Wandering Wednesday #13

Kindergarten students walking in nature on Chicago's North Shore

Today’s Wandering Wednesday was shorter than usual (thank you Chicago weather), but we were still able to pack in some wonderful moments.

Before heading out this morning, we read two books about animal homes: Mama Dug a Little Den and Over and Under the Snow. These books gave us beautiful insight into the hidden worlds of animals; particularly as they try to escape either the extreme heat or bitter cold. So naturally, when we arrived at the Fairy Forest some children took right to creating animal-like shelters while others to looking for the animal homes that might be above us or below our feet.

Each time we visit the Fairy Forest I am reminded of how magical even a tiny little plot of land can be for children who are given the freedom to explore and take risks. There is such joy when a child comes up with their own idea for playing, or building, or solving a problem they’ve encountered.  Today the children were trying, without much success, to swing on a vine that was just above their reach. Some grew frustrated and walked away, some chose a different activity, but after a few minutes one child ran over to me and said, “Mrs. Rampey, I have an idea! I can collect a whole bunch of sticks and build stairs!!” The look in this child’s eyes when they realized that their problem was solvable was priceless. In the world of Wandering Wednesdays, we are all learning each week, and this week I was reminded of the immense value in gently saying no to kids when they ask for help with things they could potentially do on their own. It is in those opportunities where the real growth happens and confidence flourishes.

Kindergarten students participating in Wandering Wednesday in WilmetteKindergarten students play-based learning in WilmetteKindergarten students learning in Wilmette
Kindergarten students learning from Wandering Wednesday in WilmetteKindergarten students learning on Chicago's North ShoreKindergarten students play-based learning in Wilmette

After about 45 minutes outside, and before anyone could start complaining about being cold, we decided to head over to the Baha’i for a bathroom break and a little warm-up. And hey…look at that! Both Baha’i and bathroom start with the letter B; our letter of the week! While some people used the restroom, others watched the video in the welcome center about the fascinating history of how the Baha’i was constructed. We also got to see and touch a piece of the glimmering white, quartz bricks that make up the temple. It is such a pleasure and privilege to reside so close to one of the world’s most intricate and beautiful buildings! (more B words!)Kindergarten students participating in Wandering Wednesday in WilmetteKindergarten students participating in Wandering Wednesday in Wilmette

Once we were sufficiently warm we went back into the woods for another 20 or 30 minutes of play before heading back to school. Today we ate lunch both before we left and after we came back, and we did our weather tracking inside. Some things are just easier when you have your hands available!

Some of today’s quotes:

It feels like Summer

Can Daisy ever have a birthday? It should be the day she was bought!

We have a secret hideout on our fairy house

Something slept here…I think

We’re making a launcher

Our [fairy] house is still here

It’s brisk out

Let’s slingshot him

We have 4 fairy houses

We’re playing family and that’s our big ship over there

Do you know who loves trees?…The kindergartners!

We’re going to pretend the tree is the prisoner and wrap him all up

Let’s make a zip line

Our [fairy] notes are still here

(At Baha’i) Wow!!

Kindergarten students participating in Wandering WednesdayKindergarten students dynamic learning in Wilmette