This week, Thursday was our most anticipated day of the week as we were looking forward to a walk in our playground forest with our Vice-Principal, Mr. Blackburn, to review safe, appropriate play.
On our beautiful school grounds, our children are particularly fortunate to have many choices: a large soft surface playground with a climbing structure, a black top area for games such as hopscotch, skipping and outdoor chalk, and as they get older, a huge grass field and gravel field for baseball, football and soccer.
But more so than any other area, the small forest on the edge of our playground has always held the greatest attraction.
What is it about the woods? On Thursday the air smelled spicy and delicious after the rain fell. There’s a very pretty creek that runs along two sides with a bridge, large boulders and a huge tree stump for climbing. It’s a magical place, perfect for imaginary play, daydreaming, digging and dam building. We really couldn’t ask for more for healthy, outdoor play for our Kindergarten children.
You can read more about our thoughts on outdoor play here
But today’s post is for parent information about the expectations for our students during their forest play time.
We’ve decided to call it Forest Fridays: during the school day, our children will be able to use the forest area on Fridays during their morning recess and during our afternoon playtime. Our Playground supervisors, or Christy and myself, will supervise the children.
At the start of our walk, at the entrance to the forest, Mr. Blackburn asked the children what they noticed: a creek, birds in the trees and berries. The children learned the forest is a living, breathing thing; it’s alive, it grows just like we do, there are living creatures in the trees and on the ground. They also found out they are not to eat anything from the forest, including the berries. Leaves, branches and flowers stay on the trees and shrubs; it’s ok to pick up things from the forest floor.
The children will always enter the forest via the bridge. They are expected to walk in the centre of the bridge, not the sides as the wood trim is very slippery when wet.
The best kind of footwear for forest play is rainboots. This way, the children are always prepared to play in the creek if they wish. Shoes and socks are not suitable attire for creek play because shoes can absorb water, wet socks are uncomfortable and wet feet…well, wet feet do not feel good. Children are to be respectful of others in the creek – no splashing or kicking water.
Sticks and rocks are acceptable tools for forest play when they are used for building and digging. It’s unexpected for students to use sticks for hitting and rocks for throwing; it’s expected students will use sticks and rocks respectfully in their imaginary play. Sticks should be pointed down while walking.
We want the children to be respectful of life in the forest. That means the many roots they see on the ground are to be treated carefully. There is to be no kicking or digging up of tree roots. Bugs are to be observed and allowed to carry on in their daily work.
The forest boundary for the children includes not going further than the group of large rocks at the entrance of the creek and not on the upper bridge. Glass found in the forest is not beach glass and should be left alone.
Here are some fun photos of our first Forest Friday!
Upcoming Events and Reminders
Home Reading Book Exchange: Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays
Library Book Exchange: Tuesdays
Wednesday, June 7: High Touch High Tech Science Workshop, “Newton in a Nutshell.” Please remember to visit SchoolCash Online to make your donation of $11 at your earliest convenience.
Thursday, June 8: West Vancouver Memorial Library Summer Reading Club Presentation
Friday, June 16: Sports Day. Sports Day is just around the corner. Please note that Kindergarten students only will be dismissed at 12 pm. We do not eat our lunch at school that day. If your child attends Camp Ridgeview on Fridays, please inform them about the early pick-up.
Mrs. Campbell’s Class is on the Red Team.
Mrs. Daudlin’s Class is on the Blue Team.
Our children should be dressed in their team colours – at least a t-shirt, please.
You’ll see that our school really dresses up, so matching hats and socks, hair paint (optional) all help to show our team spirit. Parents are welcome to watch.
Kindergarten Sports Day Schedule:
Kindergarten students should eat a good breakfast so they can sustain their energy and be self-regulated for the morning.
8:50 AM School Begins; Team Cheer on blacktop area outside our classrooms; Sports Day begins
10:30 AM (approx.) Freezie Break
10:45 AM (approx.) Kindergarten students return to their classrooms for their regular snack (they will be very hungry so please pack a big snack).
11:00 AM Centre Time and Face Painting (optional) by Grade 7 Students
12:00 PM Dismissal from our classrooms
Wednesday, June 28: Grade 7 Graduation Ceremony. Our children will be presenting flowers individually to their Grade 7 Big Buddies. This is a formal event and we ask the Kindergarten to wear their best. You are all welcome to attend. We expect to be onstage around 11:30 am but we will update you with more details to come. This is a very important moment for the Grade 7s and quite an emotional one for us, so come and shed some happy tears with the teachers as we see our Senior students off to high school and what the future looks like for our little ones.
Thursday, June 29: This is the last day of school for students. Please note that Kindergarten students only will be dismissed at 12 pm.