One of the things that I love about outdoor activity with the children is the forest walk. Our children are so lucky that we have this advantage because the forest is just in front of us. Every day we go for a walk or do nature activities with the children for at least an hour or two unless there is too much rain or snow. Beside the silence and calming effects of the forest, the children’s creative skills are also stimulated.
This Fall, the children found many fallen branches and also a few tree trunks as we walked in the forest. The girls talked among themselves and decided to make “their house.” The boys got inspired by this and they also started to make their “house”. It was nice to see the girls and boys working and carrying together the tree trunks which were really heavy and singing songs as they walked.
If they saw a little ladybug or frogs on their way, they took them gently in their hands and put them in a safer place saying “do not hurt it.” When they saw a mushroom, they told us, the teachers, about it, and we had a discussion so they learned about parasitic plants and poisonous mushrooms. As it was raining so much last month, the children really enjoyed playing naturally with water as it flows downward in the forest. They were very curious about where it was coming from and walked up the higher rocks to find where it was flowing down. In the month of August, there were still plenty of blueberries in the forest due to rainfalls. The children collected blueberries and used them for their baking activity. In that month, there was not a single day that the children came back to school without having purple lips due to eating blueberries in the forest! Sometimes when we go back in the classroom, the children draw what they see in the forest and make a mural artwork and they do it collectively.
The children had many field trips this year including one to the fire station where they learned about fire engines and fire safety from three professional firemen; to the botanical garden where they saw and learned about different plants around the world; to Sea Life, to learn about ocean and fishes; Tropicario, to learn about reptiles; and the Korkeasaari fieldtrip, to learn about animals around the world.
In the month of June we had the Summer Party of the children where the children perform in front of their parents through dramatic plays, dances, songs and rhymes. At the end of the children’s presentation, we have games and fun with the parents. Through this, the parents see the essence of our Neohumanistic curriculum. Many times, when parents or visitors come to our kindergarten, they feel immediately the difference of our setting from others. They always comment, “how peaceful and calm your environment is.” I simply tell them maybe because the children do meditation and yoga here and eat homemade vegetarian food.
Children’s Social Service Program
Once a month for almost four years now, the children of Sunrise Kindergarten render service to the aged people in Espoo by visiting them in the Old People’s Home. The children talk with the aged people, play simple games with them, perform dances, songs and dramas for them. Sometimes our children bring crafts for them as gifts and they discuss how they made it for them. This simple social service program of the children brings joy to the hearts of those old people. They feel entertained and loved by our children and they look forward to seeing our children every month.
We are continuing with the Yoga In School curriculum as part of our daily activities. The children benefit a lot from these activities which help them to calm down and they love yoga more than ever. The stories, dramatic plays, and games are so great for helping children with challenging behavior. It gives the teachers a lot of ideas of how to deal with them in a positive way.