  But then, don’t we all love a good nature mystery?!  

02/02/2018 – Story of the Day – Small Mammals/Big Hearts with Wind Gatherers

i Feb 8th No Comments by
Last Friday began beneath the cover of our tree protecters! Shielding us from the rain that was threatening to soak us all before our day even began. 
It felt very sweet to bring our minds together in gratitude while circled by the tall ones we know and love so well. And very fitting, as Jane invited us all to share and speak our gratitude for the non human beings who are our ancestors, the ones who have and the ones who still are raising us.
As the fire warmed our bodies and hearts, and our snacks warmed our bellies, we heard a story highlighting the most amazing facts about small mammals! I have never been so interested, curious and in awe of small little mammals before in my life and by the look on the children’s faces, I don’t think they had either.  Just think about it…a tiny little dear mouse isn’t much different from ourselves. They too have hearts pumping warm blood throughout their body, teeny tiny little hearts! Im wondering if they feel love as big as we do?….My guess is that size does not mater 🙂
After story the rain lifted and the woods beckoned for us to adventure. There was bushwhacking and puddle playing, an exploration to find an Osprey nest and deer mouse nest building (just to name a few :)!  Another wonderful day together, held and supported by the land and all of the many plants, animals and creatures who live there. Makes me wonder…will your children one day look back and reflect upon this place and feel as if they were raised by these beings?