Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Ending and Beginning

A transition is a process or period in which something undergoes a change and passes from one state,
The weather during camp week was terrific.
stage, form, or activity to another.

Transition Camp is a wonderful time between the structured daily routines of the school year and the open, unstructured days of summer. By design, the days of transition camp begin with favorite choice activities;  building, drawing, dramatic play, stories, games and one central table where a morning snack of toast, or pancakes or waffles is served.  By serving breakfast camp acknowledges that children may be staying up later as the Northwest’s longer hours of daylight keep us all outside until well past our winter dinner times.  It is good to respond to the natural rhythms of the seasons, and this week of transition encourages us to take notice.

Breakfast gets a morning at camp off to a good start.
Mid-way through the first morning of camp we gather together to plan the week. Everyone is encouraged to offer ideas and build on another child’s suggestions.  We fill several sheets of easel paper with possibilities,  and the children practice an important skill to see them through the summer; “How do I want to spend my time and what will it take to make it possible?”  There is a nice balance of indoor and outside activities, things to do alone and in community, physical activity and creative and cerebral pursuits. After a song or two and a good story book, our meeting ends and everyone sets off with purpose to enjoy the day together.

The adults in the room begin to observe new friendships forming between ages and genders as well as increased risks taken as new activities are tried in the safety of our small community.   The multi-age family grouping of camp encourages older students to revisit favorite play activities and spend extended, uninterrupted time building elaborate play mobile set-ups.  During mornings at camp younger students stretch themselves, as they learn to play more complex games brought in from the North Room.  Everyone is encouraged to go a little deeper as the longer days of summer allow for a slower pace.

At the garden.
At Triangle Park.

Afternoons we venture outside to visit our favorite parks and outdoor spaces.  The building of fairy houses is the focus of our time outside and everyone looks a little closer at the shape of a tree trunk or the pattern found in a leaf or petal.  Ideas are shared, sticks are gathered and all the experience of building with Lego or blocks is called upon as structures are built with the materials found at hand.  Before the afternoon ends we come together and visit each house, listen to the builders share the thinking behind the choices that were made, and plans for tomorrow’s houses start to form.
On the boulevard.
At Mt. Baker Park.

Each morning throughout the week we look at the long list created on the first morning.  We select several ideas to incorporate into each day and take note of the things we have done.  By the end of the week we have done many different things together and we still have some great ideas that just didn't get done during this first week of summer.  There lies the great luxury of summer; we have more time, the season is just beginning.  I hope when you hear the tinkling of the wind chimes you remember to go outside and read a book or just look around, up close at what is growing, or find the perfect spot to build a fairy house.

Best wishes for a warm and wonderful summer.


We still have several openings in our Viking Camp next week, come learn about Norse Mythology, the stories of Mermaids, and the art of these Nordic Sailors, many of whom settled in the Pacific Northwest.