At least for this week winter has arrived at school, and I’ve enjoyed the shift in our days that the drop in temperature has provided. Here are a few of my observations of winter change from his week.
It seems to be the time of year for the children to naturally gravitate towards the warmth and calm of indoors handwork like origami, braiding, writing, or doll play, blocks or working with puzzles. And I feel an enjoyable closeness in the group as we are all sharing a smaller space more of the time, rather than ranging the large outdoor space for hours and hours.
Since we have begun eating morning snack and lunch inside there has been a natural move to work on cleaning up after ourselves. Outside lunches meant that crumbs could fall to the ground for ants to enjoy, but in our all-carpet classroom we work together on crumbing the table and checking the floor. It feels good to work with kiddos on these community-help skills now, when it matters to our group, rather than as a rote routine.
The kids liked sitting all together to eat outside at the big picnic table or on a blanket. Our inside tables are smaller, so I witnessed an inspiring collective problem solving moment as a group of 7 children worked together to rearrange furniture so that there was room for everyone. They decided who would move what pieces, counted chairs and kids to make sure there was enough and then enjoyed the group lunch they desired.
And outdoors, too, has changed and prompted new interests in old areas. Ice was discovered, examined, chiseled, and collected around the mud kitchen and rain barrel. The sandbox, which had been slightly damp before the freezing temperatures, was icy too, making play in the sand a new adventure.
We had such an amazingly mild and warm fall, with so many days of playing and working together outside almost all day long, that I was a little apprehensive of our first winter at Roots. I feel grateful to have let that apprehension pass on through, because now that winter is here I am feeling so grateful at noticing how the transition in nature is creating wonderful little changes for us at school.