Canmore Forest Play
Can you hear it? Can you see it, smell it and feel it? From the cheerup-cheerio of the robin song to the arrival of rufous hummingbirds, to mud puddles, patches of deer hair on the ground and the growth of the fuzzy stemmed prairie crocus we have tracked the arrival of spring in Canmore! To greet the new season, children crawled on the ground to take in the smell of the soil after the snow melted, smeared the cool mud on our hands and noses (and all over!) and listened to the curious trickling sound of the water under the creek ice. Spring is an exciting time. We witnessed the places we came to know over the snowy winter months transform and we meet them anew. As the forest has changed with the arrival of Spring, so have we. It is fascinating to see how the children have emerged from winter energetic, stronger, more self-sufficient and aware!
Like the deer shedding hair, the children have shed their winter layers and are noticeably more energetic and agile – jumping over logs, walking along logs and running fast as though fuelled by the warmth and height of the sun. Their self-awareness shows up in the way they clip their own chest strap after putting their backpack on, listening to their bodies to take a drink of water and going for forest pees with greater ease now that those bulky winter layers have been shed. We’ve observed how their social awareness is expanding with more friends helping friends up slippery slopes, and sharing exciting forest discoveries with others (“come see this strawberry leaf!”).
Awareness of the natural world is fuelled by the curiosity that comes with noticing new sounds, smells, flavours, sights and textures. Most notably: sticky, ooey, sloppy, cool... MUD! It was a common occurrence in April, that children would return to the parking lot with faces, hands, coats and pants caked in mud. We heard parents receiving their children with, “I’m so proud of you!” or “it looks like you had a really fun day!!” Thank you for validating your child’s experiences. Receiving them with a positive reaction helps them feel good about the thrill of the adventure and less focused on the cold and discomfort - especially when this is a new experience for your child. Children who explore through all their senses and work through moments of discomfort are better able to self-regulate and manage adversity.
Although the current COVID-19 restrictions have closed programming for the time being, we are confident that a reopening is possible on May 25th. We are excited to explore new areas at Quarry Lake Park alongside your children. The boulder fields, willow thickets, cool creek water, changing vegetation and new forests bring endless opportunity!
It is said that stories live on the wind and those who are aware and whose senses are alert, can catch the story that needs to be told in that moment.