Exploring in Taylor Creek Park

In Life at School, Outdoor Education, P.I.N.E by Carol

026I finally got a chance to go on a PINE trip with my son’s class.  After two buses, a short walk, an early lunch under the shade of some trees, and a short play at a little parkette, we began the descent to Taylor Creek Park.

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We soon divided into groups of four or five, and went exploring.  The first stop for our group had us looking at wild edible plants.  Before we go further, I must tell you that our group leader said that we must ask a PINE leader before eating anything, because many plants can lead to a “painful, poisonous death”.  If memory serves, I think he made us all repeat precisely that.  Safety first!

Onto edibles…  burdock is bitter!  The group preferred plantain, and we ate some, and then ate some more when the far-seeing group leader produced a jar of balsamic vinaigrette from his backpack.  Yum.

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031035We name (and painted) the special places we found, and the children decided upon “Medicine Grounds” for this one, for the many plants that have medicinal qualities.

039There was more exploring, of insects, bark, mushrooms, temperature changes, birdsong.

044055 The children are so observant and open.   Also funny.  I had to photograph one boy because he spent the whole afternoon wearing one shoe and one boot.  He couldn’t find his other boot, but was not about to throw the baby out with the bathwater…

076When it was time to go, and we had meandered here, there, and everywhere, our group leader asked us to close our eyes and point to the direction of our home base.  When we opened our eyes, he said that all the children pointed to the right direction.  I’m not too proud to report that I basically pointed to the sky and would be still be wandering the park but for the six-year olds who took me home.

A highlight for everyone was crossing the creek on the way back.  It was a hot day, and  the cold flash on wet on my feet felt just as good to me as it must have felt for the children.  It’s so nice to open up and experience alongside them.

057064When we re-convened at home base, the small groups shared their different adventures with the whole.  We sat in a circle, and I saw a lot of this:

068066069070Kids, quiet and absorbed, still holding and molding the day outdoors in their hands.