It may seem obvious, but fall is providing us with many opportunities to explore movement in the natural world. We are fortunate to have a majestic elm tree in our outdoor play space. The gusts of wind shower us with yellow and orange leaves from above. We have noticed that there are still plenty of leaves left up high in the elm, compared to some of the other trees in the neighbourhood.
On our walks through the neighbourhood, we have been noticing the changes fall brings during our nature hunts in which we have been collecting natural objects. This all started as a proposed art project, but it has turned out to be much more… Before an item could be placed in our nature basket, we examined it, named it, and decided if it was nature or not. During the first short walk around our building, we found many items on the ground that were “not-nature”. We came across things like straws, food wrappers, and tissue. We decided that the things we classified as “not-nature” were actually garbage. Being the responsible citizens we are, the Quartz children made sure that the garbage was collected as well. At the end of the walk, the garbage got placed in a waste basket and the nature things we had collected were admired – everything from leaves and crab apples to rocks and chunks of dirt.
As educators, we recognized that our nature hunt had turned into an unexpected learning experience. We were able to address one of our holistic play-based goals, which is for our children to learn environmental and socially responsible practices.