When I say, “Off you go!” to the kindergarteners and they rush off down the hill into the ravine, I can’t help but think of my flock of chickens who rush out the door of their coop when I let them out in the morning. And then both, within 30 seconds, are deeply immersed in play and work of their own choosing. It’s especially true in the early spring, when every kind of tool and toy has been unlocked from the forest floor. Leaves, sticks, mud, rocks– all these “loose parts” immediately begin to move from place to place as kids begin to play.
For example, today: Aubrey was checking out the huge piles of pine cone scraps left after squirrels eat (aka “squirrel snacks”); Rowan found a six foot long, straight pole; Sadie and Corban high-tailed it for the big log and began weaving their way up the streambed, exploring; Caleb and Elliott dove into an imaginary game (which I later found out was a combination of Minecraft, Transformers, and Star Wars); Fred and Cameron found swords; Xander went back to work on a fort; and Emilia, Peregrine, and Gabe checked on their dam and began moving rocks “to get the water even higher.” Amazing.