Hello, I’m Jennifer Gautreau, mom to Evan. He attends on Thursday mornings and for two of those days in April I was able to run around the woods with him, his little friends and Sara. Evan’s been coming to the preschool since November and I’ve always known he goes to a special place. But this was my first opportunity to witness the program first hand.
On both days we started off with the morning contemplation that Marlene mentioned previously. It was wonderful to see such little kids being still and observing, with all their senses. Hats off to Sara for getting the kids to do this, it really is remarkable. If only I could take her lesson to heart and start my day that way!
Then we were off to play soccer but deer droppings and tree climbing quickly grabbed their attention. I’m still not sure if Evan is really interested in the droppings or if he just likes to say “poop” as often as possible. Shortly after that we were fortunate enough to see the season’s first butterfly. The boys actually watched quietly as it flitted around.
Then we found something decomposing. Using a stick, we poked it a bit to see if we could figure out what it had been. Judging by its really small teeth we guessed that it was either a mouse or a vole. After the initial exclamations of “yuck” and “ughhhh” the kids found it pretty interesting. Now that’s not something they would get to do in a traditional setting!
Other activities included finger-painting pictures and birdhouses. Sara chose nice rock outcroppings for story time and snack time. We investigated holes to see what might live underground and the boys had a lot of fun building a bridge across a little stream. We looked for sticks in the shape of different letters.
I loved everything that the boys did with Sara and she’s really into every aspect of the program. She was patient, creative and enthusiastic. Our children are very fortunate that they get to experience her kindness, compassion and knowledge.
All of these things are wonderful. But I think what really reaffirmed that this program is special is how the cycle of life is being absorbed by these kids. They get to see that animals poop in the woods, they die in the woods and that new life comes from these same places. And it’s not from a book. For them it’s tangible.