Updated: Oct 23, 2021
Last week was National Fire Prevention Week and we dug into fire safety with discussions about the sounds of fire safety, being smart around fire pits, and talked through our emergency plan and our meeting spot.
We didn't get to do quite as much as I'd hoped, as the wet weather made some activities I have planned more difficult, but we will keep them in the pipeline for the upcoming weeks.
That's the beauty of interest-led learning. Sure, I make plans. I put thought into activities. But everything is done with a full understanding that we may never do it. We may do something completely different than I have planned that day- and that's okay.
When fire safety wasn't quite as interesting as fall leaf activities, we leaned into our Exploring Nature with Children activities, enjoying the cool fall days and having tons of fun with some fall-themed process art.
Remember: Keep it simple. You don't need extravagant materials, plans, or outcomes to find perfect opportunities to learn every day.
The early years are not the time to cram as much information into our children's heads as possible, but rather to foster a love of learning and give them the space to keep the magic of childhood alive.
So if you have one idea in mind, and plans change-remember that that's not failure. That doesn't mean you're "behind" in school work. Everyday moments can be extraordinary learning opportunities when we slow down, mindfully connect with our children, and encourage exploration and creativity.
This week, when fire safety activities weren't inspiring anyone, we decided to hit Shaw Farms on Thursday. The animals, cutout playground, and pumpkin patch were huge hits.
My mom got to join us (actually, made the trip possible! Rowen, under many objections, had to ride with her, while I took the rest of the kids and met her there !).
And while he wasn't a fan of driving separate from mama, he was so happy Gaga got to join us on our adventure! Some of my favorite homeschooling memories include fall trips to Shaw with my mom and siblings! Some of the cutouts are still the same (Although, I assume, refurbished !).
I heard kids who barely made sounds when they first started with me pointing at the Horse (okay it was a mule, but don't hold that against them) saying "neigh" without prompting. That one made me cry! And the boy who wouldn't leave my side for the first two weeks of school, sprinted across the field to see the animals, without looking back.
Even in this short time, seeing the development of these kids both from an academic and physical level is amazing.
But more rewarding than any other tangible measure I have achieved thus far in my Career is the growth I've seen in their sweet souls. Forming new friendships, discovering who they are, and exploring the world around them. These Covid babies, who haven't had a caregiver outside of mom and dad their entire lives, who haven't interacted with other kids their age; they're thriving. They're rising to every challenge I put before them, learning quicker than I even imagined possible, and showing us all the unique personality traits they have developed in their unique, formative years. And for the record, I don't believe it's all bad. In fact, these kids are probably the best off out of any others who have lived through these past few years. They knew no different than the life they've lived. And not only that, the extra time spent as a nuclear family during this time, I believe benefited these youngsters the greatest. They spent more time outside. Less time in indoor play places, grocery stores, crowded restaurants, and strollers. And more time crawling, reading books, exploring outside, taking walks, and cherishing the time with family.
It is affirming as an educator, entrepreneur, and mom--to know that this program I have put together and the environment I am creating for my son is one in which he, and other children, will thrive and grow for years to come. And it's exciting to see what's on the horizon for Playful Acre. What started as simply a pivot into in-home childcare is quickly proving to have the potential for so much more. A blog, outreach, community building, and coaching were not on my radar when I launched this dream in late august. But less than 2 months later, here we are. And I'm excited to see where we're headed.
So if you've made it this far, I have a favor to ask. I want to know what YOU want to hear from me. I have a lot of ideas. Some are inspired by questions I've been asked by my audience, and some have been stirring in my soul for quite some time, just waiting for the right opportunity to bring it to life. But I can't do it all at once.
Tell me with this super quick survey. No required paragraph answers. Some simple multiple-choice questions and a chance to give me any ideas or feedback that is on YOUR heart. No pressure! You can leave your contact info if you want to subscribe to the blog and follow along on the journey, or leave an anonymous response for my edification only!
Either way, thank you for holding space today by reading this post and considering my request. I couldn't do any of this without the support of my community and the amazing forest school leaders, homeschooling parents, nannies, and nature enthusiasts who inspire me to #getoutside with my kids every day and learn. So I hope, even if only for one person, I can do the same.
I'll be back later this week to share our super fun pumpkin painting activity we did with the pumpkins we brought home from the farm. But for now, check out the highlights on our Instagram !