forest school

Our Summer in the Woods: An Open Letter

Dearest Mighty Seeds Community,

On the last day of our of summer program we were climbing trees in our secret spot when all of a sudden two deer stepped onto the trail. We hid, peaking through the foliage as the two does quietly passed us. They turned down the path, so we stumbled through our hidden spot and followed them into the prairie. But they quickly got wind of us and took off. One kiddo called out, but the does were gone in a heartbeat. What a wonderful moment to end an extraordinary summer.

Door Creek has been a magical spot for our pilot program. We had free reign to explore deep into the woods, climb fallen trees, build dens and teeter-totters, collect plants, snatch a few toads, pull tadpoles from the pond, and build fires for tea.

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Forest School is the act of being—not doing—so while great learning was happening, the kiddos also experienced opportunity to care for themselves and each other. When tired or full of emotion, kids walked to their favorite tree in-order to find calm or climbed into a hammock with a book to take a moment.

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We slowed down. We didn’t push to move from activity to activity. Instead, we flowed with the day. Our only agenda, to eat snack at 9:30, which sometimes happened earlier—sometimes later, sometimes we snacked all day.

We crafted and told stories. Play acted “Willie of the Woods” “Protectors of Wildlife!” Sometimes we were knights, sometimes dragons, sometimes dinosaurs. Instruments were forged and songs were spun.

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And we got muddy! One camper made mud balls to splat against a tree. They were testing how much water effected the amount of SPLAT the ball made. Experimentation happened daily. Another kiddo made mud balls to sell. “This is a 5 leaf mudball!!” Another child quickly gathered enough leaves to purchase the mudball, and then ordered one for 11 leaves. SPLAT went the 5 leaf mudball.

Another loved letters so we looked for the alphabet in the woods. If you are ever hiking at Door Creek, and you find yourself deep in the woods, see if you can spot the W tree.

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One of my favorite days, though there were many, was one during a rainy day at Tenney Park. At first, we were nervous we would spend the day under the pavilion, but we crafted rain experiments and told stories in a tent. And though the day was going splendidly, the thunder disappeared, and it was suddenly safe to venture out. So we put on our muddy buddies and went puddle hopping. A muskrat bobbed out of the water, which led us to his den made of sticks. We spotted a hidden nest with duck eggs! Birds angerly chirped at us as we came too close to their nest. And as our time came to a close, we gathered for some tea and drew pictures of what we had discovered. What a day! I was sorry to have it end.

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We want to say thank you to Miss Hannah, who used her skills and experience working with children with special needs to help us with our mission of inclusion and diversity. She was hired through a partnership with the long-term waiver program. We looked forward to continuing to work with this program so we can bring more neurodiverse children outdoors.

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We also want to say thank you to Miss Abby, our first intern. She brought her excitement for early childhood education and brightened our day with songs and activities. As we say goodbye to them, we hope they know they will always have a special place in the MSFS community as they helped establish our program and supported our mission.

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 Thank you, ladies, for all of your hard work.

Mighty Seeds has so much planned for the future, and we look forward to growing our community, getting more kiddos outdoors, and playing in the mud.

Thank you for everything.

Ms. Nina and Ms. Stephanie