Autumn is a magical time at Raintree. The forest comes to life with vibrant oranges, reds, yellows, and according to one student, “a little purple”. When an autumn breeze blows the leaves from their branches, a plethora of natural provocations descend to the ground. The once green, grassy playscape is suddenly fluffy with leaf piles.
As teachers, we anticipate the energy and excitement that autumn leaves bring to our day, and we look forward to finding out how each child will choose to interact with the change in the environment.
Willow leaves, for example, have been “noodles” that children collect to cook in a mud kitchen pot, and they have also been bristles of a paintbrush gathered around a stick with twine for an “outside paintbrush.” When children play in natural environments, their play is more diverse with imaginative and creative play that fosters language and collaborative skills (Fjørtoft, 2001).
With 11 acres of trees, we are rich in materials to last us through autumn and into winter, until the first snow falls. On that day, a new provocation will begin.
--Jenny, Director of Compliance & Community Support
Fjørtoft, I. (2001). The natural environment as a playground for children: The impact of outdoor play activities in pre-primary school children. Early Childhood Education Journal, 29, 111-117. doi:10.1023/A:1012576913074