Canmore Forest Play
“Can I go back to digging out dinosaur bones now?” or “we found the toad!” and “c’mon! I have a game to show you!” are just some of the comments from the children at Forest Friday this spring. These comments capture the direction of Spring; a direction towards exploration, searching for treasures, adventure into the unknown and hidden places. The Spring season offered new life, hope and a reminder that despite challenges, we are surrounded by growth and opportunities.
At the beginning of the spring season (April), we returned to the Quarry Lake Park. This familiar and storied place often means that the children already have a specific game, idea, place or activity they want to do and are jittering with anticipation when they arrive! The initial context of the continuing COVID-19 restrictions, time indoors at school and limitations to their social time, informed our initial intention to create a space to reconnect with places we’ve come to love (like the creek, canyon camp, the willow thickets and Story Rocks) to allow the freedom to explore, reset their nervous system, regenerate their energy and buffer the more restrictive world they may have faced. Each session, we hope to create a safe place for children to be calm if that is what is needed or loud and energetic if that’s the energy that is pulling them.
As the season progressed, their needs shifted and the restrictions eased, we approached the familiar in new ways. By moving away from the expected and routine, we challenged the groups to consider how sometimes our greatest limitations are the ones we place on ourselves. This theme carried through the season in our lunchtime story and led us to discover the familiar in new ways. We learned about the uses of rose leaves for insect bites, discovered new routes to familiar places and observed the various stages of tadpoles and toads. From harvesting and carving bows and arrows to collecting and processing dandelion salves, our intention is to expand awareness of places, plants and wildlife, foster independence and deepen connection to self, others and the natural world. The summer heat is here and we thank you for your continued trust.
Wishing you a happy and fun summer season!
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.