Tween Program: Connecting through Nature and Art.
This weeks focus was connecting with each other, engaging with natural resources in nature and taking time to just be.
As we began our journey, I watched ahead as the girls had already begun to chat. It warmed my heart, as we have now been together for six weeks.
At the start of any new journey, it's so scary to put yourself out there and make new friends. Now in week six, I was excited and happy to see that those genuine connections had formed.
There was no real structure on today’s walk. I just wanted to give them the opportunity of seeing what I see. The beauty, the serenity, the endless opportunities to explore and discover.
For me, nature is a no brainer when it comes to your mental health. It only takes a walk in the park to give you that boost of energy and that feeling of freedom.
As we got deeper into Bomaderry Creek (one of my favourite places of all time), I spoke to the girls about being respectful of the environment and to take some time, to feel the beauty of their surrounds.
For a moment we took some deep breaths. We listened to the sweet sounds around us and connected ourselves to this new space where we were about to explore.
Once we got down into the gully, one of the students was taken a back... ‘it just smells so fresh’ she was right, it was!
Most of the girls had experienced bush walking before. For others it was a little daunting. As we walked, I reminded them to be mindful of where they walked and that if they need to stop, it was ok!
I reassured them that sometimes bush walking was hard work. They needed to just take their time, take every moment in and the more that they do it, the more that they will build on their resilience and stamina.
There was so many places to explore. At one point one of the girls had found some steps, leading upwards. 'Can we look at the top' she eagerly asked. 'Of course' I replied.
Many of the them followed and climbed the steps as quick as they could, to get up to the top. They were excited to see that there was so much more to explore.
We continued our journey further into the bush and we stopped at a space, just under some large caves. There is a seat you can sit on, if you are feeling a little puffed or just want to take in the scenery.
I chose this space, particularly for the girls to engage in some Ephemeral art.
Over the course of the program the girls have been engaging in different forms of art.
Being a preschool teacher, art is highly embedded into our everyday curriculum and it takes shape in many different forms!
Young children engage in this so honestly and freely and rarely stop to make sure that it is good enough.
For primary school children, unless you continue some creative path, it’s like they loose a little bit of this along the way.
That is why I value creative expression and plan for it in every aspect of my programs.
It allows them to think outside the square. It encourages them to get messy and to have fun and it also sparks that creative side, that they may have had once, when they were younger.
Back to Ephemeral art... I asked the children to take a moment to let go of the days worries and I set them a challenge to create something, using any natural resources that they could find.
(Unfortunately today,we were on a time schedule and normally, time is something that you need when engaging in art.)
As they began the challenge, I watched as many of them looked a little uneasy, not really sure of where to start. I didn't say anything, I just merely proceeded to begin the challenge myself. Building resilience and understanding sometimes needs to happen naturally, when the time is right.
After a while, they relaxed and I watched as they began to explore. Many smiling, laughing even. At one stage I noticed that some of the girls had covered their faces with the dirt from the ground.
I felt so happy and content to see them just being kids.
Little did they know that this challenge had enabled them to just be themselves. No pressure, no testing, no competitiveness. Just being the amazing humans, that they are.
As the challenge neared to an end, I was so excited to see that they had created some art of their own.
Once they had an idea, it was easy for them to create it.
I loved observing the process and they were excited and proud to show me, what they had created.
That's the beauty of art, there is no wrong or right. It is,what it is!
Once we finished it was time to head home. The girls led the way and it was exciting to see many of them become a little more interested in their surrounds.
They seemed more in-tune with nature and noticed many different aspects of nature, on their journey home.
It was lovely to see the girls calm and happy. No body was ready to go home, there was still so much to explore.
I love the quote by Albert Einstein, 'Look deep into nature and then you will understand everything better.'
This resonates with me mostly, because nature is so open ended. There is so many benefits for all of us and if we only just could recognsie them, then I'm sure that we would all live much a healthier and happier lifestyle.
Till next time,