Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Through the Eyes of a Child, and words of their parent

Well, just last week we celebrated our six month anniversary for the Forest Preschool! With this half-year mark under our belt, we have been taking time to reflect, get feedback from families, foster new relationships with our communities, and continue feeling impassioned about the mandate of our work. I have decided to honor some of the feedback we've been getting by sharing this parent testimonial from Abby Karos, mommy to Elias. I'll leave the talking to her, and say that I'm looking forward to the next six months and beyond, of watching this program flourish and continue to inspire others within Canada.

"One of my favourite things about sending Elias to the Forest Pre-School is seeing him at the end of the day. He'll burst from the car with a stick or rock in a grubby hand and shouting for me to "Look!" at whatever prize he's brought home. His face often bears the marks of some afternoon adventure in the woods and he smells like a combination of sunscreen, citronella bug spray, sweet little boy sweat (when does it stop smelling sweet?!), and the outdoors. His relation to the outdoors has also changed in the short time he's been attending the preschool. He rolls with abandon in the grass and occasionally hugs trees - one time this was accompanied by a "thank you tree."

I have been able to spend a morning or two with Sara and the kids - wishing I had dressed myself more similarly to how I had dressed my child that morning. It was a relief to see kids allowed to do things like put their boots in the stream or move heavy rocks from place to place- things that would be forbidden at most preschools. Beyond the wonderful things the children get to experience and witness, it is inspiring to see the respectful and accepting environment that Sara and the other adults have fostered. The kids' interests, questions, opinions, and focus guide the actions for each day. How can they not feel respected? On one of our excursions, my son's attention was caught by a bird. The group was moving on and I might have urged him on had not Sara noticed his riveted gaze and stopped to allow him the space to observe the bird. He stood motionless for several seconds. In this moment, he was learning not only about nature, but also that what he is interested in is of value and worth pursuing. I can think of no better building block for starting out as a life-long learner."

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