Hi Nature Lovers,
Today is the first day in 3 weeks I have not woken up at 6am, taken the train to Grand Army Plaza, greeted 10 curious children (plus 1 curious teacher), and PLAYED in the park.
Today is the first day in 3 weeks I have not built a fort, caressed an earthworm, eaten my meals on the forest floor, or accepted a leaf as payment for an imaginary pie.
Today is the first day in 3 weeks I am not covered in sweat, mud, bug spray, and sunscreen.
Today is the first day in 3 weeks I woke up and wasn't immediately excited about what we would discover in the park. Simply Summer Nature Collective was an experiment, a labor of love, a crash course in managing ALL DAY outdoor nature play, and a beautiful collaboration with another like-minded, passionate educator, Valerie Lockhart.
This summer was special and I have the imaginations of the amazing children in Simply Summer, the wonders of Prospect Park, and another educator's shared belief in the POWER OF PLAY to thank.
I wanted to end this journal post with one of the many email updates Valerie and I sent to the Simply Summer Grown-ups over the past 3 weeks. I can only hope that the next few years bring more and more educators sending these sort of updates throughout the school year rather than letters about homework, tests, and behavioral issues.
Dear Simply Summer Grown-ups,
SUCCESS! Valerie and I could not be more pleased with how the first day of Simply Summer Week 3 went. It is surprising that many of the children didn't know each other prior to 9am this morning because by the end of the day everyone seemed like old friends - holding hands, telling jokes, sharing discoveries, and PLAYING together.
Here are a few highlights from today's adventure:
building a fort in Branch Ranch complete with chairs, a log table, and a TV
tree showers that only cost one stick. Now that's a deal!
tree sap observation and collection
snack and lunch eaten under the tree canopy
observing earthworms and SO MANY SLUGS
a forest theater production that never actually got started but sure was "dramatic"
a new restaurant opened up called Mushroom Mania in Log Land. Guess what's on the menu?
An impromptu sing along all about nature's favorite letter...Y! "Why? Oh, Why are there so many Ys?" Ask your young naturalist to sing any other lines they remember.
Thank you for your continued support and enthusiasm for Naturally Curious Nature Walk programming!